I’ve tried reading romance a couple times, and was pleasantly surprised by the ones I’ve actually tried. But I avoided them for years because they all seemed to follow the same basic plot, with assembly line characters and common tropes throughout.
Well, I can’t use those things as excuses any longer. This book – and, indeed, just about every military sci-fi series I’ve read – has assembly line characters, common tropes, and very similar, predictable plots. Despite all of that, I generally enjoyed this book. Even as I was waiting for the whole thing to be over, it was still a mostly comfortable, easy experience reading these books.
Maybe it’s just the relief of not reading Robert Jordan getting to me.
In the first book, humanity (after over 200 years of peace) are attacked by an alien ship that destroys a couple planets with millions of inhabitants. The space fleet isn’t up to the task of fighting a war, but, luckily, there is one man willing to rise to the task: Jackson Wolfe, captain of the Blue Jacket. The two ships battle across a star system, and the Blue Jacket ends up victorious.
Well, Call to Arms picks up four years later. The war is gently simmering in the background. Star fleet is trying to ready itself for war, but the Confederate government is hamstrung by divided agendas. Jackson Wolfe has to overcome political obstructionism because the Phage (the name given the enemy) are coming back.
There were some things that bothered me about this series, and I’m guessing it may be a product of these books being some of the first books published by Dalzaelle. It doesn’t come as a surprise, but he was an engineer in the Air Force for a number of years (the “military” in this military sci-fi is well rendered), before retiring from service to become a writer full time about ten years ago. Since then, he’s published a couple dozen books.
Some parts of these books felt….pointless. In the first, there’s a mutiny aboard the Blue Jacket by members of the crew who don’t really believe they need to fight the Phage. It’s a relatively small part of the book, but it stood out to me. And it’s only briefly mentioned in the third book – but only as a memory by Wolfe. The way it came about, it seemed like it was going to be a bigger issue in the series – but it wasn’t. The crew rebelled against the war, it was put down by Wolfe, and then everyone jumped in line and everything was fine again. And the guy who led the mutiny (I don’t even remember his name) was simply forgotten about. I don’t even think he was captured. All of the crew members were rounded up, but I don’t think he was. He was simply never mentioned again.
Also, in Warship, Wolfe gets a new executive officer. She’s set up as a bright, talented, and ambitious officer who is skeptical of Wolfe’s methods, and is put under his command by an admiral who hates the captain. At the end of the book, the admiral is brought down, and his new executive officer is a staunch supporter of him. She’s then quickly sidelined and largely irrelevant to the rest of the story.
Overall, this was a decent read. But a year from now, I probably won’t remember much of anything about these books.