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Ragnarok
by Patrick A. Vanner
Publisher: Baen Books

Captain Alexandra "Alex" McLaughlin is not a woman to be underestimated. Under her petite exterior is a spine of solid steel and a disposition to laugh in the face of impending death. A former member of the Terran Navy's elite force, the Dead Jokers, electronic-warfare pilots with a mortality rate to match that of old Japan's Kamikazes, Alex is a born survivor. But sometimes survival can be a curse.

Humanity is locked in a war of survival with the Xan-Sskarn, an alien race that refuses to acknowledge the rights of "weaker" creatures to live. It is a war that will not end with a peace treaty, but only the complete subjugation of one species to the other. And right now, the alien side is winning.

However, the enemy on the outside is not the only one to be faced. As the battles take on an eerily familiar pattern of no-win scenarios, Alex realized the horrifying truth; humanity has a traitor, and it's somebody close. As each battle brings more death, Alex's ghosts grow and so does her desire for vengeance. There is only one way for this to end, and Alex is just the human to take it there—to Ragnarok.

Published: 8/1/2010
SKU: 1439133840
Ebook Price: $6.99


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1. Runt on 8/4/2016, said:

Characters has no depth. Story jumped around.
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2. Sydney on 10/16/2013, said:

I will quote Harry R. here, they not once but twice set up rules and then break them. The character is paper thin, the admiral who acts just out of spite and costs lives. The Traitor for no purpose. This book is a mess that left me angry at almost all of the characters for being just flat out stupid.
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3. Chuck on 1/10/2012, said:

It was not up to Baen standards. Had to force myself to finish it.
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4. Melody on 12/5/2011, said:

Great action but shallow characters. As mentioned by other reviewers the traitor didn't make sense.

As an additional nitpick - Why did Alex have to smoke? Was this the author's way of making her "one of the boys". After 10 rounds of 50/50 missions as a Loki pilot she shouldn't need to smoke to fit in.
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5. James on 10/26/2011, said:

I'm getting pretty tired of a few things, but only a few. GOOD new tech ideas, BAD excution of them. I totally GET the 'women can serve in combat' but does every single one of them have to be some kind of mutant bio-enhanced killing machine? Some of the military stuff doesn't ring true, having someone who WAS navy or special forces to consult with could have changed this book for the better. But in all it was good enough space opera to want to read the follow-on. I think the whole "earth forces are wiped out" scenario could have been done quicker with less ambiguity and loose ends. Argh, such promise, and this guy's editor totally let him down.
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6. Thomas on 9/13/2011, said:

Weber, Ringo, Kratman, etc... Yes, this is very similar, but Thank Goodness that Vanner has gotten back to where these others began. All my favorite authors drifted off into political science, who cares about imaginary politics on imaginary planets! I'm reading to get away from politics! We want ACTION!! Cowboys and Indians in Space with cool Toys! Heros! Hack and Slay! No doubt about who's the Good Guys and who's the Bad Guys! Thank You Patrick Vanner!
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7. Steven on 8/28/2011, said:

This reads like fan-fiction with the serial numbers filed off. Unfortunately, the "serial numbers" are probably what would have made it interesting. The whole Norse pantheon naming structure was interesting, but totally unexplained. Why are they using that for their military craft and station names? It's not like it's a huge part of our culture now. And as mention by everyone, the traitor makes no sense. I kept waiting for the word "frak" to show up.
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8. Harry R. on 11/7/2010, said:

From the teaser, I hoping for a "Wild Weasels in Space" but instead a I got a military soap opera, and not a very good one.
First, the author's internal rules are not consistent. Initially he established that jumping into the system would scatter or destroy the ships jumping too far in. Then he changed the rules to allow the villains to wipe out the Earth Fleet by jumping in among the Earth Fleet with remarkable precision.
Twice.
Second, he created a traitor who has no real motivation to be a traitor. There is no ideological reason for the betrayal, and no chance the traitor will ever profit from his (her) treason.
It gets worse, but you have to read it yourself.
Some of the editing was poor, too, but that isn't the writer's fault.
Its pretty obvious the writer was creating his own version of a certain show on the Science Fiction channel. I will say one thing for it - it WAS better than the show.

Yeah, so I panned it. The plus side, which got it up to two stars was the writer DOES HAVE POTENTIAL. It could get better. I will definitely look at the next one, but, I will read sample chapters first, instead of "hoping" for a specific type of product.
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9. Christopher on 9/22/2010, said:

The ePub editing wasn't great. Section breaks were MISSING. Very confusing to have two characters talking and then you realize that half of the conversation actually belongs to two different characters!

As for the writing....I was pretty happy with it. Dealing with the 'traitor' though is very very poor. A couple of vague mentions of the evil traitor and then a couple of paragraphs where the person is ranting to themselves.

The way the recalcitrant admiral is dealt with is a little thin. If this is an offshoot of the US Navy, I'm VERY surprised that there were not regulations already dealing with what he did/did not do. Surely the endangerment of personnel under his command is a regulation that should have already been in place.

Those two sticking points aside, the rest of the book was quite exciting in my opinion. I like the mix of detailed ground, space, and fighter combat.

I am very eagerly awaiting the next adventure of Capt. McLaughlin.
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10. gene on 9/6/2010, said:

2.5 stars.
this is a pretty bad book. the story makes no sense at all. The back cover states that the Earth forces are betrayed but once that part of story is mentioned, there is absolutely no reason for the human to be helping the aliens. there is not even a way for the aliens to know who helped them. Not even an insane person would do as was done, as atleast insane actions seem logical at least to them. Here not even insanity is an excuse. Also how did they even manage to do it in the first place- how did it avoid discovery.
How did the aliens do what was supposed to be impossible- like jump inside the hyperlimits without consequence?
The entire book is about action and battles about involving characters i could care less about. The amount of clique is staggering, like the civilian who wants to make a complaint that her life was saved too rudely or the captain that always haunted by her demons but hangs tough.
This entire book should have been glossed over in a prelude chapter as the story obviously only was ment to start in the last chapter- Great!
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