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Behind Alien Lines by Wesley Britton (Review)

First, a warning. I started reading Behind Alien Lines (BAL) on my android phone and gave up, overwhelmed with assumed formatting and editing issues. However, these issues were not present on the Amazon ‘peek inside’ and so I downloaded BAL onto my Kindle White and had an enjoyable read.

BAL is book 8 of a series and quite complex for a collection of novellas/shorts. There are a lot of POVs and names to contend with, but this does provide for a more realistic wartime (I felt as if I were reading a band of brothers-esque world mashed with spies and sci-fi) and Mr Britton give us an ‘important characters’ list at the start.

The overall multiverse concept is interesting and allows for many themes and questions on the validity of war. These stories all have a strong sense of what war does to soldiers, those subjugated by war and the people whose lands are torn apart. There are no outlandish heroes, just people finding hope amongst their own courage and the courage of their peers.

After a brief ‘what’s what’ and ‘who’s who’ in the universe, most of the exposition comes through dialogue and this is where I ran into trouble. Juggling characters is difficult and Mr Britton does it well, which is a shame when so many characters overexplain the situation. This to me, made the characters sound too similar, which combined with the large cast had me re-reading some sections.

Where the stories excel are in the exposition found in Mr Britton’s prose. The world building is outstanding. Yes, there’s the obligatory info dump here and there, but the majority is excellent. He gives only what you need to realise this universe for the moments you are reading. I could happily sit with him or any of his characters over a round of pravine.


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