Top critical review
Does not feel or read like a John Ringo book
Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2020
When I buy a post-apocalyptic science fiction/fantasy book, I do so knowing that I will have to suspend my disbelief. I am ok with that, as long as this suspension of disbelief is semi-believable and advances the plot, story, or drives character development.
A rift opens between worlds/timelines/dimensions? Check. I'm ok with that.
Dragons and spider ants come pouring through the rift? Check. Still onboard. This is sounding pretty cool.
These fantastical beasts, directly and indirectly, lead to the fracture and collapse of society? Check. Interesting enough premise, I want to know more!
As the world fractures, people begin worshiping these creatures or try to tame them? That's probably the most believable thing on this list.
Out of the chaos, a hero arises, a young naive farmboy...seen that a few times before, but fish out of water stories always have a great deal of potential.
The United States military in less than a generation goes from a well trained and disciplined organization sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America to a well trained and disciplined death cult sworn to neutrality and that worships Mikhail Kalashnikov, John Moses Browning, and Chuck Norris?
That is where this book loses me.
Its not that that couldn't happen. Its that it couldn't happen over the short timeline the authors made it happen in. Keeping in mind the book makes no discussion about that happening, its set after that has already happened. There is no discussion of how, or why. It just is...
Which is a pity, because that would have been a heck of a story told over a long enough timeline.
So that's one star off for me.
The book loses the second star because way too many fascinating characters are introduced, developed, and then killed just to introduce additional challenges for the protagonists. Without getting too spoilerific, the heroes are on a boat full of interesting people. So, of course, the boat gets attacked by pirates (no mention of pirates before the attack)...and all the interesting people die just so the heroes spend a couple of pages cold, wet, and miserable while the bad guys close the gap...
So why three stars and not zero?
There are things that I absolutely loved about this book. With the exception of the "drunk", the characters in the story evolve over the course of their journey. Sometimes it felt forced, but largely it felt natural. You understood why the characters acted as they did. You saw their journey and how and why they changed. Huge fan of that.
The world-building was great (other than the military becoming a meme worshiping death cult) and again very logical. You could see, without squinting too hard, why the pockets of civilization behaved as they did.
It was well written. The style is consistent, which is hard to pull off when multiple authors are contributing, but these three made it feel pretty seamless. A note about that, this does not feel or read like a John Ringo book. The consistency of style is not his style. It feels like a John Ringo story, it just doesn't feel like it was written by him.