What could be better to start off the year with than space marines, bloody battles, and far too much coffee? Not much. Maybe just more coffee so that I can stay up longer and keep reading. Oh, right about that – I probably already had more than I should have already today in addition to that Monster energy drink during lunch at work. Had to stay awake at work long enough to be coherent enough to type in those damn produce codes and such. You see that is what happens when I stay up too late reading books. The truth is that it was worth it! Siege of Titan was one of those books that was hard to put down even when I was tired. In my opinion that’s how a good space military sci-fi book should be.
Before I get too far along with this post there are two minor things you need to know about with this book. First, it is part of a much larger series created by Michael G. Thomas in the Star Crusades universe comprising of twelve novels. The Uprising series is a set of six novels that are dependent on the set up done in Siege of Titan. I would go as far as saying that without reading this book some of what happens later is a little confusing at first. In my case there was some familiarity going into this book in a vague sense even though I didn’t know the particulars of what took place. Some of the events were mentioned in passing during the Black Widows season 1 (a spinoff of the Star Crusades) that I read last year. I enjoyed those stories which is what prompted me to get this book and the other five as a single collection, plus it was cheaper that way at the time.
The second thing which is more of a general issue in nature that I have seen others on Good Reads mention as well. They are right in the technical sense. There are some minor typos along with some strange word usages that are more funny than terrible. In other words the beginning of the book writing wise is a little rough. If you can set that aside and enjoy the story in the broad sense then it might not distract you too much. However, I wouldn’t suggest using the text to voice feature on you Kindle. I tried that and it was even more noticeable especially during the first third of the book. This sort of roughness is something I personally don’t mind if the end result is still satisfying. Then again I have read my fair share of free books by indie authors so in a way I expected it some. What counts here is that it passed my 10% rule and in the end I found myself enjoying the book enough to keep going. There are plenty of more well written books that haven’t passed it for various reasons. Usually, it has more to do with the subpar characters or lack of action/conflict.
Right from the beginning we meet the main character, Spartan, who is a pit fighter. There is no lack of action from the get go with Thomas describing the ensuing fight – illegal fight that is. These pit fights are bloody, barbaric, and if you survive can pay well. Sound familiar? It reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Gladiator, just flipped around. Spartan had two choices; prison or to join the confederate Marine Corps for attacking the police breaking up the pit fight. Choosing the latter Spartan is thrust into a bloody clash with a religious cult that had stepped it up from bombings and hijackings to full scale war. Spartan is thrown headlong into war along with a crew of rookies as they infiltrate and attempt to destroy the largest of the orbital naval space stations. Throughout the book you can see the experience of pit fighting actually helps Spartan in ways that other the marines don’t benefit from. Most notable is that it gave Spartan an upper hand in fighting with the Zealots in close quarters combat inside of the station.
Overall I enjoyed Siege of Titan despite the minor flaws that were evident particularly during the first third of the book. For me this didn’t detract from the story too much knowing that Thomas’ writing was better and more solid in the books further along in the series and the spin-off I’d read prior. I look forward to reading the next book in Uprising collection; Tears of Kerberos. Last year I started enjoying the straight forward space opera and this year adding to that with military sci-fi layer of the genre. I did dabble in this a little last year with The Darkside War by Zachary Brown which has a very similar feel with the beginning of the Icarus Corps books. If you’ve happened to have read it you might enjoy the Star Crusades series as well.