- Legion of the Damned Prequel (#1)
- Published by Titan
- First published in 2014
- Military SF
- 305 pages
Empress Ophelia has seized power on Earth, putting her enemies to the sword. Pursued by lethal androids and assassins, Cat Carletto stands as the last survivor of her family. A family she intends to avenge . . .
Many, many years ago (it must be at least a decade) I read a book called The Final Battle. I didn’t know much about it, other than that it was by William C. Dietz, it was military SF, and it was published by the same people who introduced me to the magnificent Jack Campbell. I soon found it was the second in a series. A series that, despite the name, continued on for seven more volumes after The Final Battle. I don’t remember much about the book, other than that it must have been forgettable, and that I decided not to pursue the series. But the name stuck with me. Legion of the Damned. A last chance outfit for criminals with violent skills.
Last year I discovered Andromeda’s Fall, the first of an unnamed trilogy that takes place before the Legion of the Damned series. Since it was cheap, I figured I’d give Dietz another go. After all, what could possibly go wrong? The answer, unsurprisingly, is not a whole lot. Unfortunately, not a whole lot went right either.
This is one of those books that is hard to review, because it leads me to form no particularly strong opinions either way. Dietz is proficient writer, with a good eye for action scenes. But that’s about it. This is a non-stop ride in the vein of SyFy’s Killjoys, but without the charming cast. Moving at breakneck pace, it covers murder, training montages, and of course battles. Fun as all this is, the book as a whole feels light. Maybe even inconsequential. There’s just no meat on the bones.
The universe Dietz build here is riddled with tropes and cliches, all deployed in a very standard array. Even among the suspicion and distrust of the characters, it’s plain as paper who the good guys are. The android assassins are a neat threat, but we never delve too deep into their psyche. Likewise, the aliens are two-dimensional, lacking even the development of a Star Trek alien of the week.
I don’t regret reading Andromeda’s Fall, but I know I’m not going to be reading further books in the series.
Deeper Dive: The Value of Light Reading
The term palate cleanser is thrown around a lot. Same with comfort reading. To my mind, they mean much the same thing. A book that doesn’t challenge you in any regard, that you use to fill the gaps between heavier reading. A lot of the time these terms are used pejoratively. But I think that’s unfair. There is a value to books that don’t challenge.
First and foremost, entertainment is the most valid of all reasons to read a book. If you’re entertained, job done. the book is a success. There’s also the ease with which these books can be picked up. I spent much of January and February struggling through books I wasn’t really enjoying. So coming across a lighter read that I could slip right into was exactly what I needed. On a sleepless night, maybe you shouldn’t reach for that much anticipated new novel. Maybe you should whet your appetite with something more digestible first. I know it worked for me.
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