“Planetside” is a rollercoaster ride of action, adventure and conspiracy. It is a military contemporary science fiction story which appears to be right in the author’s comfort zone. The book is authored by Michael Mammay, and it appears this is his first work published on Audible. I could not think of a better narrator for this title than R. C. Bray. He is an exceptionally talented narrator and I have many of his other works in my personal library. The duo is such a great pairing than of both story and narration. The outcome is welcomed in a rather densely populated genre. If you enjoy listening to well written and performed science fiction that contains action, twists, and a sprinkling of humor, I recommend you give Planetside a listen.
The author did an exceptional job of revealing the story which opens my presenting the listener with many unanswered questions along with a few bits of mystery. All the way through the book, there is a level of suspense that keeps one engrossed and attentive. The story and technology felt well researched and believable for a science fiction piece. Technology was not thrown in to make the book feel science fiction; not at all. It was more used to augment or assist the story going forward. The listener really gets the feeling of being a part of the story as the book progresses. It is also clear the author has a military background as the book contains many aspects of formality, rules, and procedures. Something one would expect to find if they were in a military service organization.
The author included a fair amount of background as the first half of the book is about them traveling to become planet side. This first quarter of the book is not something that can be skipped so one can jump right into the action. He uses this time to develop the book’s characters, give us a view into the technology, and provide us with an overall view of the world and situation at hand. I like when an author takes time to develop a story using different and interesting creatures. We are not simply presented with your run of the mill alien. One wonders if these are friend or foe, and here is where things get very interesting. The author used a level of detail that helped me to see the world I was a part of. From the flow between action and narrative, it was well balanced. With the solid storyline and the great narration, I felt at times that I was watching a move via my ears. It all really clicked and worked. There are little bits of humor thrown in to help relieve tension. One of the spots that had me laughing out loud was when a character yelled, “Bad guards!”. If you listen, you will know what I mean. I find it refreshing also to listen to a book that when it is over there is not another to puck and continue. Most of the story plots are closed up and there are no requirements to listen to additional books for the conclusion. Just note that the books conclusion comes at a rapid pace. I was not sure how the author was going to accomplish this task, but it was well done and, in the end, it did not feel rushed.
The book’s narration is of the highest level of both professionalism and quality. Mr. Bray does a great job voicing the many different characters and gives each of them personality making it easier to distinguish one from another. His rich and deep tone help set the stage and overall feeling of the book itself. There were no audio artifacts or other blemishes I can recall while listening, something I would expect from a seasoned narrator. I can say that I have never been disappointed with any of his narration works and always enjoy when I get a chance to listen to him.
For parents and younger readers, I would not recommend this book for younger audiences as there is a fair amount of vulgar language and sexual topics throughout. It is not more than one would expect from a military science fiction story, but it is there and heavy at times. There are also some scenes consisting of graphic violence; yet, again not a surprise for the genre. It is a very well written book, yet I would suggest it is more geared toward adult or mature readers only.
In summary, this is a contemporary science fiction story that at first masquerades as nothing more. Yet, it when it opens up and one begins to see the many facets, this is where the book shines. If you are a fan of either science fiction or like a good military mystery, I recommend you pick up Planetside and give it a listen. I also look forward to more books by this author in the future.