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Exile, the eleventh book in the Star Force series and second featuring Cody
Riggs as the main protagonist following on from his father, Kyle Riggs,
raises its game even further in this enthralling and exciting adventure.
Larson and Van Dyke have come together again to develop an excellent follow
on from the previous book, Outcast and we as the reader are pulled into the
action right from the start with bugs akin to the largest seen in the
Starship Troopers original movie. Larson and Van Dyke suck the reader in
right away and keep the interest, action and intrigue going all the way in
this ripping yarn.
Exile brings into the storey mix a welcome aspect in the form of the
"dimensional maze" which proved mysterious and fascinating as the characters
explore this strange and confusing inner world. The technology and intent of
the all powerful and yet barely understood race called "The Ancients" sees
the authors intrigue us with time and dimensional effects that go beyond
what we understand as technology in the conventional sense and this element
alone spark the imagination and illustrates the brilliant and very alien
concepts imaginatively depicted.
Cody gets some extra help to bolster his already depleted crew from an
unexpected source which nicely sees "Riggs Pigs" take on a dual species mix
that we haven't seen since the Sentars integration into the Star Force
Marines back in the main Kyle Riggs series of stories which is a welcome
This book keeps the action and interest going at all times and I find I keep
wanting to read just one more chapter and take every opportunity I can to
delve back into the unfolding and gripping story. As mentioned in previous
reviews of Larson's work, I find his writing style and narrative
refreshingly straight forward and heavily biased toward fast moving plots
and always keeping things relevant and interesting unlike a lot of science
fiction stories which can tend to be rather heavy or cerebral in nature. If
you've been put off sci-fi in the past because of such things then you will
find Larson's writing much more accessible and in a style that will more
likely leave you feeling a shot of adrenaline rather than a headache.
In this story a character we thought long lost and not seen since the early
Star Force books makes an appearance which causes Cody Riggs all sorts of
problems. From the readers perspective it was obvious what this person would
do and I could see it coming but this is not a failing in the story but
rather, I think, the still overly trusting Cody character who didn't
understand this person as we the reader do. While on the subject of Cody
Riggs, I still tend to think that he is far too competent a leader and
tactician given his 24 odd years regardless of who his father was and the
stated 4 years in Star Force Academy. I'd like to see a few more mistakes or
errors of judgment we can see relates to his youth and lack of life
experience but that is only a minor point I have in relation to how this
key character is written.
The previous book, Outcast, which kicked off this new chapter in Star Force
also brought back a much loved character for me in the guise of the ever
loyal Kwan. I was so pleased to see him back in the pages of these books and
his presence in this story is even more welcome as he plays a larger part of
the overall narrative and often comes out with funny lines that befit his
simple and direct personality.
Exile also sees the return of an adversary not seen in an active state since
the end of the main Star Force series ended with book 9. However, one rather
odd plot aspect that I thought strange was why when invading our band of
heroes vessel that rather than want to just tear up the ship why it was that
they simply didn't have a nuclear bomb with them and detonate it once aboard
thus ending in the most efficient way the scourge of Star Force and Cody
Riggs. Typically, when such a departure from what might appear the easiest
way to kill our hero and his crew and ship comes about the author manages to
see this as something the reader will ponder over and finds a clever and
believable explanation to deal with the plot or behavioural anomaly which
doesn't happen here.
Still, this oversight does not detract from the enjoyment of the story and
I suppose that even the most imaginative writers cannot always do the things
we think an enemy should as it would simply end the story so I am not
marking the snovel down on this tiny point.
If you liked Outcast then you will love Exile even more. It is fast paced
with plenty of mystery and action in just the right mix and perhaps leaves
the reader at the most fascinating cliff hanger ending I can think of late
in this series of books. I remember thinking "What? .. Oh no, it's just
finished like that!". There's nothing quite like an ending leaving you on
the edge of your proverbial seat to want to make you come back for more and
Larson does this so well throughout this series and always manages to
maintain or even increase the quality of the story such that the reader is
never disappointed in each follow on in the series. it's hard to do this and
this marks Larson and Van Dyke out as those that can continually rise to the
challenge of writing interesting and enthralling stories again and again.
Mark Boyett goes without saying regarding the quality of his ongoing
narration in this series and his range of voices and accents are superb
providing the story with rich characterization and giving the reader clear
and easily distinct characters that makes the audio form, I believe, the
definitive version of such books. After all, for thousands of years and even
before the written word humans have been listening to the spoken word for
story telling and this seems to me the ultimate form to render a book in.
As ever I have to point out one mistake right at the start of the book which
saw Boyett saying "Army piercing" rather than "Armour piercing" but despite
me bringing up such errors in my reviews, I do not blame the narrator but
rather think it's more a failing of the production team to detect and have
such misspoken words corrected. the narrator does a splendid job and so any
minor errors made by him are quite forgivable given the overall top
quality reading he does.
Exile is another superb read and one that continues to extend the Star Force
series in an ever expanding universe of interesting, thought provoking and
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Great story, fast paced, great characters, plenty of space battles, what more could you want.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I really love this author, and the narrator also, he is perfect foe these books
I hope book12comes out soon, I can't wait to read it!!!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful