I've been on vacation all week, doing my best not to think about work. Since I knew we'd be spending a few days camping, I decided to push the review pile to the side and do a little pleasure reading. I didn't have any specific titles in mind, but I knew precisely what kind of books I wanted to enjoy.
Last on my reading list for the campsite was something the crosses genres, with a significant clash of culture and technology. I considered several possibilities, with Island in the Sea of Time by S. M. Stirling nearly winning the day, but eventually settled on Into the Storm, the first book of the Destroyermen series from Taylor Anderson. This is a series I've been curious about for some time, so I decided to finally give it a shot.
A contemporary battleship being sent back to prehistoric times would have been interesting enough, but making the ship a WWI destroyer that is already failing when pressed into WWII service is a nice touch, and making that prehistoric world an alternate one, populated by a cat-like race at war with a reptilian one, is fantastic.
As sea-fairing military thrillers go, this a solid read. I tend to gravitate more towards submarines than destroyers when looking for a naval adventure, but the historical aspect was more than enough to pique my interest. The characters were all nicely developed, with a few standouts that I hope get more page time as the series continues. In terms of world-building, this is more establishing a concept than truly executing on it, but Anderson lays out enough detail to make the story work, and to make you want to keep reading. The clear delineation between the 'good' race and the 'bad' one is a bit simplistic, so I hope he blurs that line a bit in subsequent volumes. I'm really interested to see how the tentative American/Japanese true develops, and would be disappointed if Anderson didn't blur some lines there as well, particularly in terms of alliances with the new races.
There's a lot of potential here, and while I'm not sure it can sustain eight books (which is where the series stands today), I'm more than willing to go along for the ride and see how long the fun lasts. It's a book full of ideas that have been done before, but never quite in this manner. As for the writing, it's a bit cold and simplistic to start, but I could feel Anderson becoming more and more comfortable as the book progressed, with bodes well for future volumes.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins