This is a blog with spoiler free reviews. Most will be Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror, but there will be some books in other genres, including the occasional Non-Fiction review. There is an ongoing series of Cover Reveal Round-Ups, and sometimes I'll write an article on something that interests me.

24 March, 2011

REVIEW: EMBEDDED

Cover Art: Larry Rostant

EMBEDDED
BY
DAN ABNETT

ISBN: 978-0-85766-090-9
Pages: 352
Publisher: Angry Robot Books
Publishing Date: 26 March 2011*

On the cover:

The colony planet of Eighty-Six looks as dull as all its fellow new worlds to veteran journalist Lex Falk, but when a local squabble starts to turn violent, and the media start getting the runaround from the military high command, his interest is seriously piqued.
Forbidden from approaching the battle zone, he gets himself chipped inside the head of a combat veteran – and uncovers the story of a lifetime. When the soldier is killed, however, Falk must use all his resourcefulness to get back home again… and blow the lid off the whole damn thing.

   The title of this book tells us much about it, embedded was a phrase I'm sure all of us heard several times during the US led invasion of Iraq. And it is, at a start at least, what this story is about. What happens in the beginning of the book, when journalist Falk comes to planet Eighty-Seven, is a very realistic portrayal of how journalists work. And for me that immediately set a tone of realism for the whole novel. And I wasn't disappointed.

   It doesn't take long for the story of war journalism to turn into a more traditional tale of military science fiction, and once it does the action starts. There is plenty of action throughout the story, and Abnett doesn't pull any punches. He describes a bloody and dirty conflict, that owes more to Joe Haldeman's The Forever War than to Star Wars. This is of course a good thing, in my opinion.

   I've already mentioned the journalistic angle, and the action, but there is much more to this novel. There is a layer of suspense that runs through it, and it is hard to know where the story will take you. This is a great strength, and something that made it hard for me to put down.
   There is also a very serious element in the book that I was afraid would feel preachy. Fortunately Abnett handles this very well, and it adds to the story without feeling intrusive.

   Whether your interest lies in planet bound military science fiction, a good war story, or a different twist on war journalism this is a book you should pick up. It's fast, relentless, and has an ending that I at least did not see coming. 

NOTE: An ARC of this book was supplied to me by the publisher

* 26 March 2011 is the release of the Forbidden Planet only Hardcover edition. The electronic release is 29 March 2011. UK release 27 April 2011 and USA/Canada release 29 March 2011.

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