Review: “When the Devil Dances” by John Ringo

When The Devil Dances (Posleen War Series #3) by John Ringo. Baen Books. 704 pages.

This book continues the military sci-fi series I started a couple of months ago, which overall has been excellent. There are twelve books in the series, but I have read in reviews that only the first four books are good. And as I look forward to future volumes, I can see why. After book #4, John Ringo has handed off the series to other authors to complete, and the characters and the formula that has been successful up to that point are abandoned to explore tangential stories.

When the Devil Dances starts off five years after Earth’s invasion by the Posleen, an event that had been predicted by the alien federation that came to earth five years before that and asked for help. Even though individual battles have been won by the humans, the numbers and the technology are against Earth, and by the time Devil Dances comes along, Earth’s defenses are down to only a fraction of what they were. In North America, U.S. forces are holding the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians from Canada all the way to Georgia.

The book focuses on two fronts: the area around Rochester, New York and toward the end in northern Georgia and southwestern North Carolina. The book runs into the same problems the first two books had: it tries to get too technical with information, and tries to tell too many stories at the same time. But while the other two books got caught up in action that made the technobabble forgivable, this one doesn’t seem to have that saving grace. The solution here is nuclear weapons. And even in this case, most of the action with nuclear weapons is missed and not discussed.

In addition, I have a hard time with books that see women as all gorgeous and horny. In this case, it even brings in a 13-year old girl, viewing her by another character who says that she “must be at least 17 or 18,” and she is attracted to an older Marine, stating that “he’s kind of cute, in a teddy bear kind of way.” And of course, all of these women are excellent fighters as well.

Most series tend to lose some of their quality as time goes on, and as good as this series is, I’m sad to say this is the case here. Books one and two were excellent, book three was good, but only so. I will probably read book four, but I don’t plan on going any further in the series.

I give it three out of five stars.