Written by: Mark E. Cooper
Narrated by: Mikael Naramore
Length: 12 hrs and 42 mins
Series: Merkiaari Wars, Book 1
Publisher: Impulse Books UK
Are you up for some awesome space opera action? Then continue reading because Hard Duty by Mark E. Cooper is just the audiobook for you. In my opinion it takes a lot of courage to start writing a space opera series because there are so many good books out there already and the fans of the genre are going to ruthlessly compare your works with other authors. I guess that’s true for all genres but it’s kind of hard to pull off a good space opera that’s somewhat original and adds something to the genre. However, Mr. Cooper seems to be on the right path with Hard Duty, the first novel in the Merkiaari Wars series.
I’ve read my share of space opera and quite a bit of it in audiobook format so I felt right at home with Hard Duty’s premise – an Alliance of human populated planets lives through a devastating alien invasion, the death toll is in the billions. Humanity is hesitant of exploring space and conquering new worlds, fearing the Merkiaari might attack again.
The reader is seamlessly informed about the back-story in the beginning which is where things start happening fast. A new alien race is discovered by one of the few Alliance exploratory vessels left. That should be enough plot info to get you interested in the audiobook.
Now, you might say there’s lots of cliches in almost every space opera book and that would be true to some extent for Hard Duty too but it didn’t bother me that much to be honest. The whole human-meets-alien aspect isn’t original but was interesting and the aliens themselves were quite fascinating.
If you’re looking for epic large scale space battles, there’re some but they’re definitely not the main driver of the plot. There are quite a few different POVs, some of which I wanted to read more of but I guess that’ll happen in the next books in the series.
The characters weren’t very complex but had natural interactions, overall good dialogue/monologue and some funny one-liners here and there. I’m interested in what’s going to happen to them in the next installments of the series.
The narrator of this audiobook – Mikael Naramore makes it a very enjoyable piece of entertainment. His voice blends perfectly with the characters’ personality and emotions.
There isn’t a lot of hard science or deep philosophical themes in it so I’d recommend this audiobook to anybody looking for a well written light read in the sci-fi genre.
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