ARC Review : Admiral by Sean Danker

Admiral.jpgTitle : Admiral (Evagardian #1)

Author : Sean Danker

Publisher : Roc

Release date : May 3rd, 2016

Rating : 4/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

He is the last to wake. The label on his sleeper pad identifies him as an admiral of the Evagardian Empire—a surprise as much to him as to the three recent recruits now under his command. He wears no uniform, and he is ignorant of military protocol, but the ship’s records confirm he is their superior officer.

Whether he is an Evagardian admiral or a spy will be of little consequence if the crew members all end up dead. They are marooned on a strange world, their ship’s systems are failing one by one—and they are not alone.

Review :

I would like to thank NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of Admiral!

As a whole, this science-fiction book was highly entertaining and suspenseful and fast-paced! It’s the kind of books that could be made into a movie!

This novel got me like a roller coaster. As it is often the case with roller coasters, I ended up with a smile and the happiness to have gone through it. And a headache (from too much feels). Reading the title could equate to me strapping myself to the seat. Reading the summary and getting excited to read it would be the first ascent. The first 50 pages of the book are the first descent, and the rest of the book was… an infinite ascent? No, no. It would be an alternate between flat parts and ascents, and then the end is a slight descent.

In spite of how this review will start, I have to highlight the excitement I got from reading this book.

The beginning is just plain confusing and frustrating. There is close to no setting. I was as confused as the Admiral was, considering that, as it is stated in the summary, he wakes up to a strange situation. Although I could see that his style of writing would please me, because all descriptions were well-written and never took too much space, Danker just made us leap into the cauldron. We don’t know anything about this sci-fi world, and we are left to figure it out by ourselves, with almost no information to begin with. I mean, if the admiral is confused, how confused would we be? I’m aware that this puzzlement is purposeful since it’s a first person narrator, but having a confused narrator AND no setting is a quick and easy way to turn off a reader.

However, we quickly realize that the Admiral is a capable man. Despite his perplexity, he is cool-headed and goes straight to work, inquiring about their whereabouts and trying to figure out how to survive on this strange planet. The Admiral’s real identity is a mystery to everyone, but even his lack of name (on our part) didn’t stop me from liking him. He is smart, adaptive and highly resourceful. He reminded me a lot of Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy, just less funny (but still funny!).

Honestly, all the characters grew on me. There are only 4, but I learnt to appreciate them each in their own way. Deilani was slightly annoying at the beginning, but now the respect I have for her surpasses the respect I have for the Admiral. They are both great, don’t get me wrong, but the ending did her more justice. Nils and Salmagard were amazing and smart and resourceful throughout the book. The interactions and the banter between the characters were enjoyable. Although the hierarchy of this world made me perplex a few times, the 4 recruits come from different backgrounds, and Danker made a point of playing with their different point of views on some subjects. 10 points for Danker.

There is one element I was very conflicted about in this book. Sean Danker knows a lot about computers, technology, engineering, and so on, you know the kind. I always appreciate very much when an author does his/her homework and uses it well. The military thinking was also on point. Really, it showed a lot of dedication and hard work, and I truly thank him for it. However, I myself am not familiar with so many aeronautics and mechanical terms. So, as it turned out, there were some parts where I was completely lost. The first rule of writing I learnt was never to assume the reader knows what I’m talking about. It doesn’t mean that an author has to treat their readers as idiots, but when their story takes place in a highly technology-advanced future and in a domain not everyone is familiar with (aeronautics), one would expect them to explain a little.

Danker’s writing is very good and precise. Not one detail was left to chance, and the military thinking, like I pointed out above, is well thought of. He perfectly conveyed the creepiness of the planet’s inhabitants; I had goosebumps when our protagonists first encountered them. Also, Danker described incredibly well the strangeness of the planet and its eerie atmosphere.

The ending was fast paced and incredibly exciting. It got my heart beating like crazy, and I couldn’t put the book down. I just HAD to know how it would end. I was literally cheering for every character. I sure as hell will read the sequel, because I just have to know what else will happen to them. It’s an amazing way to end a first book: no cliffhangers, but just enough unanswered questions that would push the reader to come back.

Admiral is a nice mix of The Martian and Prometheus. It was suspenseful, and a bit creepy, and there was a lot of action. It was really good! I would recommend it for sci-fi fans!

Picture sources : 1, 2



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