If you are looking for a good science fiction book containing space marines, sabotage, and under estimated indigenous creatures, I believe you cannot go wrong with “Colony Lost” by Chris Philbrook. The book is exceptionally well narrated by Kevin Stillwell; who at the time of this review has over seven hundred pieces narrated on Audible. If you take the good aspects from Starship Troopers and blend it with Aliens, include a bit of Saving Private Ryan, and a tad of The Thing, you will have a good understanding of what you can expect in this book. It is a well told science fiction horror story, yet it has many of the elements one expects in a thought out story; no matter the genre. If space marines, exploration, and intrigue sound like your type of book, I recommend you pick up a copy of Lost Colony and get lost in both the action and adventure the author takes you. When you have one-liners such as something being, “like a monkey on amphetamines”, you get an idea of the fun and descriptive writing style from Mr. Phillbrook.
Some may be asking, what could go wrong when light-years of unforgiving space are between a squad of space marines sent to a planet for colonization purposes. The quickly meet rather unfriendly native creatures and their mission changes from seek and destroy to one of survival. What enhanced the level of anxiety even more was that the marine’s supplies of food, water, and ammunition were quite limited. The book feels vast and is full of both adventure and discovery. However, there are also issues occurring at the same time back on the home planet where clandestine activities along with a fair amount of intrigue make this book more than simply a space marines vs monster story. The book felt more complex and weighty. The planet itself made any quick rescue attempt difficult do to its atmospheric makeup and the vast distance separating them. Neither of these aspects seemed out of place or forced in the story.
I thought the author did a really good job of including a solid prologue along with a heart-felt dedication. The technology in the book felt new and fresh compared to many other books I have read in the genre. There was a fair amount of military banter, insults and competition amongst the marines. However, the author also did a good job of including the bonding aspects showing the brotherhood of these members when events turn from bad to worse. There was an undying friendship not only focused on accomplishing the mission successfully, but also between one another. The book included some romantic aspects including the excitement of an unborn child and the pressure such puts on someone trying to survive. The characters had depth and complexity as the author added a fair amount of backstory to a few of them. Because of this, the reader better understands why a character acts or reacts the way they do.
Having listened to some of Kevin Stillwell other narrated works, I was not surprised to find a professionally produced piece of work. The book’s many characters along with their numerous accents were each performed without issue. The pace at which the book was read and the use of inflection made for a great listen. I also enjoyed the expressiveness used during times of action or concentrated tension. I’m not saying the audio was perfect as there were a few times I noticed slight volume inconsistencies and at times the female characters were more falsetto than I prefer, but overall the book’s narration was excellent.
A note to parents and younger readers. This book contains a fair amount of vulgar language, references to sexual subject matter, and some rather intense and graphic scenes of violence. I would recommend the book to only more mature readers.
In summary, if you are looking for an action-packed space marine survival story with a few extra twists, turns, and surprises, I think Colony Lost is a good choice for your audio library.