jpskewedthrone: (Vacant)
This is the sixth and last book in the Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell. As I've said on previous reviews of this series, I don't generally like military sci-fi, but this series grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let go. I was intrigued from the very first book and none of the books in the series let me down even a little.

The general premise of the series is that John "Black Jack" Geary, woken from a 100 year hibernation after barely making it to an escape pod as his ship was destroyed, takes control of the remnants of the Alliance's ambushed fleet and must now lead it home. They've made it back to Alliance space, with significant losses, but now he has to put an end of the war that's been raging between the Alliance and the Syndics for the past 100 years. All he has to do is take the refurbished fleet that just made it home back to the Syndic home system, where they were originally ambushed, and force the Syndics--who have almost no forces left--to agree to the terms of peace. He's got politicians on board to help with the negotiations . . . but what he hasn't counted on is the desperation of the Syndic leadership . . . and the ruthlessness of the unknown alien race that's ready to take advantage of the Syndic weakness at humanity's border.

This book was the perfect ending to this series. After the initial elation of having the fleet arrive home in the last book, this one picks up where that elation ends with the consequences of Geary's arrival home--both politically and militaristically--and what must happen next if the war is to be stopped. That alone would have been a stellar ending to the series, but this time we get an added layer of more direct alien intervention and conflict which has been lacking in previous books. The aliens were always there, but their tactics were, until recently, subtle and manipulative. Here, we finally get direct contact with the aliens, which is both satisfying and interesting. PLUS, we get a final, much needed release of relationship tension between Geary and Desjani.

All of that combines into a well-balanced, fun, and completely satisfying end to this series. The characters, who have been the real driving force behind the series anyway, all receive their just and deserving attention. The main plot threads dealing with the war with the Syndics is wrapped up nicely, with realistic consequences for Geary's flight across their worlds and the confrontations with the Syndic fleets. And we get to meet, albeit briefly, the aliens who have caused them so many problems. Of course, the books have set up a continuation of the series, because the aliens were only halted, not dealt with, and so I will definitely be reading on with the Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier series after this. Jack Campbell is going to have to write faster; I'm catching up fast.

A stellar series that I will recommend and suggest to everyone for years to come.
jpskewedthrone: (Vacant)
This is the fifth book in the Lost Fleet series from Jack Campbell. I don't generally read military SF, tending more toward epic fantasy, but everyone now and then I try some for variety. Overall, I enjoy the story, but then head back to the fantasy. Not with this series. I was hooked on the Lost Fleet and its situation and characters from book one and am almost done reading the last book in the series already.

The premise is that John "Black Jack" Geary is woken from 100 years of hibernation to discover that the war that had just begun when he scrambled to get into the escape pod of his ship is still being waged and the Alliance fleet has run into an ambush far behind Syndic enemy lines. Geary is forced to take command and has been leading the fleet back toward home, with some significant loses along the way. Now, only three jumps from Alliance space, the fleet has entered a system with Alliance POWs. Geary refuses to leave them behind, even though he's just learned that the Syndics have pulled a previously unknown "reserve" fleet from their far border and it's waiting between the current system and the only route available toward home.

Again, the characters and the plot of this series continue to evolve and engage. Since the series is winding down, you know that a final confrontation is inevitable, since there are only so many routes Geary can take the fleet in order to reach home. However, the fleet has managed to destroy most of the Syndic's known forces. So it looked like Geary had a decent shot at simply taking the fleet straight home. This book threw in multiple twists to that expectation, including the sudden appearance of this "reserve" fleet. Such a device would normally come off as author manipulation, but in this case, the existence of such a reserve fleet, one that the Alliance had never heard of, and of such size, made complete sense, due to the presence of the aliens on the Syndic's far border.

So, just when the reader has started to relax, and the characters have begun to think they're going to make it back alive, we get a new force for them to deal with, one that they can't simply roll over. Throw in the assault on the planet--something that hasn't happened in any of the previous books--in order to save the POWs, and of course the continued threat of saboteurs in the fleet, and this fifth book is chock full of tension.

The only reason I didn't give this book five stars is because some of the threads mentioned above get resolved in this book in a way that was slightly disappointing. Basically, after the build-up of the past four books, the resolution just felt . . . quick. One thread in particular ended rather swiftly and without any possible complications that Geary or the others may have overlooked. But the majority of the threads continued on and/or were resolved with great satisfaction, so I was not disappointed with the book at all.

This series is still highly recommended, and as I said, I've already nearly finished the last book in the series. I have moved Jack Campbell to my "must read" author list, and will be buying his books as soon as they come out for the foreseeable future . . . even though I'm an "epic fantasy" reader and writer.
jpskewedthrone: (Vacant)
This is the third book in the Lost Fleet series and I'm still thoroughly enjoying it. In fact, I've already read book four as well (review up shortly). If you like military sci-fi that's realistic, both in terms of battles, strategy, and characterizations, then you should be reading this series.

The premise is that Captain John "Black Jack" Geary was lost for a hundred years in a hibernation escape pod after his ship was destroyed at the start of the war with the Syndics. Now he's been woken up and the war is still raging. In fact, the Alliance fleet that found him has been ambushed, its leaders killed, and now Geary has to get the fleet back to Alliance space in one piece even though they're trapped far behind enemy lines because they have the key to the Syndic hypernet gates, which could tip the war in favor of the Alliance.

In this book, Geary has decided to make a direct run for the Alliance border, after a series of avoidance tactics meant to throw off the Syndics. But the Syndics are starting to learn how Geary thinks. With supplies running low, the first few jumps are successful, but Geary pushes his luck and jumps to Lakota, against some of his advisors' wishes. It's a risk, one that may get the fleet that much closer to home . . . but the Syndics aren't stupid, and there's another alien force out there who's goals are unknown. Not to mention those within the fleet who are actively working against Geary's command.

I said in my previous review that Geary's decisions were working out a little too well and that something needed to happen to show that he wasn't always right and didn't always make the right choice. That happens in this book. The Syndics are wising up and starting to think instead of just react, realizing that the Alliance fleet isn't going to fall apart and be easy pickings. Here, Geary has few options and is being out-maneuvered, the fleet forced into too narrow a corridor with too few choices. Geary's luck has run out. And it makes his character that much more real, since he now has to deal with the consequences of his command and, with the help of those loyal to him, figure out a way out.

The situation the fleet finds themselves in when they reach Lakota is real and what Geary is forced to do to escape is believable. At some point, the fleet was going to end up in such a situation, and the fact that it's complicated even more by the unknown aliens is just icing on the cake. And Geary's final act in this book is what pushed this review from four stars to five. I wasn't expecting it, and yet it makes total sense.

This series is spectacular. If you aren't reading it, you should be, even if you aren't a hardcore sci-fi fan. I'm mostly drawn to fantasy, rarely read sci-fi and enjoy it as much as fantasy, but I'm loving this series.


jpskewedthrone: (Default)
Joshua Palmatier

September 2017

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