Orion Fleet : Rebel Fleet

  • by B. V. Larson
  • Narrated by Mark Boyett
  • Series: Rebel Fleet
  • 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What enemy could be more terrifying than a soulless, alien machine?
A year ago the Kher Empire was forced to retreat, but they were not beaten. In Orion Fleet, they return with a new weapon. A huge ship driven by AI begins methodically grinding inhabited worlds to dust. This unstoppable enemy is without fear or remorse, and the Rebels begin a desperate battle just to slow its advance.
Leo Blake takes Earth's first warship into space to find a counter to this deadly new attack. The Imperial Fleets take notice of Earth's interference, and they're intent upon revenge. Even if he wins, Blake might have doomed our homeworld.
Orion Fleet is the second book in the Rebel Fleet series, military SF by best-selling author B. V. Larson.

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Customer Reviews

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The Doomsday Machine Revisited ... Well, sort of

Being a big fan of B V Larson, it was pretty much a "no brainer" to go ahead and purchase book 2 in his new Rebel Fleet series. I had very much enjoyed book 1 and so was ready for another enthralling story. Unfortunately, I didn't quite find this in this second book.

Firstly, I found that the story took quite a while to really get interesting. The first book immediately captured my interest with the mystery unfolding as the gripping plot developed. Alas, not so in Orion Fleet. Having said this, I do realize that once the key characters have been defined and the stage set that it is often difficult to maintain the mystery and pace of the first in the series and this story appears to have fallen into this category it pains me to say. That is not to say that Orion Fleet isn't a decent enough story in itself but I did feel that the premise had rather run out of steam somewhat.

I've found that with this slightly lighter fare from Larson that books seem to peter out around the third or fourth instalment. The initially promising "Lost Colonies" series from Larson demonstrated this having fizzled out at book 3 after running it's course. Conversely, Larson's more visceral and gritty works such as the Star Force and Undying Mercenaries series run into around 12 and 6 books respectively. I am left wondering if Larson likes to venture off into smaller projects from time to time to give himself a break from the harder hitting books. Larson is a prolific writer and I was amazed to see just how quick book 2 in this series was released but I did feel that Orion Fleet was a little light on plot and was perhaps a "filler" to a certain extent for contractual purposes which Larson wouldn't be the first author to do. yes, it was entertaining at times but I felt there was more promise to be had that was not taken advantage of. For example, it would've made for a fascinating series of chapters if Leo Blake and crew had managed to venture inside the massive automated hunter ship but we quite literally scratched the surface on this. What also points to perhaps a rushed job was the entirely derivative nature of the key antagonist in the plot namely the automated hunter. For any of you reading this familiar with the original Star Trek TV series from way back in the 60's then you will instantly recognize this "Hunter" as a "Planet killer" as seen in the episode "The Doomsday Machine.". So derivative in fact that it's systematic chewing up of planets in a star system and even a proposed method of killing such a machine was identical in nature to the 50 year old Star Trek episode. To younger listeners this will all be new and very clever but to those like me who have lived a half century and seen it all before, it's far from original. Now that's OK if this book were to take us into the heart of the machine and explore it's miles of interior spaces and perhaps many hidden and exotic mysteries but Larson didn't exploit this element and missed a great opportunity. Sure, there were minor differences in this Hunter from the classic Trek episode foe but the idea is exactly the same. There's nothing wrong with lifting an old idea but it wasn't sufficiently expanded upon to justify that sort of piracy. I will hold out hope that this might well be fixed in the next book and it does indeed appear that there will be a next in this series.

For me, the writing had a few errors and some character contradictions too which also pointed to perhaps a rather rushed effort from Larson. Firstly, the phase ship that Earth had constructed that Blake and crew use was stated to be a vessel that lived in space and wasn't designed for atmospheric entry. however, this doesn't stop said ship from being constructed on Earth and launched into space like a conventional rocket. It also doesn't stop it from landing on another world in a similar fashion. Oh, but towards the end of the book this feat is allowed in "emergencies". Hmmm ... sounds a bit thin to me and smacks of a bit of bad story cohesion. next up, I might be mistaken but there was a section in the story where Leo and crew had to depart their carrier escort quickly and had left a key crewman behind in the hurry to leave. Strangely, this crewman makes an appearance complete with tablet in hand having spent time in his quarters analysing data. Another odd thing was that I felt sure that the "Friend or foe" system which generated gravity waves to fool the "Hunter" had been ripped from Blake's ship by him and sent out an airlock only to be employed again soon after? In addition, I felt that the voicing of the Urssan character wasn't the same as that in the first book being less sarcastic or adversarial in tone. Perhaps I am picky or even in error in some of these observations but this is what I took as being flaws in this story.

In addition, I also felt a bit confused at the Urssan' character chiding Blake for his cowardess for not wanting to head into a suicide mission, then berate him for being foolish for wanting to pursue an enemy. This cycled back and forth a couple of times so was rather an inconsistent characterization.

I do like Larson's work and the thing about a great author is that they are always judged against their own best work. My perception of Orion Fleet might have been marred by having just come away from reading the fantastic "Columbus Day" best seller so some of my complaints about this book might be slightly biased. I will definitely get the next in this series as although Orion Fleet was a little disappointing for me, it was still a worthwhile read in its own right so I don't want to put potential readers off this title. It's just that you might not find this second instalment quite as good as the first.

A fair read if rather unsatisfying.

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- S. Morris

Not as good as the 1st...

Narrator great but story not as entertaining as first. Disjointed mix of action-romcom. Disappointing. Word.
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- Sully

Book Details

  • Release Date: 28-02-2017
  • Publisher: Audible Studios