Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review: Unbreakable

Book Cover: Unbreakable by W C Bauers Unbreakable by W. C. Bauers
Published 13 January 2015 by Tor Boks
Source: eARC from NetGalley

The colonists of the planet Montana are accustomed to being ignored. Situated in the buffer zone between two rival human empires, their world is a backwater: remote, provincial, independently minded. Even as a provisional member of the Republic of Aligned Worlds, Montana merits little consideration—until it becomes the flashpoint in an impending interstellar war.

When pirate raids threaten to destabilize the region, the RAW deploys its mechanized armored infantry to deal with the situation. Leading the assault is Marine Corps Lieutenant and Montanan expatriate Promise Paen of Victor Company. Years earlier, Promise was driven to join the Marines after her father was killed by such a raid. Payback is sweet, but it comes at a tremendous and devastating cost. And Promise is in no way happy to be back on her birthworld, not even when she is hailed as a hero by the planet's populace, including its colorful president. Making matters even worse: Promise is persistently haunted by the voice of her dead mother.

Meanwhile, the RAW's most bitter rival, the Lusitanian Empire, has been watching events unfold in the Montana system with interest. Their forces have been awaiting the right moment to gain a beachhead in Republic territory, and with Promise's Marines decimated, they believe the time to strike is now.

Unbreakable by W.C. Bauers is character driven, military science in the tradition of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War.

My Review

Promise Paen is growing up on Montana—a quiet planet located in a strategic buffer zone between the Republic of Allied Worlds (RAW) and the Lusitanian Empire (Lusies). Although Montana is a provisional member of the Republic, it has mostly been ignored by both of the major powers. This neglect has resulted in raids by pirates who murder and steal with impunity as Montana has almost no space presence at all.

When her widowed father is murdered and their farmhouse burned to the ground, Promise decides to enlist in the RAW Marines. Thus begins an illustrious career as Promise rises through the ranks to her first leadership role taking a small task force to Montana on a public relations mission. She's expected to simply show off the Marines and make nice with the government and citizens, but a pirate raid and an invasion by the Lusies forces Promise and her Marines to become defenders, holding the fort and hoping that reinforcements are sent from the nearest RAW garrison.

My Thoughts

Unbreakable bears a lot of similarities to other military SF series, especially those with strong female leads. One particular, the political détente between RAW and the Lusies had a feel much like that between Manticore and the Solarian League in David Weber's Honor Harrington series.

'Twas a grand book with skirmish after skirmish, escalating to a grand conflict. The fly in the ointment is that the author simply tried too hard. The reader is inundated with too much information on military jargon, organization, and weapons. The story could stand some tightening up. The author has promised that this is the first of the series and I am looking forward to reading the next installment.


Note that I received a free copy of Unbreakable from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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