BROTHERS IN ARMS by Ben Weaver
EOS, January 2001
Scott St. Andrew has joined the South Point Academy as a way to escape the mining hell of his native planet. Military training, however, proves difficult for Scott. He is always the one to hold up his group and hated as a result. When civil war breaks out between the central planets and the colonies, Scott and the other students are suddenly accelerated into active service and forced to chose between their native worlds and the oath they took to the central government.
Ben Weaver writes an action-packed military science fiction adventure. For the reader, as for Scott, both sides are morally corrupt. Still, the students must make their choice and live (or die) with it. The South Point training, in particular, rings authentic and Scott's troubles are almost certain to appeal to the young Science Fiction reader. The conditioning treatment received by the soldiers is somewhat reminiscent of Gully Foyle's implants in THE STARS MY DESTINATION (see our review), again designed to appeal to the action-oriented reader.
BROTHERS IN ARMS is marred by Weaver's decision not to fully explain the cause and issues of the war. As a result, the reader cannot fully invest in Scott's choice or identify with either side. On a smaller level, I could not believe that Scott and his collegues would find themselves involved in a treasonous attack (against their knowledge) and promoted for their part. BROTHERS IN ARMS reads like a prequel to a more mature adventure--a story I will look forward to. Read it as a fast-paced adventure but don't spend too much time trying to make sense of it.
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