Semper Fi (The Empire’s Corps #4) ★★★☆½

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights containedtherein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards tocopying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions.Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’sExalted Permission

Title: Semper Fi
Series: The Empire’s Corps #4
Author: Christopher Nuttall
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 446
Format: Digital Edition


Synopsis:

Commodore Singh has taken advantage of the retreat of the Empire’s forces to carve out her own little empire. Ruling through fear and setting her underlyings against each other, Singh has a sizeable fleet and a highly developed tech world at her disposal. Captain Stalker and the forces of Avalon and the ConFed are growing and they know at some point they will come to Singh’s attention. Unable to beat her through pure force, the ConFed’s must do what they can to destabilize her power base.

Lt. Jasmine is chosen to lead the small force of marines and support staff to infilitrate Singh’s power base and topple her regime. Starting up insurgency groups, infiltrating the intelligence community and trying to implement a plan that will destroy Singh’s power, Jasmine is in way over her head.

Once she gets captured and tortured, things are looking bad. Thankfully, her marines are loyal and rescue her and in that process capture the head of the Intelligence group and pump him for all he is worth. This also allows Jasmine to blackmail the next Intelligence leader and get key people onto the space stations.

The revolution happens, the world is nominally freed and Singh flees with a much smaller group of ships to plan her revenge. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of her.

My Thoughts:

First, this was almost ALL groundpounder action. I love Military SF that has that as its primary core. I’m not a huge fan of spaceship battles.

The focus this time was on Lt. Jasmine and her squad instead of on Captain Stalker and the marines as a whole. It worked very well to limit the main characters to less than 10 even while using side and minor characters to flesh out the action. The villains were well done as well. The security guy was a sick and disgusting pedo and abuser and Nuttall did a great job of showing just how filthy he was without going into details or making it graphic for the reader. He walked that line perfectly. Singh wasn’t quite so well done, as I found her descent from sidelined but talented in the Empire to In Charge and ruling through Fear a little difficult.

I think my main issue with this book was Stalker’s attitude. Since he doesn’t have access to the Marine Boot Camp world he is always lamenting how they can’t have any more “Marines”. It seems rather defeatist and not like him at all. I would think that he’d start trying to re-create the marine training program so that even if they can’t have all the implants that the regular marines have, he (Stalker) would have access to highly trained troops in about 2 years instead of just having regular soldiers. I’m hoping another character will come along in a book or two and kick the idea around and make it happen. It NEEDS to happen if he’s to keep his edge.

I didn’t notice, or remember is probably more likely, any egregrious grammar or spelling errors, so that was definitely worth a half-star bump up.

Fun and enjoyable book in a series that is staying the course. I’m satisfied so far.

★★★☆½

ps,

I am using the new wordpress editor and I must say, it is frustrating as all get out. It appears to be change for mere changes sake and nothing is as easy as before. I’m afraid wordpress is going the way of Facebook and changing things “just because”. I can’t figure out how to make extra spaces between paragraphs to work (I usually have extra spaces between Synopsis and Thoughts and between the ending avatar and the text above and below it) and overall it simply isn’t easy. I can’t even tell if there are more options, since everything is so different. I don’t even NEED more options. I can’t find a good tutorial and google’ing just brings up stuff for wordpress.ORG and all their tutorials. Rrrrrghhhh….

pps,

And when I went to schedule this post, it didn’t show me what days I already had stuff scheduled! Now that is totally not good. I can’t keep 2+ weeks ahead if I can’t see what is scheduled when. Sometimes I like to sneak posts in on empty days but now I can’t see what I even have for empty days. Double rrrrghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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When the Bough Breaks (The Empire’s Corps #3) ★★★☆☆

Whentheboughbreaks (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: When the Bough Breaks
Series: The Empire’s Corps #3
Author: Christopher Nuttal
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 422
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The End of Empire.

Belinda Lawson, a Marine Pathfinder (amped up and maxed out with the latest tech), loses her team when the planet Han’s rebellion is crushed. The Terran Marines are being pulled away from Earth on one pretext or another and the Marine Commander on Earth puts Belinda as an slightly undercover Marine bodyguard for the crown prince Roland. Roland has been indulged his whole life and deliberately overfed, overdrugged and oversexed by the Grand Senate, thus making him the perfect puppet. Belinda changes all of that and begins the process of turning Roland into a man.

This follows various storylines showing the destruction of the terran empire and the destruction of Earth. One Grand Senator is making a powerplay to become the next Emperor and centuries of neglect and abuse finally catch up with everyone.

We follow the Grand Senator, Belinda and Roland and then several students at the University. Through their eyes we see as everything unravels, like the bursting of a rotten, maggot infested piece of fruit. It happens quickly, suddenly and violently.

 

My Thoughts:

Now we know that Captain Stalker and the Marines on Avalon will not be getting ANY help from Earth.

I enjoyed this story a lot more than I thought I would. Besides Belinda and Roland, every character we follow is killed at some point in one way or another. I pretty much suspected that going in and was prepared to be completely blahh’d over it. Thankfully, it didn’t happen to me and I was able to enjoy the story.

I was glad to hear the story about the Empire falling apart. If we’d just stuck with Stalker and the group on Avalon we wouldn’t know WHAT had happened and there would always be that little niggling hope that “maybe someone from Earth will save us”. Now, we know that isn’t the case.

I think this was closer to a 4star book in terms of enjoyment. However, there were quite a few grammar slash spelling errors. Most of them were misused words, not incorrectly spelled words. Irreverent was used when Irrelevant was meant. It happened at least 3 times (not that particular word but that particular issue) and just goes to show that you need to PAY someone to rip your book to shreds and point out everything wrong with it BEFORE you put it out there.

Wordsmithing is not something that has a “good enough” line. Taping up a Yard Sale sign crooked is good enough. But using the wrong word isn’t good enough. It is flat out wrong and shows a lack of familiarity with basic English. I felt like I was a beta reader and that just isn’t acceptable for a book that has been put out there, indie or not.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

No Worse Enemy (The Empire’s Corps #2) ★★★☆½

noworseenemy (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: No Worse Enemy
Series: The Empire’s Corps #2
Author: Christopher Nuttal
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 431
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Mandy is on a spaceship to get more training from the Rockrats when her craft is attacked by pirates. is captured and because of her space engineering knowledge, begins working on a spaceship for the leader of the pirates, The Admiral. She is put through her pirate paces and gains their loyalty but has secretly stolen a bunch of explosives that she then plants around the ship.

At the same time, The Admiral sends a ship to Avalon to take it over and the marines are able to take the ship over. They head out to other star systems and help free them and try to make some sort of entity that all the various planets in their systems can participate in. The beginnings of a political system other than the Empire.

The Admiral needs Avalon and its HE3 scoop for fuel, so he gathers his fleet and his mercenaries and attacks. The Marines and some others hold him off for a bit but things aren’t looking good until Mandy detonates her explosives and puts The Admiral out of commission.

The Admiral’s ship is to become the new head ship and Mandy is chosen to help run it. Captain Stalker must now act like the Empire is truly gone.

 

My Thoughts:

I bumped this up half a star from the previous one because of lack of sexual scenes (even though Mandy does have to sell herself to a pirate commander to stay alive) and because Nuttal drops scenes and ship names from a LOT of old and not so old Science Fiction. If you don’t recognize the stories you won’t miss out but knowing them showed that Nuttal has a good SF foundation as well. I find that important in an SF author.

Mandy is the main character this time around while Jasmine, now in charge of a troop of Marines, is the main viewpoint of the military side of things. It worked well and we’ll see if Nuttal uses them again or switches to yet another viewpoint for each future book.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Empire’s Corps (The Empire’s Corps #1) ★★★☆☆

theempirescorps (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Empire’s Corps
Series: The Empire’s Corps #1
Author: Christopher Nuttal
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 505
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Captain Stalker leads a disastrous rescue attempt on a slum on Earth and ends up with thousands of civilians dead. When he speaks “Truth to Power” (so help me my eyes almost rolled out of my head at the bloody cliched phrase) he and all 80+ of his marines are exiled to a planet on the rim of the Empire, Avalon. He is given a huge budget by the Marine Commander and very vague instructions.

The Empire is tottering and the rim planets will soon be on their own. Marine Commander hopes that Stalker and his marines can keep Avalon from falling into barbarity.

Once on the planet, Stalker is faced with the problems of an entrenched political/economic elite who want to keep thing the way they are even while that path is leading straight to revolution. Stalker deals with the bandits, then deals with the Opposition forces and the Council all in one fell swoop.

The book ends with a Space Navy ship dropping off a note telling Avalon that the Empire will be sending no more ships to them for the foreseeable future.

 

My Thoughts:

PG’s Rambling has been reviewing this series on and off even though he’s more of a spaceship kind of guy while I prefer the ground pounder action. And that is exactly what this book, and series I assume, is all about: Space Marines during the decline of a galactic empire.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first.

“Truth to Power”. For fracks sake, responsible people don’t use that hackneyed phrase, only people like the Occupy movement, ie, those with too much time on their hands and no drive to actually support themselves. Thankfully, it was only used 2-3 times but that was just 2-3 times too much. Nuttal also writes about homosexuality enough that I won’t be surprised if I end up dnf’ing this series in another book or two. Thankfully here it was not “PC homosexual character spewing modern liberal cant, CHECKMARK”. He also writes about brothel’s and prostitution and they are both legal in this book universe. One of the characters opines “It’s ok as long as they “want” to get into that business”. It never works that way and always ends up as a legal sex slave trafficking. I was more concerned about the attitude behind it than that it was included. There was also one sex scene that was used as a plot device, so I can’t accuse it of being completely gratuitous, but another one like it in any future books will push this out of bounds for me.

Now on to what I did like.

80 highly trained marines on a backwoods world. Nuttal makes as much hay with this as he can and I loved every second of it. They are like wolves going through a pack of puppies.The fighting was awesome and Nuttal doesn’t make the mistake of writing the bandits or Opposition as complete chowderheads. They are clever and when they have armaments equal to the Marines, a real threat. One thing I was kind of edgy about was how the bandits raped a lot and it was definitely used as a device to make them “Despicable”. It was never described in detail but I just found it bordering on the tasteless with how it was written.

The politics side of things felt a little too pat and easy but considering that Captain Stalker has had to deal with Earth Politics, whatever Avalon throws at him isn’t nearly at the same level. I do appreciate that Nuttal doesn’t try to make his badguy characters to be grey, ambiguous “oh, those poor misunderstood” type of badguys. They are bad, period. Thank goodness for that.

Nuttal is an indie, as far as I can tell, but besides the repeated misspelling of “deport” and its various forms, nothing stood out (depot and depoted were the main culprits). At 500 pages, I was expecting a lot more than that in all honesty. I enjoyed his writing style and his characters had enough depth so they were unique and not just the same character with a different name.

I do look forward to reading more in this series (there are 14 books and it appears that book 14 is the final book) and if it works out, I’ll probably be trying other series by the author.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)