18 November 2011

Goodreads | Anthony Emmel (Overton, TX)'s review of Warrior: en Garde

Goodreads | Anthony Emmel (Overton, TX)'s review of Warrior: en Garde:

'via Blog this'

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Warrior: En Garde is the first installment of the Warrior Trilogy of the Battletech fiction. first published in 1988, it was one of the first Battletech novels.

3 stars. The writing is solid from a technical standpoint, both from a descriptive standpoint and also from a translation standpoint (i.e., rules/game play converted to fiction). There are a few problems in the translation (firing arm-mounted lasers immediately after a punch, for instance), but, in general, things follow the rules of the miniatures game upon which this fictional universe is based fairly close.

Much as I like Michael A. Stackpole's writing style, he suffers from a major problem. There is way too much deus ex machina and coincidence in the story. House Kurita just happens to attack the Kell Hounds on Pacifica at the same time that the Bifrost is hijacked? The Kell Hounds techs are able to "hotload" a jump engine without blowing it up just before a Kuritan patrol can reach them? They then jump to the system where the Bifrost is located and where their old nemesis, Kurita Yorinaga, is leading his newly-formed unit in an attempt to capture the Bifrost.

It just seems this subplot in particular is driven by happenstance. If one thing is out-of-whack, the whole house of cards falls apart. Not good, in my opinion and makes the whole things seem implausible.

The other problem I have is the "fade effect" that both Kurita and Morgan Kell exhibit throughout the series. It just feels too mystical in a universe that is fairly hard sci-fi. Yes, there are giant mecha and jump ships; there are mystical ki abilities used by some characters, but nothing really beyond the normal (current) human experience. This is an ability which effects electronics and that is a difficult pill to swallow.

Please do not get me wrong, though. I enjoy this book. There are excellent subplots in espionage and action that make for the problems I have. But the things that are wrong are so disturbing to me that this book in the trilogy does take a rating hit.

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