Top critical review
Very difficult to rate. Well written fluid writing, yet the plot direction is very strange
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 7, 2011
This series is a very strange one. It starts off in series one as one human's battle to free Earth from evil aliens called the Horvath, his increasing awareness of the outside galaxy's denizens and technology, and his huge outside the box thinking in Earth's defence. The second book then focuses on two minor characters for the first third of the book, completely without mention of afore mentioned wealthy enigmatic hero, before bringing him back into battle with even more evil and powerful aliens, the Rangora. However, the disjointedness (is that a real word??) continues as the two minor characters have almost nothing to do with Vernon (the original out of the box big thinking hero), and in the remainder of the book, begins to focus more on a single minor character, a brassy young lady called Dana. As an aside, there is some very exciting well written space battle action in the last fifth of the book.
Then we get to this book, and for 75% of it, it's all about Dana and how she deals with working in a Latin American culture. Vernon gets a write up for about 20% of the book, and the last 15% of the book has some (at last) space action. And then to throw a curve ball in, the second minor character gets a mention for a few pages near the end and gets hurt during the battle and retires to teach, as if the author realised that character was a waste of time and decided to write him out.
This is so screwy.
I envisaged the following after I read the first awesome book Live Free or Die- now that Vernon has freed Earth, he builds vessels of war to build a buffer zone around Earth. Then he builds his armada of kilometre wide war globes and stikes back, retaking previously conquered Glutan systems. After non stop wins, the evil enemy find a weakness and defeat him, but Vernon comes back, builds an even stronger armada, and then goes all out, and takes it the Rangora home world. Earth and it's ally, the Glutans, are liberated, safe and we all live happily ever after.
Instead of building up to an even more intense and bigger story, he goes backwards. I've never seen this before.
How can I give an example of how weird this is?
Think of a series of books about Bill Gates. Book 1- It should be about how he started when he was young, learnt his skills, was encouraged by his family, made like minded friends, started a few businesses until they got Microsoft up and running.
Book 2- Should be about how Gates' vision for OS and MS office began to dominate computers around the world and the huge growth in MS and his fortune. Book 3- He marries Melinda and through ehr influence, sees there is more than being a ruthless mega rich individual, and turns his immense drive, intellect and fortune towards philanthropy.
If the books were writen by Mr Ringo, they would go like this: Book 1- as above. Book 2- then focuses on 2 young clerks working in Microsoft, one male, and female. No mention of Bill until one third way through book. Focuses on how the female clerk learns to fold envelopes and copes with dog eat dog culture. Last 20% of book deals with Bill and growth of Microsoft. Book 3- First 76-80% of book focuses on female clerk and how she deals with culture clash in South American head office, still at low level seniority. Shows off Latin America in bad light. She makes enemies of fellow cowrkers who hate her guts, yet grudgingly repsect her integrity and intelligence. Bill Gates gets mention for about 20 pages until the last 20% of the book, where it talks about Gates getting married and going philanthropic.
At this rate, Ringo might as well forget the original premise of the Live Free or Die novel and call it The Life and Loves of Dana Parker during Earth's war with aliens, since the war in now just a backdrop for Dana's life.
So rating this is hard. As a book written about Dana Parker, it's quite good- 4 to 4.5 stars. But as the third book in a series about Earth's war with it's enemies, it's head scratchingly retarded and 2 stars. Hence I give it 3, just to balance out.
Should you read it? Hard to say. If you haven't read any books in this series, I'd recommend reading the first book Live Free or Die, and wait until the fourth book comes out to see if Ringo has decided what direction he really wants this series to take- focus on Vernon, the big player, or Dana, the little player.