This is a first-person book from a male perspective. It involves a long series of battles, losses of the main character's close friends and associates, as well as PTSD. It is a standalone novel. The main character begins at age 12, but is telling the story many years later as log or journal entries.
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Powerfully written and engaging Sci-Fi
"Remember, we will win this together."
On his twelth birthday, a boy, with several of his peers, sits the exam which will help determine his education for his future career. He hopes to become an engineer. At home, his mother has baked him a chocolate birthday cake. But he never gets to eat it, or to return to his parents and siblings. Because he was special, according to the test, and so began his training with eleven other boys and girls in the previously unheard of Marathon Militia.
Kalju's story is told in the form of a first person journal, one which is being recorded for younger brother Ryan, left behind at home when he was recruited. Now a man now looking back over several years of his life, Kalju's tells of the early years of training - very different from that of most military inductions - over an almost three year period and then, later, battles in which he was involved. It is very visual and imaginative, with excellent description and characterisation. And always, behind everything, is that little question - what has happened to Ryan, the brother?
At over eighteen hours, this is a long audiobook, but it holds the reader's attention throughout. It is exciting, thoughtful and sometimes very poignant as all of this part of Kalju's life is relived with him as his memories tumble out in between breaks waiting for some unspecified military push to occur. And with these memories, he is once again caught in the emotions of the time. The whole presentation is masterfully done, including the final ending. Lots of action but also speculation on the part of Kalju about what is happening to him, and why, the battles themselves, their adversaries, and about friends and family left behind. Just like a fully rounded journal might be written.
As the man recounting his story, narrator Chuck DiMaria is superb. His individual voicings of all of the other characters is distinctive, individual and appropriate. But it is as the storyteller himself that he really excels. Sometimes the pace is gentle,, fully imbued with wonder, joy or questioning, at other times it is fast, loud, excited or even near hysterical as the battles roll over him, with sentences almost gasped out. His pace of narration so closely matches the text, it is easy to believe not only in the man but in the situations in which he finds himself. Even the final epilogue, written differently from the rest of the novel, receives a completely altered voicing. Amazing.
This is a standalone book entirely, but does link into the post apocalyptic world created by the author in other stories. This, however, is far more intense and wide ranging than any of the others so far, and it is quite unecessary to have any knowledge of them to fully enjoy this book. I received my copy of Battle on the Marathon as a freely given gift from the rights holder, via Audiobook Boom. Thank you so much. I loved this book and was fully immersed in it throughout the eighteen hours. There are hints at the end that more stories from this world will be forthcoming: I sincerely hope so. I, for one, will be looking out for them. Highly recommended.
- Norma Miles