I read Out of Nowhere by Patrick LeClerc for the SPFBO4 competition and it was a fairly critical review. Whenever I post a negative review I get anxious because I’ve seen authors react poorly in the past – rude comments, sending angry emails, writing a whole blog post about it, going to an authors/readers FB group and talk about certain bloggers, etc. I really try and avoid drama, and writing negative reviews invites it. I was so fucking pleased there was no drama from Patrick, holy shit, thank you. Yes, I’ll read more of your books.
So, here we are with space marines! The main character, Mick, is a 30-something corporal in the marines and works with a fairly small platoon. They’re all stuck together on a spaceship for months at a time and shit can get boring and then very exciting at the drop of a hat. It’s dangerous out in the middle of nowhere, people usually pack heat even if they’re just a rescue team or a news crew because things come to blows more often than not.
Their first mission in the book was to rescue some government workers from a mining rebellion. There are mining communities built into asteroids, and the living conditions on one of them got so deplorable that the workers started an uprising. They were only there to get some people out, and not to try and quash the rebellion since there were 10,000 residents on the asteroid. They weren’t supposed to be looked at as a threat since they weren’t there to take down the rebellion, but the possibility was real that the miners wouldn’t care and would target them anyway. They did indeed get ambushed while making their way to the government officials, but it wasn’t what it seemed. When they were evacuating everyone, someone blew an airlock and it could have cost many people their lives. It turns out that it was an inside hack job trying to get rid of an unprofitable mining operation. It was a good 30% or so of the book before we got a glimpse at what the overall plotline was going to be – at first I thought this was going to be a more like a series of missions with no overarching storyline. I was pretty pleased there was one and I found it engaging.
I liked the characters in this one, they were still pretty rough around the edges – but the way the racism and sexism were presented was different from the last book I read of LeClerc’s. There were only a few small changes between this one and Out of Nowhere, which shows how essential context, inner thoughts, and framing is to get the correct point across. Just a few very brief thoughts from Mick changed the tone of the banter and made it obvious where he stood on those issues.
This is another short, compact and quick read by LeClerc, I was able to read through the majority of this in a day once I had a couple hours to spare. If I had any complaints about the writing, it’s that “Marine” was overused. I know that marines address each other like that, but as a reader, it got really repetitive. It was used 387 times in a 250 page book which is a little much. There were instances where it could have been changed out with another word to make it less repetitious and not lose any meaning. Outside of that, however, the dialogue felt real, the pacing was quick and overall enjoyable.
The storyline jumped back and forth between the years 2075 and 2078, up until the last chapter where it was set in the 1700s. I think because I was reading so quickly, and because I was somewhat distracted while reading (husband kept coming in and asking me things) that I may have missed something along the way to explain this. I know that Sean from Out of Nowhere was immortal… and Mick has a brother named Sean… so maybe these two series are tied together? I don’t know if it’s my fault or a lack of explanation by the author that’s lead to my confusion here – but if I were to put money on it I’d say it was me. I have trouble with retention when I’m being repeatedly interrupted or distracted by something.
- Sci Fi
- single pov
- first person narration
- quick reads
- Plot: 11/15
- Characters: 11/15
- World Building: 10/15
- Writing: 10/15
- Pacing: 12/15
- Originality: 11/15
- Personal Enjoyment: 6.75/10
Final Score: 71.75/100 – 3.58/5stars