Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
Going out with a whimper
on 28 September 2014
This is, in my opinion the weakest of this series, which is sad because you always hope for a strong finish.
Predictably, dodgy grammar and incorrect transposition of words remains a major problem, though not quite so bad as in 'The Heart of Matter', which remains the low point for editorial quality in this series.
As has been mentioned in other reviews, there is a whole chunk of 25-30% of this book that is entirely irrelevant to the main story, this is the section that the story starts with, set on earth during the alien invasion. It is far too long and seems solely designed to convince us that Eric Weston is not only the most brilliant ship captain since Drake and Nelson combined, but also the best ground commander ever. It is too long, repetitive and badly plotted.
Sadly, in a huge change in scope from the previous books which dealt in months and years, Out of the Black spends 90% of its time dealing with a single month and restricts itself almost exclusively to Earth and its solar system, in excruciating, repetitive detail. Hardly the deep space opera we have grown used to. The story flip flops repeatedly between who has the upper hand so many times that you just want it to be over. It feels as though Currie ran out of ideas and decided to drag out one chapter to fill an entire book.
Characters other than our glorious hero continue to make stupid decisions either to create plot points or it seems in an attempt to demonstrate how magnificent Weston is by comparison. Sadly it just breaks immersion and makes the story even more disjointed. This is most apparent when someone other than Weston is in charge and inexplicably forgets all about their most powerful weapon until it is almost too late. A slew of new supporting characters are introduced, and forgotten almost as quickly, begging the question, why bother?
This series is pure pulp sci-fi, easy reading, so the tedious drawn out ground war is doubly damning as it brings the entire story to a shuddering halt while adding nothing substantive in return. It goes from a story that move fast enough that you can generally ignore many of its flaws as it is quickly moving on to something new, to a story that seems content to wallow in a dead end. This story does not remotely flow, but rather leaves you feeling as though you slogged through an entire invasion yourself to reach the end.