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on March 04, 2013 :
I don’t read many novels and I rarely write reviews. The sci-fi books I’ve read could be counted on one hand. After a friend told me about this ‘epic book’ he got on Kindle, I took the risk of buying my own copy of Veterans of the Psychic Wars. I’m glad I did. I’ve read the book twice now, and I enjoyed the second reading even more than the first, as there was no learning curve (more about that later).
From the very beginning, Veterans of the Psychic Wars immerses you into a carefully crafted environment filled with constant tension, paranormal activity and a sense that death can come from anywhere, especially where you least expect it. Many characters are not who or what they first appear to be.
Characterization. The characters are not only intriguing because of what they say, what they do and what they fail to do are equally interesting. The heroes often reveal personal weaknesses usually associated with villains, such as fear, addiction, arrogance, jealousy, vindictiveness and uncertainty. Some characters change more than others. The Prince Armon of chapter 82 bears little resemblance to the constantly endangered and confused Roman Doyle of the first 10 chapters. We are treated to in-depth back-stories of all the main players. Roman Doyle’s traumatic childhood and his struggle to overcome his secret fears made him all the more sympathetic.
World-building. I am amazed at how much detail went into the imaginative and convincing cultures, religions, politics, technologies and languages featured in this book. From the idyllic tropical setting of the Caribbean island of Trinidad to the formidable gravity and constant acid rain of the planet Miru, I am stunned by the rich complexity of Trotman’s well-crafted environments.
Glossary. Like Frank Herbert’s Dune and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Veterans of the Psychic Wars has a superb glossary of terms. This is where any doubts regarding Trotman’s world-building prowess were eliminated. It is extensive and even manages to be amusing as it is written entirely from the point of view of a scribe who views the planet Earth as little more than an ancient myth.
Humor. There are several similarities between this book and Dune, but whereas Herbert’s masterpiece is humorless, Veterans of the Psychic Wars has Roman’s sarcastic thoughts, Zachary Silverman’s one-liners and Chi-Ro Jin’s biting insults - irony galore.
No typos. Unlike all of the other novels I’ve read on Kindle, I was unable to find a single typo. Considering the size of the book, I’d think that was quite an achievement.
A great ending that left me eagerly anticipating further adventures.
Learning curve. This book initially calls for a very steep learning curve. In the beginning I shared Roman’s confusion. We were both exposed to a great deal of information regarding unknown individuals and alien worlds, which may or may not have been just the figment of Chi-Ro Jin’s imagination. I’m glad I did not give up – the glossary helps. In the end, I could put all the pieces of the jigsaw together thanks to all that information I was forced to absorb at the beginning, but the many alien names and archaic English words – ‘verily’ springs readily to mind – made for a sometimes difficult read. Not everyone enjoys trawling thru dictionaries and glossaries.
Pace: From the start, the story goes along at a very fast pace. Great if you love lots of action, but if you’re looking for a leisurely read with lots of pages with little or no activity, this is not the book for you.
Size: It’s a big book. It could easily have been split into two.
Violence and gore: There is quite a lot of it.
It’s not perfect, but it’s still a great book with all the hallmarks of a classic epic. The mundane, contemporary earthbound settings of the opening scenes will not prepare you for the massive space battles and awesome technology of later chapters. Despite his low-key entrance, I grew to really like Roman Doyle, whose devotion to his family is unflinching as he evolves into a truly classic hero. Also notable is Chi-Ro Jin’s unwavering loyalty. A great book I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on April 15, 2011 :
In a word: Epic
This tale excels on many levels. Roman Doyle is the reluctant hero who must overcome overwhelming odds to realise his true potential and rescue his wife and unborn child. His sense of bewilderment is tangible as he gets pulled from his normal life as a husband and school teacher into an (at times truly nightmarish) adventure that spans the cosmos and brings him into contact with meticulously drawn races, philosophies and fractions. The amount of research that has been lavished on this story is evident throughout. The book is packed with first rate action sequences, and fans of martial arts will find much to savour in the blow-by-blow rendering of so many varied and interwoven fighting styles. There are sequences in this story that make ‘The Matrix’ look pedestrian. Highly recommended.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on March 16, 2011 :
‘Veterans of the Psychic Wars’ is an intelligent, well-written, detailed novel with a lot of action. Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger, urging me to read more. There are quite a few alien names and terms, but you soon get used to them, and an encyclopedic glossary at the end of the book is helpful. Other epics I have read were set in the almost forgotten past or distant future. This story happens now. We are taken from the contemporary streets of London, England to an adventure in a galaxy far away.
Roman, a young married schoolteacher, is the reluctant hero, whose attachment to his wife Soraya is often used as a snare by evil aliens. There is more than a fair share of humor and surprising twists in the book. Several of the characters seem oddly religious, considering the technological advancements of their universe, but there is a sense that extremely advanced technology has not eradicated superstition or solved social problems such as race and class division.
The book presents a great deal of historical data, both real and imagined and it soon becomes clear that the author employed substantial effort in creating believable characters, relationships and cultures. Often in science fiction, alien worlds are treated as the extraterrestrial equivalent of nation-states in present-day Earth, and there is a tendency to depict entire planets as embracing one religion or ideology; or of being of one ethnic race. In ‘Veterans of the Psychic Wars’ I was presented with realistic diversity. ‘Veterans of the Psychic Wars’ is a ‘heroic monomyth’ as described by Joseph Campbell in his book ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’; as such, fans of ‘Star Wars’, ‘The Matrix’, or ‘Dune’ should enjoy it. I highly recommend this book.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Jan. 14, 2011 :
Although I generally don't read Sci-Fi of this type Veterans of the Psychic Wars is a generous helping of Sci-Fi/Fantasy from the multitalented Wayne Gerard Trotman. His attention to detail is extraordinary and his knowledge of the fighting arts seems second to none. This ambitious novel delivers a bit of everything that the connoisseur could demand from sci-fi or high fantasy as well as an undercurrent of humour and purple prose to counterbalance the darker overtones.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)