A friend lent me this 2-novel volume, and around page 110 I was ready to give up - but it's necessary scene-setting and character introduction. A few pages later, it took off and was terrific from there on. The main characters are a multi-species military force, and they all behave like *people* - meaning jokes, back-biting, rule-bending, task-avoidance, sexual badinage, honour and courage. The characters act and sound like what they are supposed to be, and there's a lot of humour wrapped around the fighting, interspecies sex problems and so forth. As I re-read favourite books, I recently bought my own copy and enjoyed it just as much on second reading.
The second novel in the same binding is a follow-on, with several common characters and a totally different problem. That's one of the nice things about this series: the characters are marines doing marine tasks, but the plots are all different - no re-treads here.