Time for a brief review of an entire 11 book series that is roughly broken into two parts. I’ve read the first series of six (The Lost Fleet) and the first two or three of the second series (Beyond The Frontier) and I re-read those before I went into the rest of Beyond The Frontier.
- The Lost Fleet: Dauntless
- The Lost Fleet: Fearless
- The Lost Fleet: Courageous
- The Lost Fleet: Valiant
- The Lost Fleet: Relentless
- The Lost Fleet: Victorious
- The Lost Fleet: Beyond The Frontier: Dreadnaught
- The Lost Fleet: Beyond The Frontier: Invincible
- The Lost Fleet: Beyond The Frontier: Guardian
- The Lost Fleet: Beyond The Frontier: Steadfast
- The Lost Fleet: Beyond The Frontier: Leviathan
All of which are by Jack Campbell.
These are kind of shallow military space opera and/or military scifi books. Basic premise is that the two big powers of space have been in a war for a century and during a sneak attack by our side that turned out to be a trap, the fleet finds the survival pod of the captain that was at the very start of the war. The very first attack even. Since then he’s been turned into a can-do-no-wrong hero by our side’s government and so he has to use both his pre-war training in tactics, that has been lost in the century since, and the double-sided sword of his overblown reputation to get the ships out of enemy controlled space. Even with my disappointment at the end of everything, I still think it is a pretty nifty premise for a story.
The first three (four?) of The Lost Fleet are a good read. I mean that in that they were nice and swift and enjoyable. Fluffy as all heck mind you. Could easily cram the first three books of that series into one, or the first four books into two. Yet I still enjoyed them. Which is weird since though I do like fluffy stuff from time to time (see all the shallow slice of life ponyfic I like), but in general I prefer dense and complicated scifi. Or, in regards to military scifi, lots of tech-stuff. This focused tightly on the time-lag of space battles done under the restriction of the speed of light and ignores just about everything else for hand-wave abstractions. Yet for the first three (four?) books I was really enjoying it. Zip. Zoom. Not like popcorn exactly. So anyone who wants to write snappy paced stories should certainly check them out for how to have a reader just slide quickly through a story.
Didn’t last. By the time I got through the rest of Lost Fleet and into Beyond The Frontier whatever the zip-zoom-whoosh was had gone missing. I found most of Beyond The Frontier to be something of a slog to get through. Even once I got to the ones I hadn’t read. Maybe I just got used to things and my brain wanted more? Who knows. I don’t remember it happening the first time I read them. I can take a guess at Beyond The Frontier though. The aliens are just all so one-dimensional and bland. Not even any cool strange tech that the humans have to overcome. Just lots more of the same for the space battle scenes.
I’d recommend anyone who likes fluffier space battle stuff try it out. Certainly get through the first book of Lost Fleet before deciding to go on or not. Just know that not a whole lot changes as the series goes on. The ending of Beyond The Frontier was disappointing too. I liked the concept (not going to spoil things since it’s a bit of a reveal) but I thought it was done very blunt and clumsy.