Ed Ruggero’s Firefall was a disappointment.
On paper, it had a lot to recommend. It was written by a veteran Ranger. I heard good things about his premier novel, 38 North Yankee (which I still haven’t read yet). Because of these, I had high hopes for it.
Sadly, it was a let-down for two reasons. The first was the simple prose. It’s just ‘meh’. Not absolutely bad or unreadable. Just “meh”, a middle of the road cheap thriller that was firmly in the forgettable middle of the pack. The second is the plot, a rare case when the post-USSR scramble for different opponents turned out poorly. The zombie sorceress in charge of coming up with the opponent pulled “neo-fascist German militia” out of her hat.
This made me disappointed in it. It probably made me disappointed more than I should have been, but still. The zombie sorceresses were purely and simply unnecessary. The list of potential opponents that can credibly threaten a ranger company/battalion is much, much longer than the remaining national-level challenges that technothriller writers tried desperately to find. What would be a mild opponent (in big picture terms) to a heavy brigade is something far worse to a light, unconventional one. In many cases, the ranger unit would need every force multiplier available to not just get crushed.
So what I was hoping for was someone using genuine expertise to lend a slightly fanciful story a hand. What I got was merely decent prose in service to a story that exemplified a bad trend in action/technothrillers. Namely, taking an out-there concept/threat and treating it in a bland, po-faced way.
Firefall is not bad, and viewed in another context it would work as a “51% book”, but I still found it disappointing.