ahead) Germline is the story of a man named Oscar that believes he will become
an award winning reporter by attaching himself to a front line military unit in
a war for resources. As real a starting point as I could think of given the way
the last decade of war has gone for this country. This book is his journey from
“Rube Hack” to PTSD.
The action in
this book is gritty and real. The troops all have believable reactions. The
grinding pace seemed to match the feeling of a drawn out land war – and that
affected the characters. I had a very difficult time relating to Oscar. He's an
addict, and made an unsympathetic hero for me. He’s more of an anti-hero and
those characters rarely work well for me. He was real, but not likeable. The
rest of the characters seemed to fade. The intensity of his attraction to the
clone soldiers seemed forced, I didn’t buy it. In the end he was a better
character once he'd returned to home - unfortunately that's a very small piece
of the book and only happens at the end.
I will freely
admit I missed the biological connection of the title. I was expecting germ
warfare along the lines of mustard gasses and plagues being unleashed in waves.
Plasma weapons and kinetic bombing worked, but didn’t match the intensity I was
expecting when the soldiers were described after staying in their armor for
extended periods of time. The cover art is really excellent, but the picture I
had in my mind of fully enclosed suits was something closer to Iron Man with a
clear face plate.
In the end, the science fiction aspects of this story could have
been removed. I'm not saying they're bad by any means. I agree there is a real
potential for a ground war over resources in our future. I'm not sold on Russia as the adversary either, seems a bit
like a cold war carry-over to me. If the armor, clones and resources are
removed and replaced with any advanced weapon, natives and land grabs or
political agendas you could still have the same story.
When I finished this story it reminded me of "Platoon"
or "Apocalypse Now". If you enjoyed those films, you'll really enjoy
Star Total: 3.5
out of 5 stars