Thursday, June 6, 2013

Book Review: Dauntless The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell

Dauntless (Lost Fleet #1) by Jack Campbell

Mass Market Paperback, Ace, 293 pages Published July 2006 by Penguin

You know the old saying if you have nothing good to say then don't say anything. As a critic, I just can't do that. If I read a bad book that I received a free review copy I'm trapped. So I should have just walked away from this book that I bought for $2 bucks at goodwill.

I wanted to like this book but the writing is not great. The most interesting part of the back story was wasted early on when the author violated the first and most often taught rule of writing. "Show Don't tell." In the first chapter the main character's interesting back story is told in a three paragraph info dump. That back story was far more interesting than anything that happened in the first 150 pages.

In fact check this out from back cover description "Captain John "Black Jack" Geary's legendary exploits are known to every schoolchild. Revered for his heroic "last stand" in the early days of the war, he was presumed dead. But a century later, Geary miraculously returns from survival hibernation and reluctantly takes command of the Alliance fleet as it faces annihilation by the Syndics." In the actual book this part of the story is only given a few more "told" paragraphs than what you read above.

The story has very uneven flow often caused by a story device that gave me a headache. While it might be good science to have all the spaceship to ship communication delayed by distance, it made the story super clunky and distracted me.

I thought it sounded fun. Maybe the further books got better but I think the author was not ready for prime time. (Note: after I wrote this I researched the author and found he has been writing for some time under two names. I am surprised.)

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