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DanSchwent

Dantastic Book Reviews

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Armor - John Steakley An armored scout named Felix is dropped on the planet Banshee, a hostile alien world teeming with Ants. When Felix's team is wiped out on their first mission, only The Engine, his second personality, saves him. Can Felix (and the Engine) survive the war against the Ants? And does he want to...?

I read about Armor on John Scalzi's blog and decided to give it a shot. At first glance, Steakley took the parts of Starship Troopers he liked the most, power armor and aliens that resemble insects, and expanded it into a novel, but Armor is so much more than that.

Armor is the story about what war does to a person's psyche. Felix deals with war by retreating and letting The Engine take control, becoming a veteran and survivor of twenty combat drops. Felix is used to show the absurdity of war. As he becomes a veteran, the people around him, including the ones giving the orders, grow less and less experienced. The contrast between Kent and Felix was well done; one the public face of the war against the Ants and the other the one doing the actual dirty work.

Armor has two distinct plot lines; one featuring Felix and the other featuring a space pirate named Jack Crow, who finds Felix's armor years after the events of Felix's storyline. Felix's story is told in the third person while Crow's is told in the first. I'll be honest, Crow really slowed things down for me and gave me second thoughts about the entire book. At first anyway. Then he found Felix's armor. I loved the way Crow and the others pieced together Felix's fate as the colony slowly collapsed.

The Ants were great enemies in a survival horror type of way. Ten foot tall ant-like aliens are something to be feared, especially when they attack en mass.

I will not give away the ending except to say that it was awesome.

For fans of military sf like Starship Troopers and Old Man's War should give Armor a try. You won't be disappointed.