Pros: Interesting characters; great space battles
Cons: The aliens seem stereotypical so far
Rating: 4 out of 5
David Bruns’s Invincible: The First Swarm War Book One is an engrossing read. XO Addison Halsey, of the ISS Invincible, thinks something is wrong with Captain Baltasar. Suddenly he isn’t acting like himself, and a handful of alien ships have just come knocking on our doorstep. So far they haven’t communicated at all, but they have certainly blown things up! When Baltasar has Addison removed from her position, she escapes with an old friend on his pirate ship and manages to warn Earth’s fleet. That warning might not help much, though, unless she can retake her ship!
In my opinion, the best part of this story was the space battle strategies. The various sides had varying issues and strengths with regard to their ships and battle strategies, and it was interesting to watch the characters come up with ways to take advantage of this. The battles were tense and had real stakes. There’s everything from multiple-ship combat to fighter combat to deck-to-deck boarding combat. All of it is creative and evocative.
The aliens are, so far, rather one-dimensional. Mostly they’re the standard mysterious, silent, faceless, deadly aliens. Only later on, when we come into contact with Baltasar again, do we get any sense of culture or personality. To be fair, it looks like they’ll improve (this book is a stand-alone prequel to a set of books I haven’t read, Nick Webb’s Legacy Fleet–I picked this book up in a StoryBundle) judging by some of the last bits in the book.
Some of the side characters are a bit flimsy; others are fine. It’s a bit of a mix where depth is concerned. Most of the politicians are awfully stereotypical.
All in all this is a really good read. Maybe I’ll have to look into the rest of the series this is a prequel to…