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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ark Royal (Ark Royal Vol. 1) By Christopher G. Nuttall

This book is a retelling of the now classic story or humans first contact with alien intelligent life.  Told from the military perspective, many familiar tropes are used to tell the story.  We have the old warrior burned out from many years of hard use.  There is also the young warrior eager to make his way up the ladder and wield authority in the way he believes it should be done.  We have star crossed lovers (literally) living for the day. There are also the aliens who, for no known reason plunge all of humanity into a struggle for their existence.

These are not new ideas.  Then again, as I said in my post Soapboxing: Inspiration or Theft, the story doesn't have to be new, just well told.  In that, Ark Royal misses the mark by not having  texture and vision.  I'm not talking about just describing how things feel and look (though that would be a start).  A scene should be more than just a laundry list of objects and people.  All too often Mr. Nuttall's description were little more than that.  He didn't convey to me any feelings or impressions of the POV characters.  The interiors and exteriors of the ships weren't given a lot of detail for the reader to build on.

As for the characters themselves, there is a great deal of potential in them.  They are as varied as you would expect in a large military vessel (I have some firsthand experience).  They, too, lack some of the same texture and vision that the scenes are in need of.  They're not flat but, they needed a bit more personality to make them come alive.

I did like the way the author kept true to many of the details of military life and some of the details of living in close quarters.  All too often warships come across as pleasure cruisers in science fiction.  Much of the terminology and tactics had a good grounding in naval tradition and leant the story credibility.

Overall, I think Ark Royal is a decent book though it lacks something to make it memorable.  I still may look in on the second book in the series.  Mainly because of a relationship I suspect is going on between two of the characters.  This book has some graphic descriptions of sex that lands it a firm R rating.  There is also a bit a language and some very mild violence.

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Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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