Man, this series is really getting complex. In a good way, though, in a good way. The last book showed that while the core of Grik battle tactics is still quantity over quality, they’re starting to evolve beyond simple Zerg Rush strategies. The Allies’ technology is advancing, but so are the Grik’s weapons. And as real-world wars have taught us, with new weapons come new tactics. This isn’t a super-big surprise for our human characters, but the natives of this alternate Earth have had little to no technological development for centuries.
But before we get back to the war, it’s time for the Wedding Episode! While the love story here doesn’t quite approach space opera levels, it’s still a nice thing to have. I’m a sucker for anything even approaching star-crossed lovers territory and seeing Matt and Sandra finally (formally) together is wonderful. But more importantly, the romance feels real. It’s not the contrived “perfect romance” you see in a lot of movies. Matt and Sandra are adults who realize their situation does not make this easy. Being in a strange new world, the war and both of them being reasonable adults are all factors here. But at the same time, they’ve still had that awkwardness of two people who are in love and nervous. Great to finally see some real payoff after 6 books of that.
Iron Gray Sea also gives us a bit more worldbuilding. Not a ton, because the focus is mainly on the war now, but it’s there. Namely, more details (or at least hints) on people from Earth getting transported to this world. I wouldn’t say any of those lingering questions are fully answered here, but we’re getting there. It’s probably something that’ll never be explained in full since it’s really just a plot element. But at the same time, it’s cool to see that the characters are still speculating about it. I can’t stand one-and-done “adventure of the week” style stories where past events are just never mentioned.
Anyway, the rest of Iron Gray Sea is pretty standard fare for the Destroyermen series. We got some naval battles, the army doing stuff, Silva being Silva…you know, the works. As with all war series, the war is getting more complex as the series goes on. Things kind of have to slow down as the page count gets split between different fronts and different characters. But that’s just how war series are. The series is still a fun B movie-esque romp and I look forward to seeing what comes next.