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review 2016-04-19 00:00
Order 66 (Star Wars: Republic Commando, Book 4)
Order 66 (Star Wars: Republic Commando, Book 4) - Karen Traviss I haven't read the other books in this series, but once you get into it then it works as a novel on its own.
Kal Skirata has been training clone troops, and comes to see them as his boys. They've started to have lives of their own, rather than just being mass produced copies of Jango Fett.
Kal wants to get them out of the army, and find a way to increase their built in limited life span. To this end, his troops have been hacking data from the Republic, building up a close unit of allies and siphoning money.
Palpatine has been building his own fleet of ships and getting his own clone army put into the action. When he sends out Order 66, telling them to kill all Jedi, its time for Skirata to try and get his troops somewhere safe.

Lots going on, sacrifices and bending the rules. Traviss writes good characters, making them more than a faceless representation of the Republic. An interesting read from the other sides point of view.
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review 2015-12-24 18:32
“Going Grey – Ringer #1” by Karen Traviss – a much better book than the cover suggests
Going Grey - Karen Traviss


From the blurb, I thought that "Going Grey" was going to be a science fiction military thriller: fast plot, high body count, on-but-not-over the edge of credibility. What I got was something quite different and much, much better.


"Going Grey" is about military men, illegal science and a conspiracy that spans decades but it is not, primarily, a thriller.


It's an exploration of what, to me, is an alien world where men with the skills to kill seek to serve; where family roles, especially brotherhood and fatherhood drive people's lives; where belonging is as important as living; where you are either US, THEM or a bystander.

"Going Grey" takes the time to build characters and the relationship between them rather than shortcutting through pop culture references and movie tropes.


Karen Traviss spends chapters showing how two very different men, Rob - Brit, working class, Sergeant in the Royal Marines and Mike -American, hyper-rich, security contractor, form a bond that can only be described as brotherhood.


I've never met a hyper-rich American but my father was in the Royal Navy and I found Rob to be a very believable portrayal of a Royal Marine. Karen Traviss captures the way he speaks, his sense of humour, the way he interacts with the men and women around him, the movies he references, the shops he goes to in a deeply authentic way. I felt as if I'd met Rob before.


Mike is more alien to me but equally believable: earnest, privileged but with a strong streak of noblesse oblige, patriotic in what seems to me a very American way, and strongly focussed on family.


Normally, I find military men impenetrable. Their world is so far away from mine that I can't begin to understand why and how they do what they do. This booked changed that. Karen Traviss got me inside these men's heads and helped me to see the world the way they do: being "situationally aware", assessing threats, taking people down, a restless need for action held in check by strong discipline and personal ethics.


Add to this a young man with special abilities, raised in isolation with no male role models except those he saw in the movies about sacrifice and honour that were fed to him and there is a reach opportunity to explore what it means to be a man, to desire to belong, to need to act.


Karen Traviss doesn't cut corners with her other characters either. Dru, the forty-something, divorced with a teenager daughter, HR manager responsible for drawing up the lists of who to fire in an upcoming merger is very clearly drawn and develops into someone interesting and real by the end of the book.


There is thriller-type plot here. There are also some intense military scenes and a huge amount of weaponry, but the book remains low-key, closer to real life than to a 110 minute movie.


I found the result deeply satisfying. I got to know and understand these people. I also got to see a thriller plot unfold and resolve in a way that kept my interest through out.

I hope there is a sequel. I know I will be reading more Karen Traviss.


The audiobook version of "Going Grey" is a pleasure to listen to. Euan Morton is the narrator. He is incredibly good at getting the Brit and American accents right and at giving each character a distinctive voice. He is even more impressive narrating this than he was with "The Aeronaut's Windlass". 

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text 2015-12-17 21:50
"Going Grey" is not what I expected - it's much better. I've listened 351 out of 1336 minutes.
Going Grey - Karen Traviss

"Going Grey" has been on my TBR pile for a while now, partly because it's so long and partly because I haven't read anything by Karen Traviss before.


I reached for it after having read two disappointing Christmas books and the emotionally harrowing last book in the Kate Shugak series.


I wanted some light entertainment of the science fiction kind. A weird kid in danger, protected by two mercs sounded like fun.


What I got defies labeling other than to say that it's well written and completely engaging. I know what it's so long now. It's to give time for the characters and their situation to become real enough to drive the novel rather that powering it like an action movie.


I have high hopes for this now.


I also looked up Karen Traviss. Apparently she is writes widely read Star Wars books but she had to self-publish "Going Grey" because it wasn't what her publishers expected.


Well, that explains the amateur-looking cover and why I had to add the book to the Book Likes list. I am puzzled about why her publisher couldn't see what a good book this is.



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review 2014-10-03 05:12
A City in Turmoil
Batman: Arkham Unhinged, Vol. 4 - Karen Traviss,Derek Fridolfs,Various

I had no idea this was the fourth book in the series. I grabbed it off the shelf, thinking it was the follow up to Batman: Arkham City. It does seems like it does pick up soon after that book ended.

Overall, I was bored with this graphic novel. Not very much happened. It was more of a mystery/police procedural, which isn't bad in itself. However, there was no real excitement or build in the story. I found myself just trying to finish it.

For those who ship Batman and Catwoman, there were some interesting flirting bits. Bats is different with her. I don't know if indulgent is the right word. He seems more emotive than usual, at any rate.

My verdict is I didn't care that much for this book. It wasn't terrible, although I wasn't that fond of the way Bats is drawn. Just kind of middle of the road for me.

Overall rating: 2.5/5.0 stars

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text 2014-09-16 14:49
Going Gray - Karen Traviss

This, Going Grey by Karen Traviss, was a Fussy Librarian recommendation and I liked the blurb, however the price is $6 on Amazon... the problem being I have never heard of this author and it is a recommendation from the Fussy Librarian.  That, and the 'Book1' descriptor.  I have to say, if I do decide to purchase this book and it is a serial, I will be very angry.  So- has anyone read this?  Although a series, does the book provide a decent resolution for at least one plot raised in the book?  Has anyone read any other work by this author?

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