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Displaying 1 - 30 of 549 reviews
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
736 reviews1,259 followers
September 26, 2018
Planetside is one of the best books I’ve read this year!!

Everything about it hit the spot. It’s about a semi-retired Colonel who gets recruited to investigate circumstances surrounding a missing lieutenant. Right off the bat I loved the main character. He had a very no-bullshit approach to things, and his dry humor cracked me up constantly. In some ways, he reminded me a bit of both Avasarala (Expanse – she’s the bomb) and John Perry (Old Man’s War), to give you an idea the type of character profile we’re dealing with here. I think Colonel Butler could’ve been just sitting there reading a newspaper and I still would’ve eaten up every moment.

Planetside also offered an interesting mystery to solve, and I particularly enjoyed the intel-gathering aspect of the story. It made me feel involved, and the incremental reveal of each new piece of info was perfectly done. It also did an amazing job building momentum. You all know how much I love that gradually building plot that eventually sweeps you into a headlong careen to the end. Planetside definitely did not disappoint in that regard. I finished the book on a high, ready to go again.

Colonel Butler’s dry humor, as I mentioned, really was the highlight of the book for me. The way he spoke, processed information, and dealt with people sent me into constant giggle fits. I love dry, subtle situational humor and it’s placement was superb. All great components aside, the fact that Planetside amused me so much is probably the main reason it landed itself on my conservative all-time favorites list. I can’t wait to see what Michael Mammay comes up with next!

Recommendations: love sci-fi? Planetside is my new #1 rec for you. I loved everything about this book and will probably be talking about as often as I can for a while. It had the perfect balance of mystery, humor, and action.

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at

Other books you might like:
Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, #1) by James S.A. Corey Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) by John Scalzi All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1) by Martha Wells Perdition (Dred Chronicles, #1) by Ann Aguirre Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1) by Ann Leckie
Profile Image for Petrik.
687 reviews46k followers
November 9, 2018
4.5/5 stars

Planetside was a very impressive military sci-fi debut.

I’m actually surprised that so few people I know (close to zero) are talking about Planetside this year. Seriously, Harper Voyager and reviewers really should’ve advertised this book more, it’s a fantastic debut and if it weren’t for my friend, Niki Hawkes, I wouldn’t have heard about this gem at all.

The plot in Planetside revolves around Colonel Butler, a war hero in semi-retirement as he received a mission from an old and powerful friend to go back to a war zone in order to find a high councilor’s son who went MIA. Although Planetside is labeled as a military sci-fi, the execution of the storyline was more mystery oriented; think of it as a mystery detective story in a sci-fi novel. The storytelling involved a lot of fast-paced investigation and Intel gathering more than action sequences; they never fail to keep me guessing and intrigued. It’s not a long book, it took me roughly four hours to read and I was thoroughly entertained. However, I did have a minor issue with the ending. Don’t get me wrong, it was great, thought-provoking, and quite powerful, but at the same time I also found it to be a bit anti-climactic because after all the incredible momentum building towards the moment, it ended a bit too fast for my liking; I wish there was one or two more chapter to explore the aftermath to make the lasting impression of the ending even stronger.

The characters were great. The narration didn’t actually explore Butler’s characterizations as in-depth as most books I usually read but his characterizations were well conveyed throughout his dialogues and actions; this makes Mammay an efficient storyteller that tells an effective and fast-paced story without neglecting the personality and motivations of the characters. Butler, for example, was utterly a no bullshit type of character, he and all the side characters behaved like true soldiers and it was really obvious that Mammay knows what he’s talking about here. Military structure, actions, weaponry, and attitudes; I’ve heard that the author has served as a solder and the knowledge he gained from it was crystal clear evident in every aspect of this book.

Mammay’s prose was simple, sharp, and highly accessible. There are no super hard sci-fi jargons here, I envision that as long that you’re not a stranger to the genre, you will be able to enjoy and understand everything in this book. There were only one action sequences near the end of the book but it was superbly tension-packed. As I said before, the mystery detective element of the book was more dominant but whether it’s the mystery or the actions, everything was more than enough to keep me fully engaged with the novel.

Planetside was crafted as if the main purpose of it was to keep the readers hooked and it did its job splendidly. Immersive, fast-paced, smartly written, and imbued with every element of a wonderful page-turner; Planetside is a sci-fi debut you don’t want to miss. I totally recommend this book to everyone who’s looking for a great mystery detective story in a military sci-fi environment.

You can buy the book with free shipping by clicking this link!

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
Profile Image for Gary.
442 reviews194 followers
August 4, 2018
Originally posted at

When Colonel Carl Butler, the “bald and angry” hero of Michael Mammay’s debut milSF thriller Planetside, arrives at Space Command, he is approached by an aide of General Serata, whom he once served under and is there to meet. While observing the aide, Colonel Butler privately notes that Serata inspires a “fanatical loyalty” in his underlings. Butler’s awareness of this comes from personal experience, but it doesn’t inoculate him from its effects – he did, after all, travel a long way to meet his friend General Serata on official business, despite being semi-retired with a cushy teaching gig and under no obligation to do so. Loyalty is a concept that is often taken for granted in military fiction; a character’s virtue (or lack thereof) is often tied to it, but rarely is it put under the microscope the way it is in Planetside. Butler spends a lot of time dealing with the various loyalties of others as the novel progresses. His own loyalties are never called into question, and this turns out to be a curse as much as a blessing.
Serata’s request of Butler is a simple one: a powerful politician’s son – one Lieutenant Mallot – has gone missing on the colony planet Cappa Three, where they are still fighting of an insurgency among the native population. Serata needs Butler to find the kid, or at least find out what happened to him, before said politician stirs up too much trouble. The investigation needs to be “quick, clean and tight”, according to Serata. That could also describe the novel, excepting the “clean” part. There’s nothing clean about what Butler uncovers on Cappa Three.
The echoes of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness are plain, and Mammay is confident enough to reward our recognition of this as well as use it against us. One of the things that endeared me to this novel was the author’s skill at setting up the reader’s expectations and then knocking them down without breaking the trust necessary for such a relationship to work. It quickly becomes clear why Serata needs Butler for this task – Butler is skeptical enough to approach everyone as if they have something to hide and can’t be trusted, but observant enough to recognize honesty and trustworthiness when he sees it and foster relationships with people he needs to help him achieve his objective. This is no easy feat when there’s a conspiracy afoot, and the question of where people’s loyalties lie can get you killed if you read someone wrong. What impressed me the most about how the plot of Planetside unfolds is the fact that Butler’s competence and intelligence are never faulted for his inability to put the pieces together from the start.
As those pieces finally start falling into place, Planetside builds to a shocking climax, one made even more disturbing by the air of inevitability that accompanies it. The reader is just a as aware as Butler of all the red flags that rise along the way, and like Butler we are slow to accept the ramifications until it is clear there are no other options. I found myself wishing the novel had dedicated a little more space to its world building, particularly the social/political/cultural circumstances of human civilization outside of the military context; doing so would have served this novel’s conclusion better. Planetside is still a damn good page turner as it is, that leaves you with plenty to digest when you put it down.

Many thanks to Harper Voyager and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read this ARC.
Profile Image for Peter McLean.
Author 38 books884 followers
May 2, 2018
Michael Mammay is a soldier with 25 years service, and boy does it show. I've read a lot of military SF, and you can always tell the difference between an author who's been there and one who hasn't. Mammay has been there.

Planetside is a fast-paced tale of military investigation that reads like a blend of Jerry Pournelle and NCIS. Our hero is a semi-retired colonel sent back to a warzone he'd rather forget, to investigate the disappearance in action of a senator's son. What starts out as an MIA story in space soon becomes so much more than that - I won't spoil the ending, but as conspiracies go this one is a doozy.

Michael Mammay brings an exciting and authentic voice of experience to military science fiction, and I'm eagerly looking forward to the follow-up.
Profile Image for Chris Berko.
471 reviews117 followers
August 23, 2018
I have only ever given one other book that I have finished one star, this is now the second. Complete waste of time and the biggest "what the actual fuck?" and "really?!?!" ending ever. It barely qualifies as science fiction and while it had the makings for a good mystery in the beginning chapters, it all fell to shit by the end. I'm disappointed I spent money on this and if this were an actual book and not something on my Kindle I would be burning it in my fireplace right now. This is the first time I have been angered upon finishing a book and I looked around the room I'm in to see if this was just some elaborate practical joke. One half of one star rounded up because I can't rate it zero stars.
Profile Image for Michelle Hauck.
Author 8 books248 followers
April 7, 2018
Military science fiction is not often on my list of reading material, but this one strikes just the right levels. Not too heavy on the science fiction elements and more emphasis on the human side of the military. The military setting and characters aren't over-emphasized to give it more credibility, but handled deftly to be totally authentic. What pleasantly surprised me was that this was more of a mystery wrapped in an action thriller.

Butler is a man on the edge of retirement, a little world weary but experienced. He's put in a situation not of his making and full of frustrating dead ends, months away from his family. The search for the missing man of course expands into so much more.

A page turner that help my interest, the mystery is wrapped up in a tight ending, but Planetside left me wanted more of Butler and a deeper exploration of his past history and character. Hopefully in the sequel.

Profile Image for Ian.
3 reviews
April 19, 2018
Mammay's PLANETSIDE is military sci-fi through and through, but don't let the genre tag fool you. While it wears its military raiment for all to see, at its heart, PLANETSIDE is a mystery--a wild ride of one! What begins as a routine--if a tad unorthodox--search for a missing soldier in an alien warzone soon goes utterly off the rails. A slow burn start quickly builds as paranoia ramps up, some genuinely compelling twists appear, and lets not forget the explosions. Lots and lots of explosions.

Through it all, the military aspect shines bright, but Mammay's prose is kept grounded by Colonel Butler's wry, world-weary narration. Riding around inside Bulter's head made PLANETSIDE far more accessible for me than many other military sci-fi's. Mammay has crafted a world with real heft and depth to it, with a stellar protagonist I can't wait to spend time with again in the future.
Profile Image for J.C..
Author 13 books185 followers
February 1, 2018
I don't hand out many five star ratings, but I do in this case because the voice in this novel is fantastic. Mammay has a way of easing you into Butler's POV and making you feel like you (like him) know the military inside and out, and that an army is an army in any situation, with its own distinct codes and habits--all of which are working against Butler.

And this is before the action heats up. The enemy is cunning, everywhere, it it's not entirely clear if the most dangerous foes are wearing the same uniforms. What starts out as a tricky situation rapidly escalates to a dangerous one. The mission we thought we were on shifts, and at the end, it's not clear what was intentional and what was arranged.

Butler's every-man nature lets you see a brutal, complex war--and the conflicts that occur on both sides of the line, where decisions are as deadly as bullets, there's no shortage of either, and every life is one that could be sacrificed if the price is right and the prize is worth it.
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,602 reviews2,309 followers
December 5, 2018
by Michael Mammay
R.C. Bray (Narrator)
This is going in my favorite folder! This has everything a good sci-fi needs! A mystery or two, a space adventure, lots of weapons, aged military personnel having to do what no one else will, aliens, a good conspiracy, death threats, and lots of action! This book has that and more! Super exciting, never boring, lots of twists and turns, and a surprise ending!
Narration was perfect because it had RC Bray! One of my favorites! I
Can't wait for the next book!
Borrowed this from the library!
Profile Image for John.
1,642 reviews51 followers
November 27, 2018
Hard to have much sympathy for the narrator or any of the “good guys,” considering that they’ve invaded the planet, killed zillions of its residents, and are trying to turn it into a mining colony. Not to mention the way the opposition gets no sympathy, and the way the author resolves the whole situation. The military setting and combat scenes are well done, but there are HUUUUGE holes in the plot too...of which the multiple failed assassination attempts aren’t the most egregious.
Profile Image for Jon Adams.
294 reviews57 followers
October 24, 2018
I mean, I read it cover to cover, straight through, in 5 hours. I'd say it's pretty damn good. Thanks Niki!
Profile Image for Hayley Stone.
Author 22 books145 followers
May 10, 2018
Military sci-fi is not a genre I read often enough, but this book definitely makes me want to read more of it! Planetside has everything you could possibly want from a sci-fi page-turner: solid action, tight plotting, great characterization, snappy dialogue. Mammay writes in a straightforward, no-nonsense kind of way that aligns perfectly with his narrator and the story he is telling. In a first-person novel, voice is king, and Mammay rules with a voice that feels completely authentic. If you enjoy military SF, this is not one you'll want to miss.
Profile Image for Sean Grigsby.
Author 16 books104 followers
April 25, 2018
What some of you may not know is that outside of SFF, one of my favorite genres is hard boiled, detective mystery. This book combines the best of military science fiction with procedural investigation.

Although it's not as explodey and far out as I tend to go for, it's a solid debut from a real military guy, with a main character who has the snarky voice I always enjoy.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,195 reviews114 followers
January 28, 2020
3.5 stars. An entertaining detective story set against a military sci-fi backdrop.

The story is ostensibly a missing persons case, as badass Colonel Carl Butler is tasked with locating a solider gone MIA in the midst of a war zone on an alien planet. His investigation unravels a conspiracy which goes to the heart of the war itself. Much of the story is procedural heavy and it's not until later that the adrenaline really kicks in. It develops fairly predictably, yet I found it enjoyable. The world building and sci-fi elements are not particularly well developed or inventive, yet the detective/procedural aspects are well written and engaging, as is the grizzled, hard boiled protagonist.

Time will tell, but this first book feels like a good setup for an interesting sci-fi Jack Reacher type series. Audiobook narration was outstanding.
Profile Image for Lizabeth Tucker.
863 reviews12 followers
June 22, 2018
Approaching retirement, Colonel Carl Butler is surprised to be sent to Cappa Base to investigate the disappearance of a wounded soldier. Lieutenant Mallot had his legs torn up, was placed on a MEDEVAC ship, but never arrived at the hospital. Once arriving at the base, Butler finds opposition and lots of lying by the various parties involved.

Dear God, this was intense. It was if Mammay knew all the things that I love: science fiction, military, mystery, snarky characters, three dimensional characters, books that rip my heart out of my chest. You can't even hate the villains when you realize that humans finding a habitable planet act the same way they have throughout history: move or kill any sentient beings who are in the way. With the Cappans, you have intelligent sentients who are too numerous to easily do either with. So war continues on and on, with little ability to differentiate between the good guys and the bad when they all look alike.

I sorta suspected some of what was going on, but the denouement nearly destroyed me. I'm still dealing with the effects of that ending, so I warn you all, be prepared. Seriously one of the strongest debut authors that I've seen in many years. I hope to see more from Mammay.

I picked up this ARC at my monthly Martin County Library Book Swap meeting, intrigued by the cover and the synopsis. I'm glad I did. However, for those wishing to read this, the publication won't be until 31 July. So go put a reserve pre-buy. You won't regret it. 5 out of 5.
Profile Image for Tracy Wolfe.
Author 2 books11 followers
April 15, 2018
I was a little unsure of what to expect when I started reading this. The "military" aspect was an unknown genre for me. But I was very pleasantly surprised! Being a science fiction novel, the military seemed more like Starfleet to me. And despite some technical references and military rankings that I didn't fully understand, I found myself fully immersed in the story and anxious to uncover the mystery along with the investigating protagonist. The main character was likable, and I appreciated his struggle to trust the supporting characters he met. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good sci-fi and/or mystery.
Profile Image for Patrick Mcnelis.
63 reviews2 followers
June 20, 2018
I received this pre-publication book through a Goodreads giveaway.

No spoilers: I am not well read in the military sub-genre of science fiction, having prefered space operas and hard sci-fi, but this was an exceptional story from my personal perspective. Having retired from the military myself after 24 years, I could appreciate Mammay's accurate depiction of officers and enlisted and the interactions between them and between elements. With an exception here or there, the military sci-fi I have read has often presented in more the Hollywood military stereotypes with uber-sophisticated and intelligent officers and knuckle-dragging, mouth breathng enlisted; however, the characters in this book could easily be found in any unit in any branch of the military. That really mattered in my scoring for this book; science fiction is always going to take liberties with physics to move an interesting story along, but military people are military people and depicting them accurately really matters to me. I also appreciated the depth of character and the self-deprecating nature of the main protagonist, Colonel Butler, who we get the story from in the first person. It added just the right amount of humor and humanity to the story. The action is on point, but if Butler never engaged the enemy and this turned into strictly a military whodunit it would have still been a good story. If there was a slow patch or a dry area, I didn't find it. The story was engrossing from the first page to the last, and aside from a couple of plot lines left dangling at the end, I was left very satisfied. The book could easily stand on its own, but the author left just enough unsaid that he could feasibly write a sequel. If he doesn't, I felt the book ended in a classic way with just enough left to the reader to come to his/her own conclusions, with nothing screaming "unfinished".
Profile Image for M.K. England.
Author 9 books581 followers
July 5, 2018
Okay, I loved this book. Michael Mammay is a fantastic new voice in military sci-fi, bringing his many years of military service onto the page in a very real way. As others have said, PLANETSIDE is a detective novel wrapped in military sci-fi clothing. There are definitely some firefights and a few explosions, but the bulk of the novel is dedicated to a missing person case and the slowly sharpening picture of what really happened. Colonel Butler, the protagonist, is just the right amount of jaded and snarky, never too over-the-top or unrealistic about it. His voice is spectacular and carried me effortlessly through the novel.

What most surprised me, though, was how much there is to learn about leadership in this book. Butler is constantly evaluating how people fit within the military structure, what they need to hear, what their words actually mean, what pressures are limiting their speech and actions, etc. Quite simply, he knows people, and knows how to get the best (or worst, if needed) out of them. Seeing that mental calculus every time he interacts with another character was fascinating to me, and I feel like this is the kind of detail that's really informed and bolstered by Mammay's real life service.

All-in-all, this is a fast, enjoyable read that you won't regret picking up, even if military sci-fi isn't your thing!

I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for David S Meanderings).
333 reviews89 followers
September 23, 2020
2.5 stars.

This is a really well written Sci Fi Thriller that centers around a military investigation into the disappearance of one of its captains. Carl Butler is the investigating officer and he has a strong voice for most of the story. We know who he is, what he is about, and whats important to him. The world is sufficiently built to understand the story, though I would have liked to see more. The action, though sparse, is well done and high stakes. The investigation is really well done and I never felt bored or bogged down. However, there was one thing that just utterly ruined this book for me and made it so I unfortunately won't be continuing this series.


The ending. Now, I usually give a pretty good amount of leeway to the author when it comes to sticking to a character is in every decision, but this was just way over the line.

Carl Butler is not necessarily always a kind person throughout the book. Especially during the investigation he makes life hard for people who won't cooperate with him. However, he is always kind, respectful, and pretty humble (apologizes a few times when he's done something wrong) throughout most of the story to those he cares about. He seems like a genuinely nice guy that you can really root for.

Take that, and spin it 180 in the last 10-15 pages. Carl, with barely any explanation, commits genocide on an entire alien civilization, men, women, and children. The only reason given being that the aliens stole the tech from the occupying humans to escape their homeworld and to create basically planet busters. Now they haven't confirmed that the aliens have plans for attacking human worlds or anything like that, except a few vague utterances of "they won't stop until they kill you all" from a dude that was half mad at the time.

So what does Carl do. He thinks, "this is why the general sent me, because he knew i would do what hit takes to protect humanity" and then dude just non chalantly blows up an entire race. No moral quandary at all.

I think it really really disappoints most of all because there was an opportunity for a big moment where the protagonist comes up with an incredible plan to fix their situation. It could have even been a deep exploration into the moral quandary of "the greater good" where the protagonist, clearly, on page, goes through all of the different scenarios that they could try to stop the aliens and then comes to the realization that they can only stop them one way. But in the end it really felt off the cuff and cheapened by the lack of page time and thought that went into making the decision.

I'm honestly just sad at this point. I really enjoyed this book up until that point. I probably would have given it 4 or 4.25 stars and been excited for the sequel. But alas, I won't be continuing.
Profile Image for Matt.
215 reviews656 followers
November 21, 2018
Well, that was all over the place.

The first 2/3rds or so are such pure military pastiche that I was sure there was a manuscript somewhere of the exact same novel set in the real world in some Asian country, and that it had been converted in to a science fiction novel using the must straight forward substitutions - pulse energy weapons for machine guns, hovercraft for Humvees, silver for oil, aliens with yellow skin and funny shaped eyes for... well, you get the idea. I figured he'd taken a military police procedural and turned into a science fiction novel to make it more publishable and broaden its appeal. Certainly the setting was a lot more credible as a US operation on foreign soil than it ever was on a space station orbiting an alien world.

Most of the novel was over before the setting and the speculative technology started playing any role in the plot. When it finally did start playing a role in the plot, it did so in a big way, but not nearly in the way that I'd guessed. I mean sure, I'd figured out the important clues but I thought that the clues when pieced together would solve a mystery and we've have some sort of ending suitable to a mystery novel.

Spoilers. Nothing is really going to be explained to you. I mean, you will figure out what is going on, but at no point will any of it make the slightest bit of sense. It exists as a fait d'accompli, but exactly why anyone in the setup is or was behaving in the way that they did will never make the slightest bit of sense. No one behaves in the remotest rational manner with the possible exception of the mastermind character that is off stage almost the whole book, and even then, it doesn't explain why the situation got to where it did, only the inevitable logic of the book's conclusion. But, as that was so obviously the inevitable conclusion, you have to wonder what anyone was thinking.

So the last bit of the story ends with the logic of a horror story, and concludes with all the ambiguity - and fridge logic - of an average episode of 'The Twilight Zone'.

Two and a half stars, simply for not being completely boring. But no more than that, because there are way too many pages that go on and on like this:

Butler "I have a question."
"Sorry, I have no answers."
Butler: "Oh my headache. I need a drink."
"Sir? About that earlier question. I have an answer now."
Butler: "I don't understand what that means. I have more questions."
"I have no answers."
Butler: "I can't think of anything to do but barge in to where I'm not wanted unexpectedly."
116 reviews
June 17, 2018
I got this book through a Goodreads giveaway and I'm glad I did. I definitely enjoyed it. It pulled me in and kept me interested. It's very good (probably 4.5 stars).

The fundamental plot line is not exactly original: a highly capable protagonist is thrown into a difficult situation with very little info to go on and has to find his way. He's charged by his boss with figuring the situation out and dealing with what he finds. In this case, it happens to be a well-executed sci-fi military setting with aliens and other fun stuff. It's written in the first person and Colonel Butler is an engaging storyteller. There are lots of clever details worked in about the "world" it's set in, but they nearly always further the story in some way. There is little time wasted on extraneous stuff. I suppose some readers might want more details, but that wouldn't fit the style of the main character.

The military milieu is well done, with interactions and motivations that fit. There are a lot of characters to follow, but that's reasonable given the situation. Some of the secondary characters are necessarily a tad flat, but there is enough about them that their actions (even if bad) generally make sense from their perspectives. There were nice twists and turns throughout. Some are foreshadowed enough not to be complete surprises, others are unexpected.

It is an impressive first book. I have a feeling that the author really listened to those he recognizes in the acknowledgements and it paid off. I look forward to more from Mr. Mammay, including, I hope, more adventures of the good Colonel Butler.
Profile Image for David Neuner.
4 reviews2 followers
July 2, 2018
I found Michael Mammay's Planetside to be a very enjoyable read and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys pacy, action-packed sci-fi stories with lots of twists and turns. I read it over the course of a weekend, which is fast for me. Typically I am a slow reader, but I found myself caught up in the plot and rooting for the lead character. I read several comments about the military aspects of the story and wanted to add my 2 cents. While it is true that the story has a military heart and soul, you don't have to be a fan of military novels to enjoy Planetside. The characters and plot are engaging enough to carry the story. I look forward to seeing more from Michael Mammay.
Profile Image for Diane.
Author 9 books157 followers
May 21, 2018
This was a phenomenal read. I found myself sitting on the edge of my chair, ignoring all the other things I needed to do, until I finished it. Honestly, I think of it as an adventure novel more than sci-fi or military. It was a wonderful adventure involving true-to-life, badass characters who did their best to handle an ever-more confusing situation. A thriller to the bone. Read it. You won't regret it, even if you don't think that you'll like sci-fi, military thrillers.
Profile Image for Megan.
7 reviews
June 19, 2018
Even if this is not your genre you are bound to enjoy this book. The main character is a semi retired Colonel named Butler. He is brought in on a special investigation. From there you are brought through a gripping journey in search of the truth. Just what is happening? Who is involved? Who should be trusted? All woven together in an excellent easy read. Highly recommend and look forward to future titles from Mammay.
Profile Image for Scott Shepard.
290 reviews8 followers
August 6, 2019
What an absolute dog shit novel. This book made me so mad I could scream. What starts as a somewhat intriguing military mystery with aliens ends as a poorly justified excuse for genocide.
Profile Image for Anissa.
880 reviews264 followers
March 29, 2020
This was a fun read but it ended on the kind of mid-scene cliffhanger that made me want to toss the book across a room in frustration. I'm telling you, the tension and anticipation was built all the way up and it just ends. WHAT?!! On the upside, I do have the second book but I'm honestly so peeved, I'm not reading it next. That'll show the narrative!

I'd recommend this because the narrator, Col. Butler is sharp and witty. He made this story a fast mover and also an enjoyable one. The plot unfurls well and the back third is a fast-moving, edge of your page ride. But if abrupt non-endings make you ragey, be advised. Also, several points for very cool cover art. In book likes, this reminded me of James S.A. Corey's The Expanse for the pithy delivery and swift tempo story and C.J. Cherryh's Alliance Space for the whole conspiracy going down with wider corruption themes.

Favourite quotes:

"It might have been my imagination. My brain does funny things when my own people try to kill me in an ambush."

"As expected, mixing a bunch of booze and not enough water with a potential concussion had been a poor idea."
Profile Image for Julia Sarene.
1,322 reviews143 followers
April 15, 2021
This was a quick and really good read!
It is definitely scifi, but there's no big space battles or voyages as a main plot. Instead it starts off a mystery with the main character looking for a the missing son of an important military man. It almost completely takes place on one planet and the space station near it.

What really worked well for me was the main character. He grew on me very quickly, and I really enjoyed his "down to earth" attitude. He clearly knows his place and order, but also doesn't mistreat the lower soldiers, instead takes them seriously.
I liked how the story changed direction a few times, but won't say much more about that so as to not spoil anything.

A really great character driven military scifi that I can wholeheartedly recommend!
Profile Image for Janice.
839 reviews7 followers
December 4, 2019
Welp, this story moved along quickly, but I had serious, SERIOUS problems with its worldview.

Spoiling the hell out of this, don't read if you don't wanna know.

Early on, we learn this:

“If a planet unsuitable for humans had indigenous life that affected mining, we could simply destroy it from space with XB25s. Planet busters. As long as it didn’t hurt the commercial value, nobody cared.”*

"We did whatever we needed to do to make the planet safe for settlement and industry. If we could preserve a native species, we tried, even if we had to relocate them to areas without humans. People demanded it. But in the end, the needs of humans took precedence. I’m not here to judge whether that’s right or wrong. That’s just how things went.” [emphasis added]*

So: a planet has something humans want? Cool beans. If there's indigenous life, fuck those guys, we're taking the resources.

And the story takes place on a planet with resources that HUMANS GOTTA HAVE, MAN. Too bad the aliens are smart and are picking up human technology at a prodigious rate. AND they're pretending to be (mostly) friendly with humans, the better to pick up the technology in order to mount a better resistance against the INVADING humans. And they might then be able to carry the battle OUT INTO THE UNIVERSE. You know, the UNIVERSE OF HUMANS.

Oh noes. The only answer then is... genocide.

Genocide. Seriously.

The whole military world presented here seems repellent to me. I'm sure many people love that world. I'm not one of them. But I'm a godless commie liberal, so go figure.

But the unexamined way that the book dismisses the concerns of indigenous people on planets that humans invaded to exploit ruthlessly was even MORE repellent to me than the military attitudes.


Obviously, I am not the target audience for this book. I'm not even going to mention some of the other plot issues here, because this callous disregard of anything that isn't HUMAN HUMAN HUMAN overrides everything else in this book for me.

*Excerpts From
Michael Mammay
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This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
905 reviews6 followers
June 19, 2018
I got this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. It comes out in July. This was a terrific SF book that is a cross between NCIS and military SF with lots of action and an impenetrable plot up to the end. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Peter Tillman.
3,682 reviews345 followers
November 29, 2019
Very good debut mil-SF novel, by a retired Army officer. As always, read the publishers intro first. After some scene-setting, Col. Butler's investigation keeps hitting dead ends. Before long, it's obvious someone is hiding something big. What it is doesn't become obvious until Butler leaves the orbital base to go planetside, where he's lucky to escape with his life. Back on base, he's faced with a very hard choice, in a scenario set up by his commanding general. The ending is (literally) overkill, but up until then this was a first-class book. 3.5 stars, dropping a half-star because I didn't much like the ending. Even if the book's logic called for it.
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