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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 16 February 2016
A very poorly written book, without description of any kind (I gave up at half way without a clue as to the appearance of the four main characters, or the places they visited). As well as failing to offer a picture of universe the book is set in, the action, the story itself, is scantily presented, and jumps from scene to scene without explanation, leaving me feeling like I'm supposed to know something the author feels I need not be told about.

Don't waste your money on this book: buy some Iain M Banks instead – it's what Sarah Newton appears to be trying for, and Banks does it so very much better.
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on 13 August 2012
This a short review for an excellent book. It's hi tech, fast paced,and well written. Unlike much Kindle only sci fi from unknown authors you really feel you are in a different far future setting, rather than "21st century with spaceships". If you like hi tech sci fi, and you only buy one book this year, then buy this one. You will not be disappointed.
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Centuries have passed since a huge galactic diaspora that scattered the human race across the far flung reaches of the universe. In fact, so much time has passed that when the descendants of these civilizations begin to reconnect with one another they have diverged quite considerably. The plot of Mindjammer uses this as a jumping off point to explore the problems that arise when conflicting ideals/philosophies meet their polar opposite.

The four members of the SCI Force team are a veritable who's who of sci-fi action hero archetypes. Their leader. Dr. Thaddeus Clay, is intelligent, just a little enigmatic, driven and curious. Jackson Stark is a highly disciplined killing machine damaged by the mysteries in his murky past. Max Proffitt (I do love these names) is a combat pilot/loudmouth and finally Lyra Da Luz, the team's resident tech wizard. I immediately warmed to them all, their characters were pitched just right. I have to confess a bit of soft spot for Max in particular, always fun to have a bolshie, roguish type along for the ride. Can't go wrong with a lead character that is all about the attitude and doing things his own way. Especially if his own way tends to invariably be wrong and cause more trouble than anything else.

There are some blistering action set pieces in this novel. At various points throughout the narrative the members of SCI Force find themselves in the midst of epic planet-spanning battles as well as violent encounters in the depths of space. When it comes to galactic power struggles this is exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for. I want an awe-inducing sense of scale, I want explosions so large they make my head spin, I want to be wowed. I'm glad to say that Mindjammer certainly delivers when it comes to spectacle. Put it this way, entire cities, and in certain cases planets, get absolutely trashed.

I don't read a huge amount of science-fiction and being casual reader of the genre leads me to my only real criticism. Some of the exposition was quite technical and a bit too in-depth for my personal taste. I have to admit that certain terminology was lost on me. That said I'm sure a more seasoned sci-fi fan would likely have no trouble with this at all.

That relatively minor quibble aside, I had a lot of fun with this novel. The settings are all suitably exotic, and the group dynamic between the various team members keeps things moving alone at a good pace. Newton excels when it comes to capturing the frenetic chaos of warfare. Acting as a nice counterpoint to this, the SCI Force investigation into the corruption in the Solenine Cluster adds some extra depth to the plot. Mindjammer reads like a solid introduction into something much larger. There is a suggestion towards the novel's end that there are more tales of SCI Force still to tell. I certainly wouldn't be averse to reading more adventures set in this particular universe.
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on 24 October 2015
One of the best books I've read in a long time! I'm not sure about other reviewers think, and while I did encounter a few places or bumps in the road (like in all books) where I had to re-read something and it still didn't always make sense, nothing stopped me from finally going from about one third of the book to the end in two nights while on vacation! To be honest, it left me wanting to read more!! If I had to knock off a star it would be because there aren't enough!! :) I did feel that the book mirrored the game a lot and you could almost see the FATE core rules coming out. In a way, that unnerved me a little, and I'm not sure why. But I do feel I can better play the game now. My hat definitely goes off to Sarah and the brilliant story and plot and again, as soon as you write another book in the genre, I'll have it ordered!
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on 9 August 2012
I wrote this review for my website gmsmagazine.com

Mindjammer is Sci-Fi like you're not likely to find anywhere else. It is based in a future some 15.000 years ahead of us where planets have been colonised by ships that travel slower than the speed of light. Thus reaching far planets can take hundreds of years. Some of the vessels are still in transit, some have got lost. The ones that have reached their destinations have been unlinked from Earth sometimes for centuries and have evolved their own technologies and societies and, in some instances, become very detached from their own humanity.

Of course all of that changed some 200 years ago when faster than light travel was discovered and spaceships can travel through 2-Space and cover in weeks what until then took years and even decades. Colonies are being rediscovered and adjoined to the Commonality, the benevolent dictatorship originating from Earth dedicated to reunite the lost and long separated colonies and civilisations that have evolved.

You think the Internet is advanced? Well, imagine an Internet that can host the thoughts and memories of everyone. At an intergalactic level. Now imagine that those memories can be implanted onto pretty much anything to create thinking items with personalities. From guns to spaceships and avatars. Including ships in charge of transporting copies of the whole collection of thoughts stored to date, the Mindjammers.

So you get an item that may sound and even look like a full human being, but it certainly is not, and if it forgets it's just a reflection of a person who was once alive, then we get into trouble.

Enter the Sci-Force. Here to protect, serve and trouble-shoot situations all over the place. And that's exactly what the stars of the novel have to do. Before they realise, our intrepid space farers are facing an enemy like they've never encountered before and that will challenge every single belief they've held dear for all their lives. And is a tough as old boots too!

So, without going any more into the plot of the novel, is this good? No. It's not just good. It's some of the best.

Yes, you could argue that Sci-Fi is not my strong point and you'd be right. So why am I so confident? Because Sarah has managed to create an universe that makes sense while being so far removed from us that it's barely recognisable, and yet is familiar. Let me explain.

If you look at the "standard" Sci-Fi literature or movies, they're pretty much us, our society, with advanced technology, but with our morals, our ethics and our dilemmas. Very little else.

Mindjammer is very, very far from that. The ethics are totally different, the morals removed from ours, and yet totally believable. The technology is almost magic-feeling, and so it should be. And yet there is enough of us, of our current selves, that it is easy to relate and empathise with societies, governments, politics and characters.

Don't get me wrong, not everything is perfect in this book. Sometimes the amount of information is such that it becomes overwhelming and it's only when you've read a few more pages that things fall into place and the situation makes sense.

And that is the word to keep in mind. Situation.

This novel is not about the characters that feature in the plot. This novel is about a situation that has to be dealt with. At the same time, the book also has to introduce you to a new universe, a new way of thinking and a new type of heroes. And villains. Again all of it far enough from us to feel new and futuristic, and close enough to feel familiar.

It took me just over a week to read the over 400 pages of this book. I am dyslexic. Reading that amount in that time only means the book is very, very accessible and well written. Newton hasn't held back in her use of the vernacular, though. Her vocabulary is spot on and hardly ever uses a word that is not in the right place. Be ready to consult a dictionary sometimes too.

to summarise, I will say that this book has got me into Sci-Fi. At least it's got me into Mindjammer. I very much look forward to the second edition of the game and to many more novels to come.

If Mass Effect was the video game that made me fall in love with Sci-Fi in videogames, this is the book that has made me fall in love with Sci-Fi in RPGs and Fantasy now has a big contender.

Well deserved 5 stars for Sarah Newton and Mindjammer.
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on 5 March 2015
There is certainly some interesting ideas but for me the book has a need to better set the 'world rules' and also then explore the ideas.

Instead it seems to uncomfortably sit between space opera and a look at what it is to be human with out really presenting either as well as it could.

It is also far far to long and could be half the length and not lose anything
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on 20 April 2013
This book will probably appeal primarily to those who've done some SF role-playing, as its origins, in a game, show clearly in the way the book is structured and the plot revealed. However, the background and basic story are original and well-considered, with some thought-provoking questions raised - plus, it's a lot of fun.
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on 28 November 2012
My main complaint is that this is a never-ending battle story with little light relief and weak characterisation. The escapes from tight corners often seem to involve an invention or capability that the reader cannot really be expected to be aware of. I'm nearly 85% of the way through now and the battles continue!
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