Review: The Cost of Victory

The Cost of Victory
The Cost of Victory by Jay Allan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Although better than the first book in the series, this second one still managed to leave me even more disappointed.

How’s that possible, you ask? Well, let’s see…

(chalk up the following as part review and part advice for would-be military sci-fi authors.)

The writing was better in a general sense. It was easier to read and had fewer points where I was thrown out of the story. That’s about the best good thing I can say about it.

The story had great potential in the plot, but for each plot point, it completely failed to raise the stakes believably enough before jumping to a too-swift reversal of fortune where the good guys come out on top. I want them to win, but it can’t be easy! I enjoyed the political intrigue that was added, giving us some specific bad guys to hate, but it was too easy to overcome the nefarious plots. I kept waiting for the main guys to stick it to the smarmy secondary bad guys, but even that never happened.

The main characters get even more Mary-Sue-ish. The really good guys are really good all the time. They never fail. Sometimes it looks like they might, but then… nope…they win again.

The after-action report style of battle resolution is still present (and the numerals instead of words… arrgghhh…. see my review of book one).

I liked the space battles, they were a nice addition that was not present in book one. The problem became an over-obvious repetition of tactics by the end or the book. They got resolved with out enough detail. If you are going to tell me about a space battle, I need details of the ships, (What do they look like? How do they work?) and how they blow up, not just a list of which ones blew up in what order. Boring!

And, please, for the love of little green apples, knock off the repetitive reasoning/explanation/reiteration for why things happen, or why people think certain things, or why they act certain ways. Saluting is hard in armor… got it the first time… no need to repeat it twenty times over the course of the book. Officers have ghosts in their heads from all the men that they send out to die in battle. It is not necessary to repeat that every time a battle is starting to cause casualties. Wounded Marines have to be cut out of damaged armor with a plasma torch, and also, you have to use a plasma torch to cut Marines out of their armor when it gets damaged and they are wounded. Rewording the thought is still repetition… especially when you do it less than two chapters apart. Sheesh! Get an editor or some beta readers who can show you where you ‘already said that’ and maybe chop out a few thousand useless words from your manuscript before you publish it.

The only thing that kept me reading was wanting to find out ‘the secret’ on Epsilon Eridani IV.

If you want to save yourself the trouble, you can see a spoiler by clicking here.

So, all I can say is that it wasn’t terrible, but I won’t be reading any more of the series unless I get to the point that I can’t stand not knowing how the plot goes. And with nine books in the series, I don’t think I can take it. I give this one two stars and call it an I-Already-Read-That Read.
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