RogerBW's Blog

Battle Group Avalon, Glynn Stewart 05 August 2022

2016 SF, third of its series. Kyle Roberts commands the new carrier Avalon as the war against the Terran Commonwealth continues.

Well, it's more of the same: space carrier, fighters, naval tactics, desperate battles against impossible odds. The focus is perhaps a bit wider than before, as we get Roberts running an independent task force as well as fighter pilot and Marine viewpoints; but more significantly the first part of the book is a single-stranded plot. The force goes out; it recaptures planets lost to the Commonwealth in their initial invasion. Some do better than others. If you don't agree with the grand strategy of taking back all the individual planets before going after the major naval logistics base, well, too bad, because that's what the higher-ups say.

The problem is that while that's the background big story the foreground small story is people doing their jobs, and there's not really much to distinguish one incident from another, so the overall narrative grows somewhat repetitive. In the latter part of the book, Roberts' force is sent off to cause a diversion while the main fleet goes after that logistics base, and things get profoundly confused, with objectives getting rewritten on the fly as new information becomes available, in a realistic way that rarely shows up in fiction.

(I do slightly wonder why, given the massive FTL communication bandwidth that's available, there is such a thing as an independent force; the commander in system A can talk freely with the commander in system B, or indeed with someone back on the homeworld.)

There's still a strong character focus, which I very much appreciate, but this book doesn't seem to offer a great deal of development; it's still feel-good space-navy SF and delivers on that level, but for me the first two did a better job of getting beyond that.

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Previous in series: Stellar Fox | Series: Castle Federation | Next in series: Q-Ship Chameleon

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