Orphanage by Robert Buettner
|Orphanage by Robert Buettner|
|Genre: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Iain Wear|
|Summary: War and space combine in a science fiction shoot 'em up. It's high paced and full of action, which makes it an entertaining read all the way through.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: August 2008|
I recently enjoyed Chris Bunch's Last Legion series, which told the story of training, combat and down time in an army marooned without help and seemingly without hope in deep space. Robert Buettner's Orphanage promised more of the same, although based a little closer to home, so I was greatly looking forward to it.
The world is on the brink of destruction, with an unknown enemy having taken over Ganymede, one of the moons of Jupiter, and firing large missiles at cities all over the world. Jason Wander is one of many to lose family in one of these strikes and his reaction to this leaves him facing a tough choice; jail or the Army. In a similar fashion to the TV series Bad Lad's Army, we follow Wander through his basic training and see how the time in the Army changes him from someone who reacts with uncontrolled violence to someone less resistant to discipline.
After the ups and downs of his training, we get to see Wander play his part in attempting to repel the enemy threat. We see how he reacts in the combat situation and how he deals with meeting both his colleagues and his enemy and how he deals with the differing temperatures and atmospheres on Earth, the moon and Ganymede.
As with the Chris Bunch series, this is a fast paced, all-action read. Being set in a time of war, everything has to happen quickly in order to help Earth survive the onslaught and Buettner's writing picks up on this perfectly. There is barely time to breathe between sentences and the pages keep turning. There is so much happening that it is very difficult to put the book down, as even the breaks between chapters rarely offer any respite from the action, as you know something else is about to happen.
The one thing I did feel let Orphanage down slightly was that we didn't get to see too much of the down time enjoyed by the soldiers. One of the features of Last Legion that I most enjoyed was the easy banter between the soldiers, honed during their down time and carried over when the action started. Here, there isn't a great deal of off duty time, thanks to the planet being at war since before the start of Wander's training, so it's all a lot more serious. Whilst I realise this is important for keeping the action more prominent, I did miss the slightly lighter touches that do always seem to be present even in the worst of situations.
I did feel that the ending was a little rushed as well. In a book that has been so high paced all the way through, this takes some doing, but it felt like the summary skipped over far too many points. It may be that these are addressed in full in later books in the series and, from some of the things mentioned I do hope this is the case as these will be fun books to read, but here it was slightly annoying.
All in all, Orphanage isn't the most mentally stimulating of reads, as it's very much like an action film in book form. It's enjoyable while it lasts, but not something you'd feel any need to read again once you were done and not something you'd need to look back through to see if you'd missed any nuances in the plot. It's straight forward, high paced and an awful lot of fun; a bit of a guilty pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless.
I‘d like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If you enjoy fast paced space wars, you will also enjoy Chris Bunch's Last Legion series.
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