Title: The Misfit Soldier
Author: Michael Mammay
Series: Misfit Soldier #1
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Overview: Sergeant Gastovsky–Gas to everyone but his superior officers–never wanted to be a soldier. Far from it. But when a con goes wrong and he needs a place to lay low for a while, he finds himself wearing the power armor of the augmented infantry. After three years on a six-year contract, Gas has found his groove running low-level cons and various illegal activities that make him good money on the side. He’s the guy who can get you what you need. But he’s always had his eye out for a big score–the one that might set him up for life after the military.
When one of his soldiers is left behind after a seemingly pointless battle, Gas sees his chance. He assembles a team of misfit soldiers that would push the term “ragtag” to its limits for a big con that leads them on a daring behind-the-lines mission, pitting him not only against enemy soldiers but against the top brass of his own organization. If he pulls this off, not only will he save his squadmate, he might just become the legend he’s always considered himself. He might also change the way the entire galaxy looks at this war. But for any of that to happen, he has to live through this insane plan. And charm rarely stops bullets. -Goodreads
Yep, it’s official: Mammay is my favorite scifi author.
I find myself genuinely excited for each new book, and that giddy anticipation for a new book is something I haven’t experience a lot of lately. These are my feel-good scifi reads – make way, Becky Chambers.
One of my favorite things about Misfit Soldier was the humor. The characters find themselves in a few awkward situations, but the overall tone of the narration and cheeky perspective of the main character is what makes this book so charming. Gas is such a fun character – equal parts resourceful and able to bullshit his way through the rest. Even the cover tag line, “One Man. No plan. What could go wrong?” Practically drips with that sardonic humor that I love so much about Mammay’s books. All of his works so far have been quick-witted and filled with that dry situational humor I love so much, and this was no exception. One scene in particular had me busting a gut… so good.
I also really enjoyed the structure of this book. Essentially, it was a science fiction high-stakes heist novel! There’s a grand scheme which required the gathering of a highly skilled (and quirky) team, but instead of breaking into a bank for some loot, they were figuring out how to get planetside behind enemy lines to retrieve a soldier. I love reading about people with special skills in any field, so it was especially fun to see these people work together to make things happen. All with a great payoff to boot. It’s one of those stories where you have to let go a bit and trust the process that there’s more going on than what’s on the surface.
Overall this was an absolute delight – I can’t wait to read what he comes out with next.
Recommendations: if you love cheeky scifi like Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and Wells’ Murderbot, this book is right up your alley. Great characters, fun plot, and excellent dry humor – what’s not to love?
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by Niki Hawkes