Review: Earth Alone
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I want to share some positive thoughts about this novel before I go on. I love the level of diversity the author brings to the table. We see a drafted Human Defense Force that is doing its damnedest to protect humanity, and they are drafted from all walks of life. We see folks of differing backgrounds and various nationalities who are working together to accomplish a mission. I love this idea and wish we could see more of it, both in fiction and reality. Now the hard part...
Okay, I'm going to be brutally honest here and say that I had to force myself to finish this one. Why? You ask. First and foremost, I felt like I was reading an ever so slightly revised rendition of the Starship Troopers movie; and there were so many things lost in translation between Robert Heinlein's original Starship Troopers and that horrible movie that it literally hurt my brain. Yes, it's fine to reuse tropes but some variety is nice too. (Marco vs Rico, the initial love interest wants to become an officer in the pilot corps while Maco goes on to become an infantryman, the secondary love interest is infantry and the relationship buds out of a boot camp experience, the aliens are faster, smarter and damn near indestructible--like the bugs; and the list goes on)
Something that stuck in my mind as I read the book that was never really explained was the recurring orbital attacks of the Scum. We have a Human Defense Force that was able to nuke their home planet, we have ships in orbit- it seems, and we have these seemingly random Scum attacks that somehow penetrate Earth's defenses, presumably from an orbiting ship that just keeps orbiting while dropping Scum pods. (Why don't we blow the hell out of this orbiting cruiser instead of waiting for these things to keep dropping pods down on our heads?)
Okay, so aside from these problems: I found some of the characters likable, despite their sometimes odd and incongruous character behavior (i.e. the seemingly random emotional outbursts as they pour their hearts out for a few paragraphs to the main character who attentively listens as they open-up and share their experiences before returning to their bad-ass, kill-em all attitudes)
Speaking from the perspective of a former military member; yes, boot camp is hard, and it does break you down, but rarely (almost never) would you see someone open up the way these characters do--and I won't even go down the list of problems I had with their boot camp experience because unless you've actually served, it really is impossible to know what it's like.
Overall, as I said earlier, I had a hard time finishing this one but made it through in order to discover if Marco was going to get a field promotion to officer, like Rico did in Starship Troopers.
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