Citadel: Better than first book, but still not good

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsCitadel by John RingoCitadel by John Ringo

Citadel is the second in John Ringo’s TROY RISING series. The first book, Live Free or Die, had an interesting plot that was totally derailed by John Ringo’s intrusive and ugly political views which seem closer to neo-Nazism than anything else. So why did I read Citadel? Only because the audiobook publisher sent me a free copy and, out of a sense of completion, I wanted to review it for FanLit. I was prepared to hate it.

Fortunately, Tyler Vernon the Nazi is only a secondary character in Citadel. The plot mostly follows two new recruits who are joining Earth’s space defenses on Troy, the hollowed-out asteroid that Vernon built as a battle station. Dana is a pilot who’s got some mad flying skills. Butch is a welder. Interestingly, to me at least, Butch was trained in my hometown on Florida’s “Space Coast,” so Ringo won me over a little when we spent some time there and he accurately portrayed the area.

Most of the story tells of the mundane events of life aboard Troy for Dana and Butch. They spend time welding, flying, swimming, shopping, eating, and getting tattoos. They are likable characters, but they just aren’t very interesting and they don’t even have a good sense of humor to make the dull parts more lively. Things finally pick up when the aliens called the Rangoras decide to make war on the Earth’s allies, the Glatun. Then we actually get to see Troy in action, and that’s kind of cool.

Fortunately, since there is less of Tyler Vernon in this book, there is less of his politics, but it does at times rear its ugly head — jibes at the president and the French, for example, and long discussions of what America’s role in the war should be. There are also several instances of John Ringo’s annoying habit of describing the breast size of every female we meet (usually using the word “stacked”). And then that stupid thing about the blondes in heat. It seems that now blonde women are constantly pregnant because they can’t control themselves. What, they’ve never heard of a condom? There are a few things like this that just make no sense and seem like Ringo’s personal wish fulfillment. I won’t even mention the sister porn. Yuck.

So, overall, Citadel was not as exciting as Live Free or Die, but it toned down the obnoxious politics. The trade-off makes this a less annoying book, but still not a good one. I can’t recommend this series, but if you want to try it, I suggest the audiobooks narrated by Mark Boyett. He does a good job with what he’s given.

Troy Rising — (2010-2011) Publisher: First Contact Was Friendly. When aliens trundled a gate to other worlds into the solar system, the world reacted with awe, hope and fear. But the first aliens to come through, the Glatun, were peaceful traders and the world breathed a sigh of relief. Who Controls the Orbitals, Controls the World. When the Horvath camw through, they announced their ownership by dropping rocks on three cities and gutting them. Since then, they’ve held Terra as their own personal fiefdom. With their control of the orbitals, there’s no way to win and earth’s governments have accepted the status quo. Live Free or Die. To free the world from the grip of the Horvath is going to take an unlikely hero. A hero unwilling to back down to alien or human governments, unwilling to live in slavery and enough hubris, if not stature, to think he can win. Fortunately, there’s Tyler Vernon. And he has bigger plans than just getting rid of Horvath. Troy Rising is a book in three parts — Live Free of Die being first part — detailing the freeing of earth from alien conquerors, the first steps into space using off-world technologies and the creation of Troy, a thousand trillion ton battlestation designed to secure the solar system.

John Ringo 1. Live Free or Die 2. Citadel 3. The Hot Gate John Ringo 1. Live Free or Die 2. Citadel 3. The Hot Gate John Ringo 1. Live Free or Die 2. Citadel 3. The Hot Gate


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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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