Review: “Attack Planet” by Mars Dorian

5119R98p0nL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Attack Planet by Mars Dorian. 352 pages.

Indie publishing is all about networking, or so I am told. I am active here, on Twitter and on Goodreads. And as I mentioned in an earlier blog, it doesn’t hurt to be nice to a fellow indie author once in a while.

So when Mars Dorian contacted me on Goodreads and asked for a review, I said yes, especially since his book was categorized as military sci-fi. There’s some good stuff out there in that category, and some really bad stuff. I wasn’t sure where this one would fall.

I was pleasantly surprised. Attack Planet is the story of Flint, a backwoods boy in an area called The Meadows, whose mother is severely injured in an attack by “scravengers.” She needs immediate organ replacement to live, but the family can’t pay for it. So Flint goes to town and signs up for the military/mercenary corporation called BEAM.

The story follows his entry into BEAM and ends at his conclusion of training. It’s an uphill battle (which is an element I always like), and sometimes you aren’t sure he will make it. Flint doesn’t seem to have a lot of smarts, and messes up often, even when those around him seem to surpass him. But just like Forrest Gump, he seems to have goodheartedness and luck on his side.

One of the things I liked most about the story was also something that needed some improvement. Dorian has created a universe where everything has a price, and in some cases determines if you live or die. Everything is a commodity, which is emphasized with the (trademark) TM insignia following every brand name. As part of this universe, he also created vocabulary that is unique to this experience. Where it needs help is that the voice of Flint, unique, fun and very readable, continues on–at least for the first part of the book–to everyone else as well.

In addition, like a lot of indie books, it could benefit from some editing and proofreading, but it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t read it.

That brings me to the second issue, which is where I feel the book is most lacking. It’s a great premise and lots of fun, but I found myself wanting more characterization. Flint and his fellows were two-dimensional to me. Flint has a great backstory, and you understand why he does what he does. But he and the characters around him aren’t solid enough for the reader to really care about them.

Like I said, it’s a great premise, excellently executed. Good voice, action and humor. But I wanted more humanity.

I give it four out of five stars.