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Warstrider is an interesting twist on the alien invasion theme. Ian Douglas creates a much more realistic scenario about how strange aliens might be. So alien in fact, that we can’t communicate with them, have no idea why they’re attacking us, or what we can do to stop them. It is a horror story idea and one that sounds far more plausible than giant insects.
The alien invaders are called Xenophobes (I know, “fear of strangers,” but that’s what Douglas chose to call them) and they have wiped out several human worlds and are attacking more. The Xenos (as they are also called) have never been seen, but they are able to send out billions of nanobot warriors who disassemble anything in their path, they can also take over machines and turn them against the humans. Zombie robots and liquefied humans, what’s not to like?
Dev Cameron is a space ship pilot who decides to join the military to increase his wealth and prestige; leaving behind a son and wife with barely a glance – nice. He ends up getting pushed further and further down the military ladder until he ends up a foot soldier, or “crunchy,” with a serious downgrade in his expected life-span. Luck and brainpower help him slowly climb back up to become a Warstrider pilot. A warstrider is a gigantic transformer-like machine that is controlled by the operator’s mind. It has some serious fire power, defenses and sounds like a heck of a lot of fun to operate.
The plot is simple enough, destroy the Xenos before they destroy us. The humans might keep them at bay for a while, but the war seems to be endless. And worst of all, what if the invaders make it to Earth? Dev is a Job-like character (as in the Bible), thrown around by the powers above him. He seems rarely able to make his own luck, but has luck none-the-less, along with a lot of disappointment. It makes him quite human and likable (we’re supposed to forget the wife and son by now).
Narration is by David Drummond who does an excellent job. He has a distinctive and articulate voice that made the story enjoyable for this listener. The production quality is excellent, no complaints. He reads the story well without getting in the way.
If you are looking for some good Sci-Fi soldier action with an intelligent take on alien species, there is a lot to like about Warstrider. It does start a little slow, but give it a chance and you won’t be disappointed.
Audiobook provided for review by the publisher.