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I mostly wrote this to post on another site, then decided it made a decent review as well with a little editing. Be warned, I'm not concerned about spoilers.
So, why did Weber do it? Why did he ignore his usual infodump style and pull vampires out of nowhere to finish off the book?
Because of rocks.
You'll notice that there was a progression. After the initial attack the first thing the aliens tried to pacify the planet with was warfare, which we did well defending against because the aliens were unprepared for our tactics and more advanced than expected technology. The next was a biological attack to wipe us out so they could at least use the planet for settlement. We 'might' have been able to prevent that, but at the cost of the force attacking the base, so the vampires stepped in. The last was to just write off the planet and hit it with kinetic strikes, which we had no defense against whatsoever, as the early pages showed.
Mainline humanity could. Not. Win. We can't win. We never can against an orbital enemy. Sure we could hurt them on the ground, but they still had spaceships and rocks, and we didn't. So to highlight that, Weber used a deus ex machina, the vampires, to show just how screwed we would be short of an intervention that defied explanation (you'll notice that aside from listing their characteristics, he makes none of his trademark infodumps regarding the vampires.) I think it was great, the best alien invasion of the technologically advanced type I've seen.
TL;DR The vampires aren't meant to be believable or realistic, they're meant to highlight that there is NO believable or realistic scenario in which we defeat aliens that have spaceships when we do not. Because the aliens have rocks.
I have to say your opinion is well expressed, even if I disagree from beginning to end. Good, useful review.
Well, he could have always gone for a Downer Ending...
I have to agree here, and I saw the intervention of something else very early on in the book (the blurb on the back cover alone gave strong hints as to this). I liked the unexpected Genre Shift and the rather daring move Weber took with this book.
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