The varied science fiction book reviews for this book indicate to me that this is a book that succeeds most on its unusual concept – that of a man awakening without his memory and instead of being told of his situation by the medical staff, they send him off to find out the answers for himself. It’s different to the usual kind of sci fi thriller in that there’s a large measure of self-searching going on for the central character, which is probably one of the reasons why I like it so much. It does, however, of necessity slow the pace, and some aparently find it too slow. I didn’t. I guess it depends on what you’re looking for and what you find to be of value in a book. I like ideas, and this one contains interesting and even valuable ones.
Ikenberry takes the premise that a human race without warriors is a race doomed to die at the hands of whatever foes may come upon it. It’s a book that honours and upholds the necessity of a professional army, and not just one of drones who take orders without thinking, but of men and women capable of leading and adapting to changing circumstances.
The science in the fiction is questionable, in that I wonder just how possible it would ever be to take the mind of a dead man and put it into a body 300 years later. I don’t know whether the author didn’t explain it, or I just missed it somewhow, but I would have liked the world-building to have been clearer on this point. The central character also failed to ask the one obvious question when he woke up: How did I get here?
For this and a few too many sentences starting with íng’ ending participles, I’m giving it 4 stars, but the author should be applauded for undertaking such a tricky story and pulling it off. I don’t think it would have been easy to do.