Karen Traviss- Few years ago I had an unexpected trip to Europe with a 8 hr flight and I did not have any books to take with me and very little time to search for something I would like. I went to the library and quickly picked up a book, because I liked the cover. I did not even check the author. I put it into my carry on luggage and went to the airport. On the airplane I took out the book- it was “The Slab” by Karen Traviss. On one hand I was lucky because I had very good Sci-Fi book ( I am big fun on futuristic novels but I am also very critical about them – there is a lot of crap out there in the sci-fi categories), but unlucky on the other hand because “The Slab” was the last part of the series Gears of War. At this point I had no choice, so I dug into the book. It was really great. This is a story set in the future where humans are losing a war against Locus Horde ( a coalition of different species humanoid and bestial, big and small but always deadly). The main character Markus Fenix, supper soldier was put in prison for disobeying an order. Markus was a war hero and did not belong in a locked up among criminals , especially when the war was almost lost and the human troops needed him. While Markus was adjusting to a life in prison, his friends desperately tried to find a way to get him released and his father was trying to keep him alive secretly working for the government.
The author did a great job creating the single minded, heroic solder, with enough of “softness” beneath his amour that Markus was a tough but likable character. He was strong , dedicated soldier, never blamed anyone for his mistake that landed him in prison ( if you call this a mistake -he was trying to save his father), his friend were willing to risk their lives for him, he was just the ideal soldier that I felt sympathy and admiration for. This book made an impression on me. It is not the typical “comic” superhero book, where the hero does impossible tasks ( e.g. Captain America) or the bullet proof hero where he kills 100 soldiers while dodging thousands of bullets ( e.g. Rambo). This is, in my opinion as realistic Sci-Fi books can be, with characters who could exist in the 21st century. The story lines are easy to follow, there are no long boring descriptions and the action is non-stop. If you like futuristic books try “The Slab” , but do not make the same mistake I did. Read from the first book of the Gear of War ,”Aspho Fields.