My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have a hard time rating this book because it started strongly, but after a few introductory chapters, it falls into a giant flashback that takes up about 80% of the book, much of it anticipated by the first chapters. Nonetheless, the book moves along and is engaging and then the end comes — and it’s not what I expected. Or rather, it was what I expected, but I was shocked Perry used this ending. If I tell what happens, I’ll give away the story, so I won’t do that, but I was somewhat disappointed with the ending, and that brings my ranking down from five to four stars.
Emile Khadaji is a military deserter who split during a gigantic massacre of unarmed rebels. The Confed is the government responsible for this, and he ultimately decides the Confed must go down. In the meantime, he finds a mentor who schools him in quasi-Eastern fighting monk methods and mentalities, goes to another planet to become a bartender — while meeting a hot exotic chick and having hot, graphic sex — and then goes to another planet to educate himself. This takes place over a period of years, so there’s some potential for boredom in this phase of the book. Finally, he comes to the place where he decides he must make a move against the Confed, but needs funds to start his actions, so he becomes a smuggler in order to become rich (if only it were so easy) so he can fund his own personal war. He winds up on a planet with a special non-lethal weapon which he masters over the course of a year of training, and starts taking out soldiers. By the thousands. All the while, the Confed thinks they have a guerrilla army they’re fighting — but it’s just Khadaji.
As I said, I’m not going to give away the ending, but I did think there were alternatives available to Khadaji and I didn’t understand why he did what he ended up doing. It simply seemed senseless to me. This book is apparently the first one in a trilogy, so I would be interested in reading the others, but cautiously so. Mildly recommended.