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Author Topic: Ghost Hour Review - Spoilers ahead  (Read 215 times)


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Ghost Hour Review - Spoilers ahead
« on: 10 September 2020, 20:38:26 »
Frankly, my expectations were low on this one, as I didn't enjoy Iron Dawn.  With that in mind, they were surpassed.  It's still a flawed BattleTech book, but the trilogy is on a comparatively upward swing.

First, the good:
1.  The author gives just the right amount of yakuza tie-ins and explanations of tiers and customs for you to get a feel for what the lead DC character is dealing with and/or trying to get away with.  It's not a great in-universe explanation for the original premise of the invasion, but it definitely helps the storyline overall.
2.  Quite a number of details in the combat scenes are really well done.  You can quickly get immersed in the action, and while I know Young Adult books are supposed to focus on the kids, you're left wishing there was at least a bit more. 
3.  With fewer members of the "cadre" involved directly in this book, the constant use of titles doesn't get in the way of the main protagonists as much. 
4.  One of the primary complaints I had about Iron Dawn was the entire idea that the key planet was attacked to force their 'Mechwarriors to fight with the invading regiment.  Now that has changed more to just capturing their resources.  When Davion 'Mechs appear, the command is to capture them.  That sounds strange until you realize there's a Tenshi B in the Combine force headed that way.  A tip of the hat for including that level of detail.

Then, the not so good:
1.  There are still plenty of things that just don't fit the BattleTech universe.  At one point there's an apparently-limited supply of movable "turrets" with inferno missiles that play the biggest part in taking down on Ostsol.  There were other explanations available in the same combat, so it's just a little jarring to long-time BattleTech fans....
2.  There's also quite a bit of long-range missile-type weaponry spoken about as if the terms/numbers being used are common to the universe/period when they just aren't.  Another eye opener comes when the intentional destruction of a dropship is seemingly equated to the use of a biological weapon.   This happens in parallel moves by each side, and you're left wondering if the author was just handed the briefing paragraphs from the 2nd edition box set and a snippet on the Ares Convention for background info. 
3.  As a small nitpick, the glossary at the end has the standard BattleTech terms, including Clan ones.  It would've been far more usable if it had DCMS rank equivalents and other terms used in this book (which has no Clanners).  That's on Catalyst, not the author.
4.  Finally, at the end of the novel there's a "regiment" that sounds like it might be able to muster a combined-arms company of troops between ~5 dropships.  Sure, it's a reason for their commander's decision-making in the end, but they've been at this level for a just feels wrong that the bad guys should've been so combat-ineffective some time ago and yet still this planet-seizing threat.

If this was a book released during the early Dark Ages run of novels, we'd be talking about it as the best of the bunch.  As it is, it's going against excellent works like Redemption Rift, and suffering by comparison.  I gave Iron Dawn a D-.  Ghost Hour gets a solid C. 
Caveat all this that this is a Y.A. book, and I'm an old fogey.  Maybe young whippersnappers will love it and give it an A+. 

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