Top critical review
The weakest of the 9 book series so far
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 16, 2020
I am very invested in this series. I have ordered all of the series, except this one, as an Audiobook. Because of the low reviews, I purchased this one as a Kindle book. That is a lot of money. I will say that the writing is addictive. Obviously. The books are pretty funny, especially for veterans. A lot of stuff we have personally have seen is presented hilariously. I mean an Army Colonel in charge of a starship. That is funny. Effectively there is a guy and a magic wizard. And they go on a science fiction adventure. That is the basic story.
Anyway, the big problem with this series is that it is 80% repetitive. You could remove the repetitive parts and shrink it down to like three books. If you read the other reviews of this book, which I have many people talk about the repetitive nature of this book. However, as an Audiobook to fall asleep too (or do some long driving), it is tolerable.
The other major problem is there no, and I mean no character development. Think of how the Hobbits developed in only three books. It was so far. By the end, they could barely stand living with the people from their homeland. A perfect understanding of PTSD, long before anyone talked about it. This book has no character development. None. Same jokes, same pattern, characters are one dimensional. And until the last book, nobody died—plot armor of adamantium. At least in this book, there are some bad guys with a back story, which are completely dropped by the middle of the book.
In this book, it felt like the author wanted to reveal a bunch of stuff at once. I think he had revealed many hints in the eight other books, but in this one, he just dumped all the answers on everyone at once. It was kinda of a letdown because we had figured out most of it, but it felt. Forced and sudden, and thus less valuable. Like sitting down to a great steak dinner, and then being told you must finish it in 5 minutes.
The side adventure in this novel that people have a problem with is also forced—starving kids. Everyone has to love that, right? Wrong. It is a weakness in modern storytelling. How many times have you seen in a movie, or read in a book where a "hero" will sacrifice all living children on the plant (or city, etc.) to save her one child. And this is presented as a "good" and heroic thing, not as an understandable weakness, but as a noble choice. See, stay on mission, make the hard decision, save tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of children, or run off and save one. You can guess the choice this author makes, and the heartburn people have with that. One of these days, a brave novel will show the horrid decision that military and political leaders (and simple military men) are forced to make. In real life. In a Sci-Fi setting. Like the Expanse (novels not show). There is a reason so many real leaders are grey or bald by their 30's.
Thus I give this book two stars. I would give the other books 1 - 7 four stars if you understand this is basically a long "graphic novel." The super-heroes nor the super-villain ever really change. And you are not looking for them. I would give the 8th book four stars. Something changed, and wow things can go wrong. This one. Very weak. And yes, as others here have said, the ending is the most Saturday morning cartoon ending possible. It was weak. And thus moves this from a 3 to a 2.
I do not write a lot of reviews. So I must have something to share to motivate myself to write anything that may help others. I should write more reviews, as I have found so many others very helpful here on Amazon.