Space battle goodness! – Discovery of the Saiph
As you all know I’m a voracious reader and can easily get through 2-3 books a week. I have to admit that I’ve managed to increase this consumption recently while I’ve been on holiday and have literally devoured a host of different books and series by multiple different authors. Unfortunately I’ve not had Internet access (perhaps that had something to do with the volume of books I’ve managed to get through?) so I’ve not been able to tell you all about the different series till now so hopefully you’ll forgive me as I catch up!
One that I just finished yesterday and had to immediately tell you about is the Discovery of the Saiph by PP Corcoran (click the link to pick up a copy from Amazon) … this is one that you should pick up fast as its really, really good and I have to admit had me up quite late turning the pages to figure out what was going to happen next. I’ve been reading quite a few different series related to Military SciFi & this was one of the better ones for sure & while the blurb itself might not get you through the door – hopefully my recommendation will.
Explore with scientists. Engage with marines. Experience the adventure.
The TDF Marco Polo embarks on its maiden voyage outside Earth’s Solar System leading to the discovery of an extinct civilisation destroyed by orbital bombardment. Deep underground is a mysterious library of alien secrets.
The Terran Republic unravels the clues, forcing its politicians, scientists, navy and marines to engage in an epic journey of space exploration, space battles and combat behind enemy lines. They must rally their forces to defend the Earth as they discover ‘The Others’ are coming…
Do you see what I mean? There isn’t anything in that [blurb], that would really make you want to pick this book up & in all honesty I only grabbed it because it was free on Kindle Unlimited and I was about to go on holiday and needed some books as backup in case I ran out (by the way, in case you’re wondering I still don’t think Amazon Prime in Canada is worth it but I am making quite good use of Kindle Unlimited that’s for sure!).
**** POSSIBLE SPOILERS ****
I try not to give too much away in my reviews as I think if its worth sharing with you, its worth reading also. However in this case as the blurb really didn’t say anything I fear I have to give some detail to make you realize why you should read this book so hopefully you won’t mind too much. I’ll try to keep them at a minimum. 🙂
**** POSSIBLE SPOILERS ****
In the not too distant future mankind manages to perfect faster than light travel. This isn’t the type of travel you’d expect with wormholes and varying degrees of acceleration but is almost instantaneous for thousands of light years in all directions. On the maiden voyage their ship detects an artificial signal on a planet and after much investigation they realize that these are the remnants of a long dead civilization.
However this civilization has a connection with humanity as the DNA of the alien species and humanity is almost identical. We quickly come to realize that while we were not seeded on Earth, our DNA was manipulated in a last ditch effort by the Saif to escape oblivion and destruction and to leave a little bit of themselves behind in their battle with the “Others”. What they have also left us is a library of information to help bootstrap humanity so that they can survive when the Others come hunting them too!
With some really well described battle sequences and innovative and interesting technology plus characters that you can actually care about, well this is a winner in my books for sure!
What I liked & didn’t like
Overall the characters were quite enjoyable and while one of my major gripes with Weber and his Honor Harrington series was avoided – namely the number of humans that are “in it for themselves” vs the greater good, this time it might be too much the opposite as there seemed to be only one profiteer in the whole story and not only did they find him out very quickly, they removed him from power before he really did any significant damage. I know I seem really hard to please as either way they’re damned but while I’d love to have a humanity that unified and selfless that almost seems contrary to our nature? However that being said, some of the key characters are extremely well written and while you’re not engaged with a single character throughout the book you get enough of a feel for their growth and advancement to truly develop a rapport.
The technology while still magic (especially the drive system) is realistic if that makes sense? You don’t have huge, monstrous ship battles here with hundreds and hundreds of different ships and thousands of missiles flying all over the place. Battles are more tactical in scope and size and it helps to bring you closer to the action and the damage on individual vessels. Massive space battles are fun on a computer but sometimes they can become tedious to read about as you don’t generally care about how many ships died on each side – or at least I don’t – and end up flipping forward to read the final tallies of the damage at the end. This is a fault with Weber in his series the Shiva Option although in that book its done quite well and also Saxon in the Escape to Earth Series where its done not quite as well. The difference I think between the two is that Weber makes you feel the pain of building all those massive armada’s and fleets as well as the people that fly them, whereas in the Escape to Earth series its simply a matter of reprogramming your “fabbers” and they churn out the desired components day and night!
The enemy forces – the “Others” – initially I wondered how humanity had any chance at all, but once this was explained it started to make sense and I really liked the fact that mankind while technologically sophisticated was by no means the most advanced and in fact this advancement was still not a guarantee of success! I quite liked the way they were portrayed overall although I definitely look forward to reading and finding out more about them and their antithesis towards other species.
Romance and humour could be added to subsequent novels as while it was portrayed well in this one, it did at times feel a bit dry and sterile. While this is not an essential by any means it wouldn’t hurt and would only help to further humanize the characters I think.
Overall the pacing was excellent. I thought it advanced extremely well and I really enjoyed flipping the virtual page to find out what was coming next as I’ve already mentioned.