Review: “Hoplite” by Isaac Hooke


51qkdfegnilHoplite (Alien War Trilogy Book 1) by Isaac Hooke. 254 pages.

I’ve been a good boy, read some heavier books lately, so I decided to treat myself to some military sci-fi. It’s usually divided between the navy fleet battle stories and the infantry ground pounders. Hoplite is pretty typical of what you will find in the latter, with the feature of mech gismos thrown in. Here’s the description from Amazon:

Rade Galaal and his elite team are dispatched to the farthest reaches of known space to investigate the disappearance of a classified new supercarrier.
Equipped with Hoplites, powerful battle suits laden with enough firepower to raze a small city, Rade and his team explore the barren world where the starship issued its final transmission. But shortly after they land, things start to go very wrong.
Cut off from the fleet, stranded on an unforgiving planet, and surrounded by hostiles, Rade and his men find themselves fighting for their very lives against a seemingly unstoppable foe. Even the awesome firepower of the Hoplites might not be enough.
Can Rade overcome his demons in time to save the platoon, or will his team become the first casualty of the coming Alien War?

I would agree that the book is in the spirit of Starship Troopers, Armor and Old Man’s War. I just don’t agree it was presented as well as the other books were. There was plenty of action–maybe too much action, if that’s possible–and the author seemed to know his way around the technology. The biggest issue I found with Hoplite was that the characters were cardboard cutouts. I didn’t find myself caring about them at all. The team was a futuristic version of Navy Seals, and one would expect a degree of machismo to exist in such a setting. But the testosterone flows deep and wide and this story, and woe be to anyone who shows any weakness in this kind of situation. I am sure that there are many who read this kind of book who will love it, simply because it provides so much action and little else, but I need to care what happens to the characters. Sorry.

I give it three out of five stars.

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