Taylor Anderson’s latest entry in his Destroyermen series, Firestorm, took me by surprise. Granted, the fact that i found myself reading the sixth novel in a series before ever reading either of the first five was surprise in and of itself if truth be told (I may be a bit anal retentive on refusing to read sequels until I’ve gotten through any and all earlier works that might have come. Maybe. Just a bit).
Having said that, however, I will tell you that it was not my fault.
When a review copy found its way to my door I firmly intended — in a very polite but severe voice — to let it know in no uncertain terms that I wouldn’t be reading or reviewing it until I’d purchased the previous books in the series. Nope. It simply wasn’t going to happen. No matter how much it taunted me there on the…
Screw it, I opened it and began to read. My excuse was that I wanted to know if this series were even “worth” my picking up the earlier works. I wouldn’t want to spend that much money only to find out that it wasn’t worth reading, right?
There was just one problem with that. Despite being lost in a few places (or at least feeling at a definite handicap at not knowing the full story of things alluded to in passing by this character or that) Firestorm was a book that just kept me turning the pages. Sure I would put it down with the intention of stopping “here” so that I could order the earlier works and then “catch up” again and finish reading it.
Again, no such luck. Taylor Anderson’s writing is so damn good that I simply did not stop until I made my way through the entire book. Even then, as I was turning the book over in my hands and complaining to myself that I “never DO this” with a series, I very nearly want to start back at the beginning and read it through again. After spending a few hundred pages with some of these characters I would now know them enough to enjoy the opening chapters a bit more, is my thinking.
And what characters. Going from the opening premise that this is an “alternate” Earth (from ours, anyways) where a US Destroyer (the USS Walker) and a Japanese Battlecruiser (The Amagi) found its way there through some freaky portal during the early stages of the War in the Pacific during World War II. This Earth, while being fairly the same geographically as the one they’d left behind, was one where evolution had taken different forks in the road eons ago.
Instead of the “dominant” species being, well, us, for instance, there are intelligent races of lemur-based evolution (Lemurians) as well as reptilian-based evolution (The Griks, possible defendants of Velociraptors).
These two “peoples” are at war with each other and, in this particular book, there is also other entries into this war. A war, mind you, that is turning into this particular Earth’s own “World War,” in which the American forces side with the Lemurians while the Japanese find an alliance with the Grik to be beneficial to themselves. This, by the way, is just my own small understanding of what has happened and is happening in this series, based on my reading of this one particular novel.
My apologies if I have botched it up and you are a fan of the series reading this and yelling at your screen that I’m an idiot.
Filled with the same “gung-ho” spirit of the very best WWII fiction as well as some of the best writing I’ve seen in quite some time that dealt with differing evolution “what ifs?” Taylor Anderson’s Firestorm is just … well it’s just a really really good book.
I highly recommend it. Now then, can any of you loan me the first books in the series? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?