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4-Stars

Andromeda Series #BookReview

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4-Stars

First off, this review is going to cover the first two books in the new series by William C. Dietz. I read them one right after the other and I have pretty much the same thing to say about both of them, so separate reviews is just a waste of kilobytes. The first book of the series is Andromeda’s Fall  and the second is Andromeda’s Choice.

I have been a long-time fan of Dietz’ work and have a high opinion of him as a person and writer also. One reason is that he is also a former Navy Corpsman as I am, and there is a certain brotherhood that goes along with that shared history. The other reason is that many years ago while I was working on my first book, I wrote Dietz a letter about my aspirations as an author. This was a real letter, you know, on paper. He took the time to write me back and did so promptly. I was so excited to get a letter from him and equally impressed that he took the time to respond to a fan and offer words of encouragement and even advice on becoming an author. I have only received a few emails from fans of my first book, and I replied to those the same day, and I will always strive to do so in the future. But before the digital age took hold, I think it’s more impressive that someone would take the time and effort to grab some paper, throw it into a typewriter, compose a letter, address an envelope, pay for a stamp, walk to the end of their driveway, and mail that letter off. So Kudos to Mr. Dietz for being a loyal author.

I have read all of the books in the Legion of the Damned series and I was excited to see the start of a new series with a new character. Though I must admit, I will miss Santana if that character is never written about again. In this new series, we go back to a time when the human government is in upheaval and was in fact a monarchy. Princess Ophelia overthrows her brother in the first chapter of the first book, becoming Empress Ophelia. Lady Catherine Carletto’s parents and family, along with thousands of other influential people, are a threat to Ophelia’s new reign and must be wiped out.

On the night of the initial purge, Catherine is tipped off to the oncoming attack and she escapes, barely, to live and fight another day. Her only choice to escape the planet she is on is to join the Legion under a false name. But Catherine is a dolled-up socialite who has never had to care about or want for anything. Will she make it in the ranks of the Legion?

Well of course she will! Otherwise there wouldn’t be a story now would there? The first two books in this new series are a great addition to the Legion of the Damned. I’ve always liked the series but these books depart a little from the others in that they are more about the people and the situation rather than the fighting and the machines. The other Legion series have a very large story arc that spans the series with smaller story arcs that are more or less finished within each book. The Andromeda books have their share of combat moments as well but it isn’t the dominating factor in the story.

To me, when Catherine turns into Andromeda, it seems more like Catherine had always really been Andromeda and just needed to shed her Catherine skin. The character really comes into her own in the stories but in a believable way. She is not an instant bad-ass that wins every fight and is superb in everything she does. In fact, she gets her ass kicked on several occasions and sees it coming; her talent lies in her ability to see the ass kicking coming and take actions to mitigate how bad the outcome will be. In short, she’s a very plausible character.

I gave the book only 4-Stars because I have just a couple of nitpicky things about the story.

First off, in every single Legion book, Dietz tells the story of Cameron. It is a famous and real battle from the history of the French Foreign Legion from 1863 when they fought against the Mexican army. It is a defining moment for the Legion and it became their famous battle cry “CAMERON!“. He has gone from his first books of  taking a page to discuss the battle, and now can sum it up in a paragraph, but I’m honestly tired of reading it after so many books in the series. I understand that not all of his books will be read by every reader so someone could pick up a book in the middle series and not know about Cameron. However, there has to be a better way to deal with this. Please find a better way.

**WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILER IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH** (Highlight the paragraph below to read it)

Secondly, there is one piece of tech in the story that seems to not work the way it should and it is a major plot device, at least in my opinion. And I think this piece of tech will be used at some point in the series to unravel Andromeda’s identity and then, POOF, the tech will work the way it’s supposed to. You see, there are these forensic droids that are described as looking much like the interrogator droid from Star Wars. They can match DNA in seconds from their almost unlimited database. They are masters of facial recognition. They are every CSI show put together and then to the tenth power of that. So why in the hell can they not see that Andromeda is Catherine?! I know that she was given a huge and deep scar across her face early on in the first book as a plot device to fool these scanners later in the book, however, even current facial recognition software wouldn’t be fooled by the scar. The software measures static points on a person’s face such as from the corners of the eyes to the corner of the nose or ears. Lips to the nose or ears. A scar across the face would not mess up every data point in the software. And when a droid comes up with a close match, another droid does a brief interrogation of her and is easily swayed from continuing the questioning. And I think that when the story finishes it’s Ophelia arc, one of these droids is going to have an “ah-ha” moment and recognize Andromeda and then the fight will be on. But they should have done that by now in my opinion. Anyway…

***SPOILERS NO MORE***

Even with the two things I didn’t like about the books, I would definitely recommend them to anyone who enjoys military science fiction stories, or even just plain old action stories. Dietz’ books are mostly science fiction but the Legion books aren’t like Star Trek science fiction which are dependent on high tech gadgets and wiz-bang explanations. There are futuristic concepts that put these books in the SF genre, but they are more story driven rather than SF driven. Take a look at them, you won’t be disappointed.


P.S.

My books are professionally edited but my blog posts aren’t.

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