Narrator: David Drummond
Series: Warstrider #4
Published by Tantor Audio on 28 April 2015
Length: 13 hrs and 19 mins
Genres: Hard Science Fiction
Dev Cameron helped the rebel Confederation defeat the Hegemony forces at Herakles, but his experience merging with an alien Naga consciousness has changed him irrevocably, and the rebellion rages on. After the passive DalRiss unexpectedly attack the Hegemony, Dev and Katya Alessandro are sent to meet with the aliens to determine if they have a common enemy. Their mission is critical to the success of the Confederation, but the difficulty of understanding truly alien intelligences makes a meaningful alliance unlikely, and doubts about Dev's capabilities loom even as he may be the only one able to make contact.
©1995 William H. Keith (P)2015 Tantor
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Dev Cameron, the reluctant hero, has saved the day on Herekles, but not won the war. The Imperium has overwhelming firepower and is determined to eliminate the rebellion. Douglas continues to dig deeper into the mind and heart of the Imperium led by an advanced Japanese culture. They are rigid and dictatorial, but they have maintained peace for hundreds of years. The listener gets a sense of why certain groups would rather keep the status quo than fight. It may not be the fairest system, but it is safe.
Symbionts is book 4 in the Warstrider series. Perhaps you are reading this because you’ve read the first three and are not sure if you want to continue on, or perhaps you just want reassurance the author has continued to stick to the story. By all means, keep with it. Symbionts is as good as the first three, perhaps a little more political with deeper levels of culture and backstory. But how many pulse cannon attacks can you write about, before that gets dull too. There is certainly plenty of action to keep the military SciFi going, but that is not the real power of this novel.
Dev is deeply damaged by his connection with the Naga. His mind has been altered in an irreparable way and he is fighting to keep his humanity. Katya is there for him, but being stretched thin. It is an interesting love story, more about sticking with someone you love when they are in deep conflict, not just when it is easy.
David Drummond reads this book as he did in the previous three, with his clear and enjoyable baritone. Certainly at this point, it would be unimaginable to change narrators. He has his quirks as this reviewer and others have mentioned in previous reviews. That is irrelevant now; Drummond is the voice of the Warstrider stories, period.
Douglas to his credit, wraps this book up at the end, giving a sense of closure to this particular book. Warstrider feels like a series of novels with familiar characters, not one long story, with breaks between books. Symbionts is as good as the first three, better in some ways, as a love story, and by giving us greater depth of understanding about the characters and future culture. It is not quite as action packed as the previous books, but you will not be disappointed.
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