Review: Freehold

Freehold by William C. Dietz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read everything electronically now-a-days, and the one thing I miss about paper books is the ability to throw them across the room as frequently as needed in order to finish reading them. This book was a frustrating read for several reasons, and it would have helped me read it faster if I could have pitched it a few times. Instead I had to sigh, hit the off button and walk away only to have to screw up my willpower to turn it on again later. If the book were on the floor, it would have been easier because I would find it impossible not to pick it up and do something with it.

Although the book is pretty fast paced and has some interesting action going on, it still has too many drawbacks for me to call it good. The plot of this novel is fine, but predictable. The stakes get raised constantly, but by the time they are easily overcome by the flawless leadership of General ‘Mary Sue’ Stell the first four or five times, it becomes obvious to the reader that they need not worry about an important character death. The bad guys are really dumb. It is inconceivable that the ultra-powerful unbeatable evil organization even uses them for their nefariousness. The writing style is stilted, and there were parts of some action scenes that just got resolved too suddenly. It was like the author decided he didn’t really care about writing that part, so he capped it off and moved on to something else. ADHD Mil-SF is not a genre that appeals to me.

Even so, this was not the big problem I had with the book. The main problem I had was the sudden perspective shifts. In the middle of the battle scenes you are seeing things from the perspective of the good guy, then suddenly the next paragraph is describing something the bad guy is doing. There are no transitions. There aren’t even space gaps in the text. I thought I had a bad electronic copy of the book at first. I spent an hour double checking my download and various versions (MOBI, EPUB & PDF) just to make sure I wasn’t being too harsh. I’m not. It’s the same in all the versions that I have. (I purchased this one from a Humble Bundle Sci-Fi Bundle. Maybe Amazon’s version is better?).

So, although the premise and plot could have been great, the writing style, random perspective shifting and formatting threw me out so often I felt like I was on one of those old-school merry-go-rounds with all the big kids doing the spinning! Unless you can hang on tight, I cannot recommend this ride to you. I give it 2 stars (barely… for the plot) and call it a Dizzying Read.

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