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The Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell

Complete Series with 6 Novels
Genres: science fiction, space opera
Sequel: The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier
Prequel: The Genesis Fleet
Spinoff: The Lost Stars

Series Blurb:

Captain John “Black Jack” Geary woke up after a hundred years in survival hibernation to find that he has been revered as a hero. He also finds himself in command of a fleet in enemy territory with only one goal: get home. He is horrified to learn they are still in a war that has lasted a century and that his people have followed what he did in his last stand to near ruination. In an impossible situation, Geary has to live up to the his name and pull off a miracle.

Reading Order:

1. Dauntless
2. Fearless
3. Courageous
4. Valiant
5. Relentless
6. Victorious

Review:

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, from 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 with 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.

From early on, Geary has to establish that he is in the lead of this force. They doubt his abilities because they aren’t what they have come to expect from Alliance leadership. Certain factions think they can do better than him. Some of them would follow him no matter what because he is the Legendary “Black Jack” Geary. Yet, when someone presents himself as another possible leader, Geary finds that he really is the only man for the job. This happens multiple times throughout the series.

The problems of the series are obvious. The Syndicates will stop at nothing to defeat the fleet. But also they quickly run low on supplies. Resupplying is tricky at best, impossible at worst. It is a war of attrition, and the fleet are on the wrong side. They have nothing to barter with, even if the Syndicate would barter with them. They have to make demands, and they cannot trust the Syndicate. They’ve already shown themselves to be utterly untrustworthy. We’re jumping from system to system to system, fighting more and more. It is only logical that this is going to be a problem.

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 series. And even they don’t really matter much.

This is also the type of story I will do anything to avoid putting it down once I started. There is so much that happens. Each chapter is jam packed of things happening. In my mind while reading, though, there just aren’t any landmarks I can point to to keep my place in the story. If I stop for any real length of time, I will have forgotten everything that happened and what I’m trying to do as the main character. There just isn’t much distinguishing between events. They aren’t generic, they’re necessary, there are tons of things happening. It is just keeping order in my mind that is the problem.

My biggest issue as a reader is that I have entirely no idea about the scale of….well, anything. I have no idea how many ships he commands. I have no idea how many people are on the ship he is currently on, let alone all the ships in his fleet. I have no idea the scale of the amount of people he is going against, the Syndicate. Only Geary really knows what the fleet has and what they don’t have. As a reader who wants to become the main character while reading, I’m just not able to do this with this series. I’m just incapable of doing it because I know so little that isn’t actively happening on screen at the time.

There is also a subplot that is running through the books about the possibility of aliens. To the Alliance, they have yet to find anyone other than humans in space. Yet, the reality is there staring them in the face. It is only a theory, yet there it is. Presented to us readers as a possibility. Interesting times are ahead, aren’t they? Looking forward to it.

There is a second subplot that is romance, too. I wasn’t expecting any romance at all in this series. I was not warned at all, anywhere. There is just so much relationship drama in this series! I think it should come with a sticker “Warning: Love triangle, jealousy, denial, avoidance and drama!“. There was almost as much relationship drama as there was plot related to us getting home again some books! And so much of it was annoying.

The series plots a course. Geary has to get him home, but along the way he fights the Syndicates to the brink of destruction. And he was the only possible man for the job.

 

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