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Ghosts of War : Retribution by Paul Robinson

June 28, 2018

Brutal. That's the best word to describe this sci-fi tale of revenge. The deaths are violent, the world is grimy, and the action is bloody. The characters are where the color comes in. Cole Traske is a tortured protagonist carrying the ghosts of those before him and those he's killed. Ram Barnes brings a majority of the levity with a wry sense of humor and wit. Sol is the pilot, and draws some comparisons to a similar beloved character from another gritty sci-fi universe in a good way. Gregor is the rookie, he's new to the team making him the perfect tool to help us explore the world around them as he learns to fit in with the veteran group. Oren, Cole's best friend, brings a hint of nobility and loyalty that becomes critical to the team executing their mission. Then there's Kira, a 'street rat' that stows away on their ship and becomes important to each member of the team's morale. In terms of world building, Robinson introduces just enough of the greater universe to let the reader know there's more going on off the page without dwelling too long on it. The action sequences make you feel every punch, every slash of electrified blades, and every explosion. Upon finishing each chapter I wanted to immediately start the next one. Robinson does such a good job at building tension, paying it off, and then immediately ramping back up. There are some quiet moments where the team catches their breath, but the focus never strays from the mission. Ghosts is fantastic, and I'd highly recommend it to fans of dirtier space opera adventures.

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