viernes, 7 de febrero de 2020

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

(I know there could be some mistakes in this review. I’m trying to improve my English, thanks)

This story has been told a lot of times. Usually there are two aspects in war stories. The good war, that is, just for the fun (fun for the reader of course); and the pacifist story that is the case of The Light Brigade. I love both types but in this case, simply this book is not for me.

So there is a future war, but apart for the means of transport, basically there are no future weapons and no future improvements to kill people (okay, I really should not complain about that).

About the military stuff, the story starts by the main character enlistment and the brutality of the training; and then to the war itself, but as I said before we have seen it in a lot of movies, particularly in the vietnamesque ones, and it is difficult to tell something really innovative here.

Awesome cover by Eve Ventrue
The other aspect of the novel is about an ultra-capitalist dystopian future. Well, we also know the criticisms about the excesses of capitalism today but curiously this part is a bit more entertaining that the war stuff.

The story is explained in the first person by the main character, the soldier Dietz. If you do that in a novel be aware that your main character has no inconsistencies, and Dietz has some... disorders (and she has some psychological disorders too). I mean that her narrative is not entirely coherent, even taking into account her evolution throughout the story. However, I understand that it is very difficult to do it in a complex plot like this one.

I admit that in half the reading I was totally disinterested of the story. I considered giving up but I think the book does not deserve this; it is not bad written, of course not. So I decided to read more and expect that the ending was better. And it was, I must say that at least the ending improves a bit the story and justifies -partially- this mess.

But the reading is hard. For example the constant Marine style chatter (F*ck this!, F*ck that!, f*ck everyone and everything!), or the repetitive mention of the soldier names from every platoon is both tiresome and confusing: Dietz!, Saldana!, Landon!, Prakash!, Ortega!, Tanaka!, Jones!, KOWALSKI! and a lot more. About the last one you must visit TV Tropes and read the post Why so many Kowalski-s? (LOL). In any case, my advice is not to read the book after dinner.

Also there is the abuse of lapidary phrases and rhetorical questions: Because they were going to lose the war. Everyone loses in war. or The brass was full of ideas. Aren’t they always?. If the author wants the reader to be depressed of war she is successful but not in the way she intends to do.

So, despite the good reviews of The Light Brigade I can not blame myself if I find it boring. I understand that the plot development proposed by the Kameron Hurley is very difficult to achieve; but it was not me, it was the book! I also think that with a third less pages the story would work better.