Through Struggle, the Stars is a very well done military sci fi story that takes place in the future during a tumultuous time between the Chinese and Japanese governments. Told from the perspective of an American intelligence officer abord an interstellar space ship, the story is full of action, military strategy and social commentary. I think the audience for this story will be somewhat limited, but for those interested in this niche, I think it will be very stimulating.
The story follows the journey of aspiring drop ship pilot, Neil Mercer, after getting disappointing news that his first active duty assignment will be as an intelligence officer. As he progresses in his role, we find out a little about his back story and get to experience his many interactions with his shipmates. While he did have some interesting internal conflicts, I feel he ultimately fell a little flat. The glimpses into the other characters was done better, mostly because while they clearly had a driving force, their motivations remained more of a mystery instead of feeling uninspired. I'm just being nit picky here, because overall the characters were good enough to support the more critical elements of the story. However, in a book like this, I think a little more character development can go a long way to widen the appeal to a larger audience.
One of the things the book did surprisingly well was depecit space battles in a realistic way, while also keeping them interesting and suspenseful. When fighting from thousands of miles away, even the most powerful missiles would take 15 min or longer to reach their targets. Despite the length of the battles and their were quite a few of them, each one of them was unique and interesting. The author showed a lot of thought into space warfare strategy, and he explained and executed the battles as if he had first hand knowledge.
A last tiny gripe I had with the book was the length of the chapters. They were just too dang long. Most of the time I could make it an entire train ride to work and not hit a chapter break. There were section breaks, however, and most of the time I could find one of them before needing to get off the train.
Due to the extreme depth of knowledge the book explores with interplanetary politics and space warfare, it probably won't appeal to everyone. The book was very well written though, and I know the people who find this type of topic interesting will enjoy it greatly. For these reasons I give Through Struggle, the Stars 4 stars.
Purchase Through Struggle, the Stars
Amazon Kindle ($2.99)
Amazon Paperback ($13.99)
Author's Site: The Human Reach