Book Reviews

Book Review: The Rich Man’s War

TL;DR:

The Rich Man’s War is a continuation of Elliot Kay’s The Poor Man’s Fight. The reader follows Tanner Malone as he struggles to deal with the fame and renown his actions in the previous book earned him. But that isn’t all Tanner will have to deal with; massive political changes and war loom at his doorstep. Kay does a good job keeping Tanner’s character interesting, and avoids beating the reader over the head with made-up science jargon. However, the book did suffer during the “tense” action sequences. There are two of such action sequences in the book, and both of them felt unnecessarily long to me.

The Cover:

rich-mans-war-cvrI’m not really a big fan of the book’s cover. I would even go as far to say that the cover had me a little concerned about the actual content of the book. I might have even avoided the book due to the cover if I hadn’t read The Poor Man’s Fight. The cover just strikes me as far too busy and colorful, similar to a piece of gaudy jewelry. When the artwork is blown up, I enjoy it, but as a thumbnail, the picture and many of the related details are very difficult to discern.

The Bad:

1. Both the action sequences in the book left me bored and wishing for an end to them long before that end came. Kay attempts to draw the reader into the action by frequently switching points of view in an effort to either give the reader something near omniscience in regards to the fighting or to drive home a “hard” fact about war. I felt like this did little other than draw the scenes out to an unnecessary length, making them repetitive and somewhat boring to read.

The Good:

1. As an American, it was fairly easy for me to draw the connections between the future that Kay builds and the economic traps college students must navigate today. I thought this was a clever parallel to draw between modern society and Kay’s potential future. Most military sci-fi that I’ve read leans heavily on culture wars and technologically superior aliens that wish to destroy us, but instead Kay pits us against ourselves.

2. Kay’s characters read like they are real and are fun to learn about. I came across a few points in the book where I was a little confused by a person’s actions, but overall the characters felt like real, living people to me.

3. The editing and grammar are done well enough that at no point in the book do I remember thinking “well, that was lazy” or “Man, spellcheck would have caught that.” And that is always a big positive mark for me, especially when the book is independently published.

4. Even though the book is military science fiction, Kay doesn’t beat you over the head with military terms. There are quite a few naval or military terms used in the book (bo’sun, various ranks, some terminology, etc.) but all of them are used in such a manner that they are easy to understand. That is a huge breath of fresh air to me; I’ve read quite a few books where the author simply attempts to force feed you military terminology, effectively drowning you in terms you don’t understand and completely ruining immersion in the story.

The Meh:

1. I can’t nail it down, but there’s a niggling little something-or-other about the book that makes me feel like it’s very slightly, marginally, fractionally less-than it’s predecessor. Not really a big deal, but I do recall feeling that way through the majority of the book. Nothing even approaching some of the sequelitis I’ve seen from other books.

Synopsis:

A year or two has passed since the events that took place on the Aphrodite. Tanner Malone is still a well-known individual, but is no longer in the limelight; he likes it that way. He has been quietly trying to burn up the rest of his time in the Navy by working as an Honor Guard in Ascension Hall. But war is coming, and his quiet life is going to change drastically. When Archangel announces that they are seceding from their bonds to the “Big 3” corporations, and no longer intend to do business with them, or pay their “debts” do them, Tanner is thrust back into action. With all the political maneuvering, vested interests, and the resources of three corporate behemoths coming at them, Tanner, and those around him, will need to muster every shred of heroism they possess, because risking failure means seeing their friends, family, and their homes ground of the heels of Lai Wa, The CDC, and Northstar.

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