Book Review: Legionnaire (Galaxy’s Edge Book 1)

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Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews.  As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m a member of the TRMN.  It’s a fan club for the Honor Harrington Universe by David Weber, and they do contests for their members all the time.  There is a reading contest currently going on, and we get for page reads.  I’m thrilled as it prompted me to read more, as I’ve let writing get in the way of reading.  In addition to reading more in the last few months, this month I’ve been working the editorial revisions for book four.  The final book of The Sleeping Legion Series.  Finally, if you haven’t read it, Operation Breakout is live!

 

But enough about me, onto this specific review.  Now let’s get to it! 

 

Title:  Legionnaire (Galaxy’s Edge Book 1)

Author:  Jason Anspach and Nick Cole

Price:  USD 2.99 (Kindle Edition)

Obtained:  I bought this novel from Amazon, upon hearing about it from the Keystroke Medium vlog.

Pages:  308

Legonnaire

 

 

Rating:  5/5 Grenades

5 Grenade

Summary:

First, let me say that none of what I’ll say in this section couldn’t be found on the back copy of the novel.  Heck, I cribbed this summary from the back, and then I add my own twist!  And not even much of one, since most of the books I read have kick butt descriptions (aka blurbs).  If the blurb doesn’t catch my eye, then I tend to skip the book unless a friend recommends it.  Generally speaking, my goal is to provide a spoiler free review, so here goes nothing!

 

The Legionnaire understands that the galaxy is a dumpster fire, a hot, stinking, dumpster fire.  And most of the troops don’t know if they’re putting out the flames or fanning them into an inferno.  What started out as a three-hour tour, okay…wrong story.  What started out as a basic political meet-and-greet mission turns deadly when a hostile force ambushes Victory Company.  What should’ve been a reconnaissance-in-force, deep inside enemy territory to secure a political alliance gets ugly fast.  Stranded behind enemy lines, a sergeant must lead his band of survivors against merciless insurgents on a deadly alien planet.  A world somewhere along the galaxy’s edge, where even the gods fear to tread.  With no room for error, the Republic’s elite fighting force must struggle to survive under siege, while waiting for a rescue that might never come.  When you think you’ve surrounded the Legion… you’ve just made your last mistake.

 

If you like epic space opera, with a side of military science fiction, you should read this series.  Plenty of explosions, with authentically gritty combat.  If this sounds like your flavor of badassery, then you’ve come to the right place!  This novel is a brilliant introduction to the Galaxy’s Edge Universe, where they fix everything George Lucas broke in this Star-Wars-Not-Star-Wars adventure.  I wish I could give you an easy comparison, if you enjoyed Book X, buy this book… but I really feel like Nick and Jason broke new ground here.  They’ve revived that sense of newness and fun that we loved as children, that brought most of us to the science fiction genre!  There are other military sci-fi books out there, but none quite like this!

 

 

Characters: 

In this novel, we meet a diverse group of Legionnaires, regular army, and political appointees but the main character is Legionnaire Sergeant Cohen Chhun. He’s a grizzled veteran of the numerous campaigns, but he felt real and not one of those stereotypical military killers.  He was badass, a consummate professional and genuinely good NCO for his troops.  He’s the kind of guy you’d want on your side in a firefight, though he’s a bit of an ass to his own subordinates.  However, in this instance, it just seems to be a part of the larger Legionnaire culture.  They’re hard men and women, in a dangerous universe, protecting the Republic from rebel scum!  You don’t see a lot of character growth from him in this book, but you don’t feel left out.  Instead, it seems like they’re building something huge, and you end up hopeful that you’ll get to see big things from him in the future.  Even with a somewhat static view of Chhun, in a very brief period of time, you get the sense that he’s a deeply complex man.  Overall, I really liked him.

 

In addition to the main character, there were other Legionnaires in Victory Company that we meet as well.  All of these warriors felt flushed out and three-dimensional.  They all added to what is clearly a vast and expansive universe.  All of the characters were a lot of fun to get to know and made me feel like I was back in the Army again.  I felt like I could relate to them as people, and I would love to hang out and drink a beer with them.

 

Overall, I will give these characters 5 out of 5 Grenades and can’t wait to see where the author takes this character throughout this new series!

 

 

Plot: 

Like most of the military fiction, I love to read, this was an action-packed novel.  The story is set in a galaxy far, far away when humanity is post-Sol System. The premise for this series was to take the kind of Star Wars stories we used to love, strip out all of the political messaging, and just tell fun tales.  Escapism and enjoyment, under the banner of intergalactic science fiction.  We get to see the world through a first person point-of-view which took some getting used to, but let you feel the chaos and confusion that combat brings.  We see the world only via Chhun’s eyes, which I would’ve thought might limit a book, but with this one, once I got used to it I didn’t notice.  I never felt cheated, or like I should’ve seen bits that happened off screen.  It was a good set-up and well-executed premise that held my interest from the first sentence.  The plot grew and expanded, and I can only image bigger things coming from the Galaxy’s Edge world.  The author balanced the action, with the exposition and world building, so the story never felt flat.  At times it was confusing, as there were a lot of words and expressions that didn’t make sense.  It felt like there would be forthcoming explanations, so it didn’t knock me out of the story.  I think that I’ve become conditioned to these large expansive worlds because of the copious amounts of space opera that I read.  Maybe your mileage will vary, but it’s definitely worth checking this book out.  As you can tell by the gushing, I really got into this book.  I couldn’t put it down, the plot was that compelling.  I really loved the premise, and more importantly, I enjoyed how the execution.  The pacing was excellent, and there was never a slow moment.  I couldn’t ask for anything more; a unique premise, perfect execution, and incredible pacing!  I again give Cole/Anspach 5 out of 5 Grenades!

 

 

World Building:

This is the first book in the Galaxy’s Edge Series, and I absolutely loved it.  Can I say that enough?  Okay, back to the nitty gritty of the review.  This novel had a very flushed out world that was consistent, made sense and sucked you in.  I loved the way they handled inserting new tidbits about the larger universe and history in such a way that you didn’t even notice.  They did it so well that you never felt like you were missing anything important.  There were parts that weren’t there, but rather than detract from the world building, it made the universe feel that much larger.  It definitely made me want to become part of the larger world.  Seriously, when can I buy some Galaxy’s Edge swag?  I was hooked, and now I want to know it all!  I definitely see room for CosPlay and a fandom for this world, and can’t wait for my own Legionnaire armor!  They described the world with plenty of details, and there wasn’t a scene where I couldn’t picture it.  They didn’t reinvent the wheel and built on the existing troupes of science fiction.  They just made it sexier!  The most exciting part was the creation of his own Legion since as a kid I grew up watching Star Wars and always wanted to join the Storm Troopers.  And yeah, we all know Han shot first!  But who needs Han, when they gave us Galaxy’s Edge?  The nameless, faceless troopers became real, and one of those “use at your own risk” type of tools for the Republic.  The MCR rebel scum doesn’t stand a chance!  Overall, the world building was well done, and I was sold on the way it happened.  It felt believable, and the characters fit within the universe Cole/Anspach created.  It was a fun ride that made me wanna suit up…which is the goal of action/adventure authors!  Like most of the stories I read, this one didn’t take itself too seriously, which allowed you to focus on the fun which is why I read in the first place.  I give the world building 5 out of 5 Grenades.  In fact, I almost want to redo my ranking system so I can give it an even better score!

 

 

Description: 

I have to give it to the authors, this novel was chalk full of visualization, and you could definitely imagine yourself in this world.  He described things across the sensory spectrum; sights, sounds, smells and even how the world felt.  This is how it’s done, and I hope to get that good some day.  While I could visualize all of the worlds, I would still love it if the authors shared artists renderings from this immersive world!  If it’s only a tenth as cool as what I pictured in my head, it would be worth every penny.  Like many authors, this duo went lite on the details on how everyone looked, but you got around it because of the combat armor.  I was too busy picturing them as Storm-Troopers-Not-Storm-Troopers.  I know this is the current trend, so I reluctantly accept it, but I don’t personally like it.  And at least with this book, you hardly notice since you imagine their iconic slate gray armor.  A huge plus for me was Nick Cole and Jason Anspach’s descriptive use of language, they balanced the explanation of this new world with the need to move a story along.  This book didn’t have a single place where I couldn’t picture the scenery and the equipment, which added to the world that felt tangible and I enjoyed it.  The author’s description of their universe was evocative, and converted me into an uber fan!  The only slight draw back of how descriptive they were, it was was a little bit distracting.  Seriously, it made you wanna take a moment and explore every nook and cranny, but that’s a sign of an amazingly built universe.  And a little birdy told me that they DO intend to explore those nooks and crannies!  In summary, I didn’t find any issues with the descriptions and was impressed by the literary skills of the authors.  The action was gripping, and the story was fun.  If you want the action, the adventure, and the PEW PEW, then this is the book for you!  Nick Cole and Jason Anspach brought it, they were definitely their A game.  I give them 5 out of 5 grenades in this category.

 

 

Overall:

I really loved this book, it was a lot of fun to read.  It brought back the epic space romps I read and loved as a kid.  No deep messages, or political themes, just good clean fun.  I even found myself hiding in the bathroom so I could read this book while I was supposed to be editing my own book!  Shh, don’t tell Boss Man!  The story was compelling and made me want to join the Legion.  Let’s be real, my fighting days are over, but I could forget that while I read this book.  I could be young and spry again, capable of chewing lead, spitting out bullets and walking through fire.  Definitely gave me a case of the feels, and I found myself wanting to be a part of it all.  I couldn’t afford to be a paying member of the Galactic Legion, but at least I could serve in an auxiliary role by spreading the word.  I don’t want to come on too strong, but I loved this book.  It’s right up there with Terry Mixon’s Empire of Bones series.  Maybe there’s just something about a few old Army guys telling stories that I love?

 

When I read this book, I mourned the loss of the brave warriors killed in battle.  I raised my micro-brewed beer, toasting in their honor!  This was my first Nick Cole and Jason Anspach novel, and I’m sold.  The first thing that caught my eye was the fantastic cover, it was amazingly compelling.  Seriously, if I weren’t color blind and art dumb, I’d add a section to the book review template on the covers because so many of them are kicking butt these days!  I know I said this about Scott Bartlett’s cover too, but the caliber of covers is certainly improving, and this book just kicks Awesome up a notch!  They reminded me of the fun comic images I loved, or movie posters from the action adventures I read when I was supposed to be studying.  When I finally have a dedicated office or man cave, I’m decorating it with these covers!  And whenever they sell swag, that too!

 

So, onto the book itself.  The military culture shown was spot on, just what I’d expect from an Army veteran.  That’s right, Nick Cole served in the US Army, and it showed in his understanding of the culture of the grunt!  Nick and Jason made it clear that their world was flushed out, and didn’t fall into some of the traps most military sci fi did.  The troops run out of ammo, dumb luck happens, and good soldiers still die.  Moving right along, the ground combat described was primal, and immersive.  It was everything you want from the genre.  The battle scenes were believable, gripping and I never felt like the author missed a chance to get creative with the tactics.  It was text book KTF, the mantra of the Legionnaire!  Kill them first!  Such a detailed portrayal of the tactics is rare.  It was nice to add another universe to the list!

 

Seriously, I realize I’ve gone full fanboy, but the authors have definitely raised the bar for military science fiction authors everywhere.  I was hooked from the first page!  They wove the action in such a compelling way that you wanted to jump into the Legionnaire Armor myself.  Basically, they had me hooked from the beginning and kept it going throughout the whole novel.  This is a book I would happily recommend, and an author I will definitely read again.  Buy the novel!  But hey, it’s easy to spend someone else’s money!  I give this novel a 5 out of 5 grenades!  If it weren’t cheating, I’d give it 6 grenades!

 

 

If this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out, you won’t regret it!  Well, unless it inspired you to serve the Legion.  And you enlist, get kitted up, only to realize that your armor is made of wax paper.  Then you’re put on the front lines, getting to be on the tip of the spear.  In your first fire fight, you’ll realize that the pretty uniforms won’t save you.  And then the other shoe drops, you figure out that the weapons aren’t calibrated, and you can’t hit the broad side of a barn.  But, alas, every rebel scum is a crack shot.  Well yeah, I guess this could be bad for you.  Or maybe you’ll be okay?  I mean, you could be the first trooper to make it out alive?  On second thought, be warned, fanboy/fangirl syndrome just MIGHT kill you.  Be wary, you were warned and if you have to go out like that at least enjoy the view from the end times!

 

 

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

 

–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are used on the Fair Use Doctrine.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Legionnaire (Galaxy’s Edge Book 1)

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