Book Review: Operation Breakout by J.R. Handley

Book Review: Operation Breakout by J.R. Handley

51F3YWT1fvLSpoiler Free Summary: Operation Breakout byJ.R. Handley  is the third book in The Sleeping Legion series. I’ve read the others. Here’s the review for book one, and here’s the review for book two.

The Human Legion is still putting the pieces together following a crippling betrayal, but they’re fighting back. They’re working to take the continent while keeping a hold on their fragile, newly-formed union.

Character: I got frustrated with Lance’s arc in this. He’s still pretty much a badass, and it’s not so much the challenges he faced that bothered me; it was more the way he handled those challenges emotionally. Again, this book is great for readers who like fast-paced action, but there are too many characters in too few pages for me to keep straight. I have a few that I liked, but they didn’t get the air time I wanted. Honestly, these books always feel like they need to be another hundred thousand words or so to justify the number of points of view. It’s more of a lost opportunity than anything else, but it’s been my gripe on the series from book one.

 

Exposition: Three books in, I expected this to get better, and it did. I didn’t feel much in the way of info dumping. I think Handley improved his description and dialogue to reduce the amount of “telling” vs “showing.”

Description:  Handley took another step forward in this. It wasn’t so much the amount, but the placement I noticed. I found the world more inviting because I could see what I needed to see when I needed to see it. It’s fun watching a new writer develop like that. Each book was better than the last.

Overall: While it didn’t have some of the arc I wanted from book two, it had what the others have. If you like scifi action at a fast pace, this book won’t disappoint. There’s more development here than in the first two, but readers will have to keep their eyes sharp to keep track of which character is where. Quick reads like this do help to break up the monotony and rest the eye from some of the thicker tomes I usually read. This had more action that the others (a huge plus). The fight scenes were particularly fun. If you like his work, you’ll like this book.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: No Marine Left Behind by J.R. Handley

Book Review: No Marine Left Behind by J.R. Handley

51X3LhVUF4L._SY346_Spoiler Free Summary: No Marine Left Behind is a short story featuring Sashala Kraevoi. Author J.R. Handley gives us a deeper glimpse into one of the characters in the series. Sashala starts out leading a normal mission, but when one of her Marines ends up alone and surrounded by aliens and steeped in hopeless odds, Sashala charges to the rescue. Survival is mandatory. Escape is the goal.

Character:  Sashala is a strong character (I mean that literally, she’s physically strong), which is nice. Having served with some amazing Marines (both man and woman), I like seeing a woman take the lead now and then. For a story this short, there wasn’t a lot of room for development, but you still get to see how determined she is.  That determination is her best asset.

Exposition: I’ll admit Andrew get’s a little heavy handed here, but there’s a purpose to this. His wordplay is brilliant, but it can’t survive in dialogue alone. The humor of said word-play is more than fair compensation for the slightly higher-than-average exposition.

610MUtV2gSL._UX250_Dialogue: I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve read this story. I think some of it felt a bit “too” Marine for my taste. What I mean by this is there wasn’t much beyond the orders and stereotypical banter. It wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination; it just didn’t add a lot to the character.

Description:  It didn’t bother me so much, especially with a story this short. There wasn’t a lot of description. This story is driven by action and pacing. Handley didn’t bog that down with overly descriptive blocks of information.

Overall:  This was a fun “dinner” read. (No really, I read it during a meal.) It’s action packed and full of cool fight scenes and scifi visual moments. It had an 80s action movie feel to it that I liked.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Book Review: The Legion Awakes by J.R. Handley

Book Review: The Legion Awakes by J.R. Handley
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All images were provided with and by permission from J.R. Handley. Any redistribution without his written consent is in violation of copyright doctrine.

Character:  Lance is memorable, and he’s compelling to read about in an 1980’s action movie sort of way. What this book makes up for in pace and excitement, Handley gives up a bit in terms of character. It’s not that Lance isn’t cool; It’s not even that there aren’t other cool characters. The problem is characters get thrown at the reader very quickly, and readers don’t get a lot of time in their heads. Basil is probably my favorite character. He also has the most satisfying arc. I remember Wires because of the nickname, but that’s about it. That said, this felt like an informed decision on the part of J.R (who most of you know is a friend of mine).  This area is probably the weakest of the book for that reason, but I repeat this is because Lance is so powerful and there are SO many other characters we don’t get a chance to learn about.

Worldbuilding:  So I understand that Sleeping Legion is a sub-set of the Human Legion saga. There’s a bit of a struggle (very small mind you). I think if you’re a fan of Human Legion, you’ll burn through this without issue, but there are some pieces of information that bring questions to those who haven’t read that universe. I equate it to people who watch something like Doctor Strange without seeing the other MCU movies. You don’t ACTUALLY need it to understand what’s going on, but it probably increases the enjoyability.  If you’ve read both, I’d be curious to hear if you agree in the comments below. What I will say is the world building we need to understand is laid out for the reader in a plot relevant style.

17035309_1868128633457762_1660927310_nDialogue:  It’s solid, though I wouldn’t be able to argue with those who say some characters sound alike. Lance steals the show for the most part. What the book lacks in voice, it makes up for in mannerisms that are indeed unique to the characters. As a military guy, what’s nice about the dialogue is the natural flow of the military conversations. This book does a great job of mixing up the odd manner service members have of mixing high intensity conversations with light hearted topics that break that tension. It’s realistic. If you’re a service member, you get it.

Description: Depending on who you are, this is either the strongest part of Handley’s game or the weakest. I’m not a fan of description, so the sparse details don’t bother me a bit. It allows the plot to surge forward at a breakneck pace.  Again, I’m not actually a science fiction reader. High fantasy (probably my favorite genre) is very detail obsessive. So if you’re looking for schematic ready description, you’ll probably be disappointed. But you have the visuals you need to move along. Like I said, I’m honestly very interested to hear what fans of this genre have to say on the matter. For my money, I don’t actually care about the layout, specks of the weapons or things like that. I wouldn’t say no to a few more beats of description, but I honestly didn’t miss it.

15673254_1834716943465598_837346620_nOverall: Lance plus a relentless plot pace makes this a really enjoyable book. J.R. makes no excuses or apologies for what he writes, and I’m in agreement with him. This is plup fiction, action oriented storytelling. Any reader could zip through this book during a large meal and a tasty desert. (No, really! I totally read this in about a week, which in Matt’s reading time is about two days…maybe 5 hours of reading time. That’s LUDICROUS Speed at it’s finest).  At the end of the day this is a pleasant, action-packed story that blends elements of 1980s action movies with science fiction themes.

Thanks for reading,

Matt