Brilliance Audio. (Androne, Bk. 1). Sept. 2023. 11:45 hrs. ISBN 9798400132315. $42.99. SF
Sergeant Paxton Arés originally left the military after an attack that vaporized all military installations on Earth; the identity of its perpetrator is highly classified and unknown to most. Now, seeking to provide for his grandfather and pregnant girlfriend, Paxton is joining up again as a remote android drone pilot, and he’s mostly content to patrol the empty desert from behind a screen. But he soon spots people in that desert—people who don’t look like anyone he’s seen before. And Paxton he starts to rise in the ranks, the stories he’s being told don’t make sense. Who are they fighting, and why? Worrell’s debut, the first in a duology, marries military sci-fi, spycraft, and grounded realism to examine the meaning of modern warfare. Mundanities like office duty and sleep-deprivation keep Paxton off-kilter, and while there are some mecha action scenes, the novel’s most exciting points come when investigating the secrets of the base. Narrator Gary Tiedemann’s long experience comes through with unique voices and cadences for each character.
VERDICT Jarhead meets All You Need Is Kill in a refreshing look at near-future warfare. A superb recommendation for military sci-fi fans.
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