Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: July 31st, 2018
Page Count: 384 (Kindle)
From the Jacket:
A seasoned military officer uncovers a deadly conspiracy on a distant, war-torn planet…
War heroes aren’t usually called out of semi-retirement and sent to the far reaches of the galaxy for a routine investigation. So when Colonel Carl Butler answers the call from an old and powerful friend, he knows it’s something big—and he’s not being told the whole story. A high councilor’s son has gone MIA out of Cappa Base, the space station orbiting a battle-ravaged planet. The young lieutenant had been wounded and evacuated—but there’s no record of him having ever arrived at hospital command.
The colonel quickly finds Cappa Base to be a labyrinth of dead ends and sabotage: the hospital commander stonewalls him, the Special Ops leader won’t come off the planet, witnesses go missing, radar data disappears, and that’s before he encounters the alien enemy. Butler has no choice but to drop down onto a hostile planet—because someone is using the war zone as a cover. The answers are there—Butler just has to make it back alive…
I fell in love with military scifi at the tender age of 12, after reading Ender’s Game in school. At the time, I had never read anything like it and got under my skin and into my heart and it stayed with me. For years and years I would list Ender as my favorite book, and it still remains in my top favorites two decades later. I’m truly not even sure what I enjoy so much about the genre, but I know it resonates with me on a lot of different levels and I tend to gravitate towards it whenever I get the opportunity. I saw the blurb for Planetside and did not even finish reading it before I requested the ARC from Edelweiss.
Mammay has created an exciting story full of intrigue that jumps right in from the first page and moves at a very fast pace throughout. I went in fully expecting military scifi but was delighted to discover a complex mystery at its core. Colonel Carl Butler is a decorated war hero months away from retirement when he gets a call that puts him back into the action and into the middle of a high profile search for the son of a high councilor who has been missing for months. With no breaks in what has become a dead end case, Butler is asked to go to the planet, which also happens to be an active alien war zone, where the boy was last seen and successfully wrap up the investigation. As soon as he arrives it becomes clear that this is not a simple case of a missing person, but the truth is too fantastical to believe, and getting to the bottom of it may cost him his life.
Planetside was a wild ride and the action starts almost from the first page. This style helped me read all 384 pages in a couple of big chunks, staying up way later than I normally do. While I enjoyed the quick pacing, there were parts that would have benefited from more fleshing out and I was left wanting more on several occasions. Despite that, it’s full of memorable characters that felt very authentic, and made me feel a whole range of emotions from outright rage to a pretty significant crush (I’m looking at you Mac) and I was unsurprised to learn that the author is a military veteran with over two decades of experience.
This was a solid four star read for me which is really a great review, but I want to go into why it wasn’t a perfect rating. The pacing worked to keep the story moving and added to the heart pounding action, but it also proved to be too fast in some places. This is a spoiler free review, so I will not get into plot specifics, but there were several times when the author introduced a story line and really did not touch on it again, or touched on it so briefly that it felt too shallow to be believable. With 95% of the book finished I thought to myself that I had inadvertently started a new series rather than a stand alone story. However (and much to my dismay), the story is wrapped up in the last few pages, but the ending is so rushed that I felt a bit cheated and I’m very much hoping that there is a sequel. Secondly was the amount of telling that happened via Butler’s internal monologues. Rather than writing nuanced dialogue or effective body language, Mammay constantly used Butler’s thoughts to tell the reader exactly what was happening. Based on the glowing reviews that this book has received so far, it does not seem to have bothered many readers. But for me, it felt like the author either didn’t trust readers to work things out for themselves or wasn’t interested in letting them.
Despite those things, I really did enjoy Planetside and would not hesitate to recommend it to others and I look forward to reading more of Mammay’s work in the future. I cannot thank Edelwiess and Harper Voyager enough for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. I hope that you guys will check this one out when it comes out at the end of this month. And if you’ve got any military scifi recommendations, please send them my way!!