Please note: this book is picture-approved by Emily the cat.
(No offense meant to Emily-humans. Emily is a good name).
Rating: Four Paws! (4/4)
This rating is based on four areas:
1. Her owner's lap was available for the entire book reading.
2. Her owner did not get up during the entire book reading.
3. Her owner was happy, so Emily approves.
4. Emily likes the cover (as pictured).
Tyrean's Review: 5/5 Stars!
Rating Based on 5 Areas:
From the first page to the last, I was hooked by Damien Larkin's premise, characters, plot, and world-building! I did not want to put the book down. Because I started reading it in the evening, I read into the night with my cat on my lap and tea by my side.
The entire book is thrilling, mind-bending, page-turning ride!
From the blurb: "Suffering the side effects of Compression travel, solider Darren Loughlin wakes up screaming from a gunshot wound that isn't there."
In this book, we are taken on a long, twisting journey into the memories and training of Darren Loughlin about his year-long tour of duty that isn't just a year, isn't what he signed up for, and isn't what it seems. As readers, we are fully immersed with Darren as he fights to get his memories back. Author Damien Larking immerses us as readers so seamlessly into the premise that it's nigh impossible to close the book.
While we are fully immersed into the MC's viewpoint, Darren is surrounded by fellow soldiers, scientists, officers, and colonists while we journey with him on Mars. Darren has a compelling character arc, including moments of heartbreak, moments of levity, and moments of fuller understanding and determination. He learns a great deal about perception and reality in Big Red. In addition to Darren, author Damien Larkin fills the book with fully realized secondary characters and as a reader I appreciate this because it adds to the plot and to the world-building.
As stated in the page-turner section, the plot drop-kicks the reader into the world, Darren's mind, and the premise all at once. There is no long preamble or slow introduction. We are with Darren in his confusion, his moments of clarity, and his long haul into understanding his mission and all that it entails from the first page. The plot gallops forward through training sessions, missions, and plot twists, not letting go until the very end. It's a satisfying, action-packed read!
If you like SF, you won't be disappointed. If you are not a big SF reader, the world-building leaves enough to your imagination that you won't feel dogged down by too much description. Larkin's book gives you just enough world-building through the eyes of his main character that you can be fully immersed in the story without pausing for long-information dumps. It's tightly knit world-building - the kind I highly appreciate. Every bit of world-building has a purpose and a place within the plot, character building, and the premise.
By the way, I did receive this book as an ARC from Dancing Lemur Press. I'm pretty sure they, and Damien, were hoping for an early review (you know, the Advanced Reader Copy kind), but I'm very slow - that's not a reflection on the book.
I read it back in December - the same evening after I opened the package!
I couldn't slow down enough to take notes on it as I read. I just was in a state of "wow" after I read it, then Christmas and other life events happened. So, I read it again before I wrote this and it's just as good on the second read!
If you would like to know more about the author, go to my last post - Damien did a guest post for me!
If you are looking for action-packed, mind-bending SF, read Big Red!
By Damien Larkin
We have always been here...
Traumatized by the effects of Compression travel, soldier Darren Loughlin holds the key to the fate of Earth's Martian colonies. With his Battalion decimated, his fractured memory holds the only clues to the colony-wide communications blackout.
With time running out, Darren pieces together his year-long tour of duty with the Mars Occupation Force. Stationed in the Nazi-founded New Berlin colony, ruled by the brutal MARSCORP, he recounts his part in the vicious, genocidal war against the hostile alien natives and all who question Terran supremacy.
But as his memories return, Darren suspects he is at the centre of a plot spanning forty years. He has one last mission to carry out. And his alien enemies may be more human than he is...
Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/big-red-damien-larkin/1129887528?ean=2940155877271Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/big-red-11 Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Big-Red-Damien-Larkin/dp/1939844606/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1542632970&sr=1-1&keywords=Big+Red+by+Damien+LarkinITunes - https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/big-red/id1442336848?mt=11