Jean Johnson, A Soldier’s Duty (2011)


I tried to like it. I wanted to. I even feel sorry I wasn’t able to.

It got to my “to read” pile after author’s sfsignal appearance (long ago, but it’s a huge pile) and I had high expectations. It was clear that she did her research, the premise was interesting and there was genuine enthusiasm in the way she spoke about her project.

The book itself, however… It felt like a very Mary-sueish Powerful!Harry fanfic. With all the problems of that genre. Main character was ridiculously overpowered from the get go, not only with her precognition (although it, by itself, seemed to make her omnipotent), but her physical strength, electricity-resistance (!)… and the list goes on… when I read that she even sings so beautifully, that her drill sergeant wondered why she joined the Marines instead of going pro… geez. And all this during pretty generic boot camp part, weak echo of its predecessors in Heinlein’s, Haldeman’s or Scalzi’s classics. Not to mention how preachy Ia was every time she got a chance to make a speech (ok, I’ll mention it – very preachy).

I liked some of the alien races, some of the battle scenes, the way protagonist used a religious order in her schemes and I really think something interesting could have been built around the main idea. Many elements were nice, even if most of them were borrowed – but that would be justified if they were used to create something new and exciting. New – to a degree. Exciting – not for me.

[short review published previously on Goodreads]

Score: 2,5/10

7 thoughts on “Jean Johnson, A Soldier’s Duty (2011)

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    1. piotrek

      Oh, you looked deep into our archives, thanks 🙂 Well, it was a very disappointing reading, so I took this chance to have some sweet revenge for time wasted 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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