I know, I know … another end of the world monsters invade saga … you’d think I would get tired of reading them but absolutely not! I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment! 🙂
Battle Earth – listed as a trilogy is actually a sequence of 5 books as you can see on Amazon with the completely “original” names of Battle Earth I to Battle Earth V. Now I would admit that you do not need to name each book in a series – however it does help them stand out somewhat and in my case at least, make writing reviews of each book a lot easier!
So in a nutshell? An advanced alien species attacks and completely destroys a colony on Mars, but not before a message is delivered to Earth about the attack itself. When this message is received a relief force is dispatched to Mars – unfortunately this too is destroyed on route – however again a notice is sent to Earth about the movement through the void of a large body heading directly for the Moon and Earth!
As the alien ship gets closer to the Earth tracking indicates the split of a smaller ship heading directly to the moon. Without knowing the true purposes or intentions of the aliens, the forces of the world start tentative preparations for either a peaceful first contact – or the exact opposite!
One of Earth’s generals dispatches a small platoon of infantry to the moon to shore up the defenses there but most importantly to determine what they are actually coming up against and whether the attack on the Ares colony on Mars was by mistake or by intent. Led by Captain Taylor (our protagonist at least to book 2 as that’s how far I’ve gotten) he receives orders that if the aliens are hostile, he is to evacuate the Prime Minister of the moon base as a priority as the knowledge he has is to valuable to risk.
Unfortunately despite all attempts at communication the force that lands on the moon proves to be hostile. Extremely hostile in fact and in giant walking suits of armor the weaponry available to the Earth forces proves pitifully inadequate allowing the aliens to quickly over run the defenses gathered to slow them down.
Taylor escapes back to Earth with the Prime Minister leaving the remainder of the UEN and MDF forces on the Moon along with thousands of civilians. The survivors on the moon escape to the tunnels underneath their base to continue their fight and while Taylor and his forces feel guilty for leaving them behind, they realize their is nothing their forces can do at the current time.
After returning to Earth, Taylor is drafted as the “expert” on the aliens and gives a briefing to multiple heads of state and generals on their intentions, weapons and armor. Making it clear that the only defense is a powerful offense he builds a case to improve the weaponry available to his forces and the army as a whole.
While the forces on the Moon continue to battle, the main mother-ship navigates to Earth and lands in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Here it quickly starts to “grow” and becomes a continent larger than many countries. Sending out expeditionary forces the aliens quickly over run Spain and Northern Africa. Fighting a desperate rearguard action in France, humanity is thrown back first from the beach and then all the way to Paris itself. Only through desperate losses are the allies able to hold back the aliens and maintain their hold on Paris, which is how the 1st book ends.
Well I started this post by talking about all the different end of the world series I have read, so really I can only start my comparison by seeing how Battle Earth holds up to these. Unfortunately – not so well is the answer. While the idea is one I definitely enjoy, its not really written that well and that is sometimes painful.
Ringo’s Posleen saga is infinitely better as is Harry Turtledove’s Worldwar saga and while there are some really good ideas (I like the whole space ship landing in the Atlantic and growing) the stilted writing takes away from the story somewhat which is a pity. In addition, while you get what you expect with regards to the overall theme (i.e. aliens attack the Earth) there are too many similarities to other books, TV Shows and Movies to make it truly unique and there are no real “twists” in the story to make you really get into it.
Overall I’d probably only rate this as a 4, maybe a 4.5 out of 10 … I intend to finish the rest of the series and I’ll come back to this postif there are some changes in those books that warrant it. I guess the best I can say is read it if you have nothing else on the go – but know that there are better written and better executed series out there.
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I'm a geek! I love all things SciFi and Fantasy and have done since I first read LOTR as a kid. Escapism to fantastic worlds filled with weird and wonderful creatures initially for me was via books and comics, but with the recent surge in popularity of this fare in film and television also - I'm in a state of bliss! As the editor of Zone Six, I've been lucky to meet some other awesome authors and writers that share this love and passion. The great Ray Bradbury said - "Science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn't exist yet, but soon will .. it will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again."