Firestorm (Destroyermen #6)

Firestorm Book Cover Firestorm
Taylor Anderson
Ace Books
October 4, 2011

Lieutenant Commander Matthew Reddy and the crew of the USS Walker find themselves caught between the nation they swore to defend and the allies they promised to protect. For even as the Allies and the Empire of New Britain Isles stand united against the attacks of both the savage Grik and the tenacious Japanese, the "Holy Dominion"-a warped mixture of human cultures whose lust for power overshadows even the Grik-is threatening to destroy them both with a devastating weapon neither can withstand.


And now we’re on to the next inevitable phase of any war series, fighting on multiple fronts. The Grik are still out there but the Dominion have proven themselves to also be a threat. Despite that, we really don’t get a lot of the Dominion’s POV just yet. That’s still focused mainly on the Alliance and occasionally the Grik. One of the big things in Firestorm is the escalation of war. We start to see each side building bigger, stronger, and more devastating weapons. Everyone is getting better at fighting from experience as the infusion of new technology rapidly grows the war machine on both sides.

Things are also getting more and more split up at this point, with the POV still jumping between characters. I expect it to stay that way for the rest of this series, or at least until the war wraps up on one front. That being said, a lot of Firestorm is dedicated to build-up. As opposed to another giant battle here, we more see the work going towards the next one. This also leaves lots of time for worldbuilding, which is always nice. Worldbuilding has really slowed down to make way for the war so it’s great to see Anderson’s world explored again.

Part of me wants to say Firestorm has lots of “twists and turns”, but there aren’t really any twists. It’s just the turns. A lot happens with the story jumping around to resolve existing plotlines and get new ones going. If you’re familiar with war stories, it’s all fairly predictable. Especially war stories where new weapons are constantly introduced, which seems more common in sci-fi settings. But I don’t think anyone is reading Destroyermen expecting Herbert-level quality, so it continues to be the same campy fun.

Now, one thing I do have to complain about is the Spoiler Cover. Look, I know that this is somewhat passable for well-known pop culture references. No one complains that the cover for Free Willy shows him jumping over the rocks. But while Destroyermen is a lot of good things, well-known to the general public is not one of them. The zeppelins on the cover are supposed to be a big twist at the end of the book. They’re the purported Grik super-weapon that the book builds up to in a “surprise!” moment. But they’re just right there on the front cover. So, not so much a surprise.

That one major complaint non-withstanding, Firestorm is another good entry in a fun sci-fi alternate history series. Looking forward to the next one.

March 21, 2021

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