Don’t let the cover of this book fool you. That picture of a Space Marine looks pretty good, but looks can be deceiving. I don’t think that is Jack Forge because he’s never been that tough looking and probably never will be. Oh, Jack is smart enough and that gets him out of some scrapes, but he certainly isn’t tough enough to be a real Space Marine.
He and his squad have lived through an attack on their training base which unfortunately cut short their extremely short training period. They did lose a lot of recruits who ran when the Chitin attacked the base, but those are better gone anyway. Jack didn’t run, but he did find a way to go build a drone and held save most of his squad. Still, he’s not very inspiring in the way he acts around his squad mates especially Squad Leader Torrent.
Now Jack and his squad are onboard the Scropio, an Earth Defense Forces destroyer. Due to the lack of human manpower, most ships of the fleet are in very poor condition. The Scropio isn’t any better, in fact, she could be worse off than most. Still, it is space-worthy so it is assigned a mission to deliver a battalion of Space Marines to a moon close to the home planet of the Chitin. They are to find out if the moon is vacant so an observation post can be established. It’s supposed to be vacant so there shouldn’t be any heavy fighting required. Of course, whatever is “supposed to be”, is never the real deal.
Jack and his squad are put under the leadership of a Commander Finch who is a poor excuse for an officer in any branch. How he got promoted to his current rank is a mystery and much have been because there was no one else alive to take his billet. He leads from the back and prefers to lead from the comfort of the destroyer. So when the Captain of the destroyer tells, Commander Finch that he will lead the away team, Finch almost has a heart attack. Why in the world would a Navy Captain tell a Navy Commander to lead a tactical recon with Space Marines? Something doesn’t make sense here. I’m not sure how much knowledge the author has about the military, but I’m beginning to suspect he has very little. Naval personnel might accompany a Marine Squad on recon, but only if there was a specific reason for their expertise.
So, this story is about Jack Forge and his squad checking out a supposedly empty moon. He has an incompetent leader and a not much better Squad Leader to lead a bunch of ill qualified and unprepared recruits who did not finish basic training. They survived a Chitin attack on their training base and since they survived, they were declared Space Marines. Not very smart. You can already tell this mission isn’t going to go well.
The story is interesting. Jack does develop a “love” interesting after meeting a Naval maintenance technician. She even manages to get thrown out of the destroyer and lands right where Jack is lying in the sand. How convenient! The problem is she looks like a Chitin and almost get killed. Now go figure that one out.
I don’t know if I’ll be reading any more of this series. Jack Forge is just too much of a wimp. He still won’t stand up to anyone, even a lunatic Commander who has definitely gone bonkers during a mission. He doesn’t take action when he needs to and prefers to talk his way out of situation rather than do what a normal Marine would do. Oh, Jack’s not a coward, but he certainly isn’t my idea of a Space Marine. Hope you like the book.