I’m still being crushed (under a mountain of paperwork) at my job, so I don’t have time tonight to write up another magazine review and continue my last Four Apes story. Instead, I thought I’d put down a few words about a story by fellow blogger JD Brink.
While thinking about what to write in tonight’s mini-review, I was reminded of my mini-review of Brandon Sanderson’s “Snapshot”. The two stories don’t share plot elements or similar characters, but both are very short, very entertaining, and have story elements that other authors might learn something from.
The Thorne Legacy is a military sci-fi story that opens with some family drama. Normally, I can’t stand family drama in my science fiction, but I thought it worked really well here. So, maybe I don’t hate family drama as much as I thought — I just hate pointless family drama and poorly-written family drama, and most examples I read fall into one or both of those categories. This particular drama is between a young NCO (I think, I’ve forgotten his rank) and his father, who is a high-ranking officer. The young man is scheduled to face a court-martial the next day, so as you can imagine, the conversation is tense. It also provides the story’s background without seeming at all like an infodump.
Proceed no further, unless you want your court-martial spoiled.
So, the court-martial never happens … because there’s an invasion. This is the one part of the story I wish had been done a little differently. The plot jumps ahead in time here (unless my electronic device had a glitch), having the characters crawl out of their destroyed vehicle. I felt the author missed an opportunity to show some additional chaos in the initial moments of the attack, with uncertainty about what’s going on, who’s attacking, and whether the lower-ranking soldiers should follow the orders of someone they were guarding as a prisoner moments before.
Whether or not you agree with my comments above, you should enjoy this story if you’re at all open to military sci-fi, as The Thorne Legacy stays tense from beginning to end, without any filler. The ending does something really unusual these days in SFF — something I’d like to see more of, but won’t discuss here because it’s too much of a spoiler. I may devote a separate blog post to the subject in the future.
There is a follow-up collection of three stories set in the same universe, The Scythe of Kronos.