Decisively Engaged (Warp Marine Corps Book 1) by C.J. Carella
If you want military SciFi you need to look no further than the Warp Marines! As you probably know by this time, this genre is one of my favorites and I’ve written quite a few posts about the books that I’ve enjoyed over the years – some of them are below:
- THE EMBER WAR – RICHARD FOX
- EMPIRE OF BONES – TERRY MIXON (planning a re-read of this one soon)
- SPACE BATTLE GOODNESS! – DISCOVERY OF THE SAIPH
- MY TOP 9 KINDLE UNLIMITED MILITARY SCIFI PICKS
While I’ve yet to make my top 10 list of recent Military SciFi titles, the Warp Marines are fast moving up to the top of that list & book 1 – Decisively Engaged – gets you hooked right from the beginning. There is no slow build up like Weber prefers with his Honor Harrington series, this one gets down and dirty right from the beginning and the action only gets more frantic as time goes on.
Story in a nutshell
Warp Marines takes us to a universe not too dissimilar to our own. First contact, however, is not something we’d want to repeat as our initial exposure to the universe at large can only be described as cataclysmic. When one group of aliens (the “Puppies”) escaping from a battle inadvertently leads the other to Earth, the “Snakes” decide to introduce humanity to Starfarer culture by bombing them back to the stone age. Clean bombs & not nuclear, simply mean that the targets are surrounded by a globe of force while the temperature gradually increases within that globe – hot enough to melt steel. Fortunately for the survivors – less than half of Earth’s remaining population – the Puppies are able to defeat the Snakes before they can complete their destruction & feeling guilty for leading these hostile aliens here, they decide to help bootstrap humanity so that they are able to survive any further incursions from the Snakes or any of the other hostile races in their galactic neighborhood.
While the remnants of humanity might be few, they are not idle or indecisive. The new American president institutes a program to rapidly build a space-based presence to ensure that any future alien attacks are stopped and while he’s not able to build a fleet of sufficient size to fully protect and englobe the Earth, what he is able to build is a fleet with defences that are new to the galactic scene. One that has the rest of the spiral arm start referring to humans as … Warp Demons.
Sounds pretty cool right? Well, that’s actually just the prologue … the rest of the book contains significantly more in the way of small unit tactics and advanced weaponry and it just continues to build up in terms of tone and tempo.
All of the characters are quite well conceived and written and their motivations are really well described and delivered. The aliens, however, are a bit cardboard and one sided. They are basically bad and we’re good and there is no gray area in between. The Queen of the planet our hero finds himself on is very much based on the Empress Dowager Cixi and the whole Boxer rebellion-esque story is prevalent and annoying as its not really new or unique. In fact another military scifi book did it earlier and it was very similar.
What I liked and didn’t like
The similarity to the boxer rebellion is definitely something I didn’t like. I would have liked some more interaction with the different groups of aliens also as only one side of a story gets tedious and monotonous. I also would have liked more space battles and especially those with larger fleets. However the small unit tactics and overall grit within the story itself was really well done. You could feel the fear and pain the Marines were going through and you lived it with them. It was really well done!