Books Military Science Fiction Young Adult

The Zochtil – Not a bad story idea but not so well implemented

The ZochtilThe Zochtil (Almek Manning, #1) by J.A. Dalley
My rating: 4 out of 10 stars

Jump to the Stars! Join the Solar Fleet!

The Solar Fleet faces just two problems: one, the alien blockade that prevents any ship from leaving the solar system, and two, the United Monarchy of Europe, which is tying up most of the Solar Fleet’s resources, thus preventing them from attacking the blockade.
Almek Manning is eighteen and wishes to join the Solar Fleet as a midshipman and train at the Academy. However, Almek has a few problems of his own to overcome before he can go to the Academy, the first of which is to escape from a United Monarchy of Europe detention facility.

I thought this book sounded promising. Sure it is not very long and with a very moderate price so it smelled a lot of “new and inexperienced author” but some of those books that I have read have been quite good. When it comes to this book I would say that the author needs to work on his writing and perhaps get some more experience. The main story about a kid growing up in a lawless wasteland that used to be London, managing to enlist in the Solar Fleet and then going out into adventure land is certainly a story that would appeal to me. However there’s so much wrong with how it is implemented.

Earth is bottled up by an Alien species that blocked their first ever attempt to travel outside of the solar system and yet they resort to civil war between Europe and some allies and US and some allies. Then we have the son of the captain of the first ever successful FTL-ship. He is left to more or less die in above mentioned wasteland by the authorities. I’m the first to call the European Union’s politicians and bureaucrats for assholes but that is still a bit far fetched. Also do not get me started about the “United Monarchy of Europe”. Seriously…monarchy? That is just so I-really-have-no-clue-but-I-think-they-have-kings-and-queens-in-Europe.

Basically, a lot of the story is written in a very infantile and unintelligent way, even for a young adult type of story. This inexperienced kid is rocketed to positions he can, in no way, be sufficiently experienced and qualified for in no time at all. The author also seems to have zero military as well as physics knowledge. For instance, space-ships with FTL-travel where you have to repeat all bridge orders verbally with a chain of physical persons? Some of the book is actually not bad reading but it never really manages to pull itself out of the swamp of nonsense that it rather quickly dug itself down into. Also, sometimes events that I would really like to read about in more details are skipped over with a a sentence or two. Like, “Hi Sky Admiral, we have some alien friends, isn’t that great, ok, next chapter…”.

The book is not a total train wreck but it is not going on any of my top-lists that is for sure. Having said that, given that the books are moderately priced I will read the next one in the series. The core plot of the book is not bad and I would like to see where it goes. Besides, how will the author get experience and improve if no one supports him and buys his books?

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