Warship is classic military sci-fi action, and if that’s your thing then this is your book. It’s a simple but satisfying scenario: humans are unprepared when an alien menace attacks, and one down-on-his-luck captain with an aging ship and a ragtag crew are all that stand between the planet-destroying incursion and the soft underbelly of humanity’s inner systems.
I think by now you know perfectly well if you’re going to like this book or not.
This has all been pretty generic, of course, because I don’t want to give away spoilers. Even when the template is a familiar one, sometimes the ride is still worth taking, like how a movie can be a by-the-numbers revenge film and–if it’s done deftly enough–still satisfy. Same applies here.
It’s candy. Sweet, delicious candy.
But if you eat too much of it, it will make you sick. I got through this one in two days and then immediately went through the sequel Call to Arms in the next two days, and while I do want to go on to book 3… not yet. It would be too much.
There are several details that held the book back in my view. First, the bad guys are a little too generic. They are basically just the Zerg from StarCraft. Second, the plot is a little too by the numbers. There were a couple of places where things could have been made much more interesting, but those opportunities were all ignored. This is especially true of the ending, which was way too formulaic when it had a chance to really do something different. Finally, the moral universe is also a little too absolute. For example, the captain never once reconsiders his decision to shoot first (without attempting any kind of first contact). And, while it made sense in the moment, the fact that it never becomes a question for serious debate later on is a major flaw. The only people who criticize him are the Bad Guys, and that black-and-white moralizing feels too much like just that: moralizing.
Ultimately, this was a really, really fun ride but it was also an underachiever. Bubble gum instead of something that could have kept all the action and adventure and added a little bit of thoughtfulness or novelty.