The Alliance has been fighting the Syndics for a century—and losing badly. Now its fleet is crippled and stranded in enemy territory. Their only hope is a man who’s emerged from a century-long hibernation to find he has been heroically idealized beyond belief….
Captain John “Black Jack” Geary’s exploits are known to every schoolchild. Revered for his heroic “last stand” in the early days of the war, he was presumed dead. But a century later, Geary miraculously returns and reluctantly takes command of the Alliance Fleet as it faces annihilation by the Syndics.
Appalled by the hero-worship around him, Geary is nevertheless a man who will do his duty. And he knows that bringing the stolen Syndic hypernet key safely home is the Alliance’s one chance to win the war. But to do that, Geary will have to live up to the impossibly heroic “Black Jack” legend….
“Let us live to the highest standards, lest we win this war only to find ourselves staring in the mirror at the face of our late enemy.”
I started the Lost Fleet with a lot of expectations for it, since it sounded like the complete opposite of my current favourite series. It is remarkable how much it is the complete and total opposite of everything I loved. You would think I would hate it, but Dauntless isn’t bad! I enjoyed myself while reading. Once I started, I didn’t actually want to put it down. The book even made it even more difficult to put down than it otherwise would have been because once it starts, it doesn’t stop. Seriously, only a handful of things happen in Dauntless, yet I was enchanted because they were so rich with danger.
The entire premise of the Lost Alliance Fleet is to get home after the Alliance fleet attacked the Syndicate home system and suffered major losses. Our main character is the only one capable of getting them home – the legendary Black Jack Geary. Thought dead for nearly 100 years, they find him in stasis and wake him up. The Alliance has built him up over the years so their soldiers would think that Geary is a hero and what he did at his last stand was the only true way to fight. Geary is horrified to find this out. No one sane really wants to find that they’re worshipped.
Geary is even more horrified to find out that he really is the only person capable of getting them home. He hates it when he finds out just how far his Alliance has fallen. The war was supposed to be over by this point, by his perspective. Yet, the quality of the soldiers and officers has gone down and every single policy they have seems geared to make them them lose! To top it all off, even their staunch morals have withered away under the demands of 100 years of war. The Alliance is supposed to be better than the Syndicate! Yet after year after year of war, morals and ethics just fall by the wayside against the desire to win. Despite not having the leadership experience necessary to lead this fleet, Geary is the only one that even still has the training left. He has to be the role model for the Alliance soul they have forgotten existed.
While the majority of the focus of Dauntless is on the societal problems Geary finds, there is also the fact they are deep, deep into enemy territory and running wounded. They have an inexperienced commander at the helm who knows nothing about their capabilities. After dumping the reader into a lot of confusion, the same amount Geary himself would find himself in, the story starts and just doesn’t stop. We’re constantly on the run from the enemy. We have to stay one step ahead, and that is hard with a force that is so ineffective after a century of war. I was enthralled because I had to know what was going to happen to everyone, right?
I really liked the premise. Though it was repetitious, I wasn’t really bored by it. Each time it repeated itself, it added more and more to the story. I enjoyed watching the horror unfold. I cheered each new unveiling of information. This was a very good introduction to the series. We learn everything there is to know about how the series is going to go forward just from this first book.
I had some troubles connecting to the characters. I am definitely a character person while reading. I can handle a lot of problems with the plot if the characters are really good. So while I don’t have many problems with the plot and I was entirely entertained by it, I had troubles connecting to the story. John Geary is the definite main character of the story, and there are only really 5 or so other characters that make a difference in the book. Yet none of them really stand out yet as characters. I don’t care about them, I don’t even really know who they are yet. Even with the one character we do have, Geary, I felt the story started a few weeks after when it should have. It felt like we should have started with when he woke up, but we didn’t. We’re just thrown into the middle of this huge thing with no context. As a character reader, I’m definitely having some difficulties.
Dauntless is the start of a six book long journey home. This is just step one on what is going to be a very, very long journey. Don’t be surprised when you get to the end of the book and they’ve barely traveled anywhere, because this is just one small part of the journey. The series is the whole story, not Dauntless.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the The Lost Fleet series page!