I saw an offer on Twitter for five free Sci-Fi books if I followed Discover Sci-Fi online. How could I pass up a deal like that? Of course one of these days I will sign up for something without reading the TOC and find I just purchased a time share that has a resident elephant.
One of the novels I received was Jay Allan’s Marines:Crimson Worlds I. It takes place a few hundred years in the future where the Earth, after a series of terrible wars the governments have united into seven superpowers that have expanded to the stars and have taken the strife with them.
The book chronicles the rise of Erik Cain, a street punk who becomes the fastest rising Marine of his generation, becoming a brevet general by the end of the book at age 35. While uneducated after 8 years old that is no problem, Marine boot camp is six years long and you receive the equivalent of a masters degree when you leave. Doing extremely well in his first combat assignments, in part by living, he moves up to the Marine equivalent of West Point and of course graduates top of his class. At West Point, AFAIK, everybody comes out a second lieutenant. But not Cain, he is jumped a grade. And so on.
Aside from my snark I did like the book but did not love it. The main character was kind of vanilla and until almost the end there is no other point of view. What I did like was Cain’s thoughts and feelings in combat, and having read a great deal on the topic when I was younger I felt that it really rang true. It was an easy read and at the end there is a section talking about the remaining superpowers. I liked that better than the usual info dump that books often use at some random point to catch you up on the back story. The Marines in part reminded me of the French Foreign Legion who swear fidelity to the legion not to France. The Marines are loyal to the Corp but drawn from and serving the Western Alliance. They have a strong esprit de corps.
There were a number of issues that annoyed me. The AI and overall computer and communications systems seemed weak. No androids, cyborgs and very little automatic weapons on the ground? A single man is handling tactics of a vast space fleet engaged in combat with another vast space fleet, with minimal computer input? Current jet fighters seem to have better combat computer systems. The evil government is almost clownishly evil.
The book has a cliff hanger almost at the end and then reveals the plotting of the evil government and what it will mean for the troops and colonies in space. There are a few hints dropped in the book about future events, which seems to me that the author thought out the entire series prior to writing. Seeing as it is a nine volume affair that is probably a very good thing. I suspect that I will at least read one more book in the series and then decide if I want to invest the time for the full series