Book review: Blackcollar by Timothy Zahn

blackcollar coverBlackcollar
Timothy Zahn

Genre: Science fiction

Publisher: Open Road Media


The blackcollars—an elite, genetically enhanced fighting force—may be humanity’s only hope
Decades after a successful invasion of Earth and the Terran Democratic Empire by the Ryqril—hostile, leathery-skinned aliens—resistance fighter Allen Caine is training for an undercover mission. He will assume the identity of an aide to the senate—part of the government that colludes with the invaders. But when the mission begins earlier than planned, Caine finds himself stuck on the off-planet outpost of Plinry with no idea of what awaits. He’s responsible for the most important mission undertaken by the resistance in twenty years, and when the operation goes awry, Caine’s only hope is to locate Plinry’s so-called blackcollars—the elusive, martial arts–trained guerilla force whose wartime resistance efforts are legendary. With his life and the freedom of everyone in the TDE on the line, Caine’s success will depend on whether or not he can find them. . . .

My thoughts:

I quite enjoyed this book. I’m a fan of military sci-fi, and this one didn’t disappoint. The action did move a tad bit slower in the first chapter or so (slower than the rest of the book, anyway), but then it picked up speed and didn’t slow down until the last page.

Which was, of course, awesome. (The more action, the better! Hehe.)

This book had great characters. For a book with a large cast, none of the characters — except for maybe Argent’s Prefect Apostoleris — were stock characters. They all had some sort of depth and dimension, which made the book that much more interesting to read. I actually wanted to know what the characters were going to do next. I wanted to know how they were going to face the next obstacle/bad guy/traitor. Simply put, I cared about these people.

Comsquare Lathe was one heck of an enigma. Even though the story jumps POV from Allen Caine to other members of the blackcollar squad, we never really learn that much about Lathe. He’s not an ogre, but like Shrek, this guy’s like an onion with layers.

Okay, so none of them were particularly easy to figure out. But that was part of the reason why they were so interesting to read about. After all, nobody wants stock characters.

I thought this book was just as much about the characters — the blackcollars, the Argentian rebels, Caine himself — as it was about the action that surrounded the characters. I truly enjoyed this book, and this reminded me what good military sci-fi should be like.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


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