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Troy Rising: Mixed Bag
Troy Rising is a series that has two goals. The first goal is to show an accurate portrayal of how a first contact with an alien race would go. The second is to flesh out the story of First Contact in the webcomic Schlock Mercenary.

In and of itself, it manages both of these goals pretty well. It shows how Earth throws off the Horvath, beats the Rangora, and establishes itself as a first-rate power extremely quickly with out-of-the-box thinking, Sci-Fi ideas, and trillions of tons of nickel-iron propelled by an Orion Drive. It stays within the setting, and doesn't pull random deus ex machinas out of nowhere.

Unfortunately, what may turn you off of the series is the author himself. He tends to stick his views into everything, from his opinions on how he doesn't like cities, to the current (Obama) administration, to South Americans, and even on other Science Fiction series. Yes, there's lots of stuff blowing up and ingenuity, but at the same time it kind of gets derailed a lot by a sudden analysis of tax code and bureaucracy, or on Ringo's views of the mainstream media. Even if you support his views, he tends to make those who agree with these viewpoints in the story appear to be reasonable, rational people, while making those who disagree with him look like foolish children. This tends to make the characters come across as somewhat arrogant, and makes them less likable.

On the other hand, when the story is actually going on, it's not bad, as long as you like infodumps. Which I do. But even then it can get a little on the heavy side, leaving only about a hundred pages (maximum) for actual story, once you cut out the infodumps and the Author Tracts.

Unfortunately, both of these flaws are major staples of Ringo's writing style, so if you're not a fan of this series, you probably won't like his other series that much either.

In short, while the books have decent plot and some cool ideas (solar-powered lasers for the win!), they aren't good enough to really stand on their own. If you like Schlock Mercenary, which this is based off of, you might try giving it a read, but the writing is just a little too clumsy and self-centered for me to recommend it.

Tl;Dr: It's not really worth it. Cool idea, poor execution, too much Author filibustering.
Good review. I have to disagree about the deus ex machinas, because they're everywhere in the first book at least (as far as I got)- they just concern his views, not the plot. For example, the vaccine that every single fundamentalist group everywhere of every religion and creed rejects and thus they all die off. Or the side effects of the disease including horniness, human litters, and an increased number of blondes. It has the general effect of of making the plot seem to skip from one thing that Ringo has an opinion or interest in to another rather than having cohesiveness on any scale besides chronological.
comment #15110 Westrim 29th Jun 12
Generally agree, but yes the plague thing that happened to kill off everyone the author doesn't like was incredibly unsubtle and off putting. To say nothing of the main character's commentary on it serving to make himself really unlikable.

It's a John Ringo book, if he'd can the stupid hack political strawman crap he'd be a pretty decent writer. Hell in the first book the main character doesn't even have a reason to despise "Liberals" beyond the fact he apparently thinks anyone he doesn't like is a liberal.
comment #20034 Eban 3rd Jul 13
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