Review: Planetside (Planetside #1) by Michael Mammay

Rating: ★★★★☆+


A seasoned military officer uncovers a deadly conspiracy on a distant, war-torn planet…

War heroes aren’t usually called out of semi-retirement and sent to the far reaches of the galaxy for a routine investigation. So when Colonel Carl Butler answers the call from an old and powerful friend, he knows it’s something big—and he’s not being told the whole story. A high councilor’s son has gone MIA out of Cappa Base, the space station orbiting a battle-ravaged planet. The young lieutenant had been wounded and evacuated—but there’s no record of him having ever arrived at hospital command.

The colonel quickly finds Cappa Base to be a labyrinth of dead ends and sabotage: the hospital commander stonewalls him, the Special Ops leader won’t come off the planet, witnesses go missing, radar data disappears, and that’s before he encounters the alien enemy. Butler has no choice but to drop down onto a hostile planet—because someone is using the war zone as a cover. The answers are there—Butler just has to make it back alive…


Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of Planetside (Planetside #1) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

Why did I sleep on this military sci-fi juggernaut? Heck if I know. This is a fantastic debut from Mammay and deserves all of the praise it has received over the course of the last year or so. TBH, the only reason I brought it back up my TBR was because Harper shot me over an ARC of Spaceside (Planetside #2) a few days back and I figured it was time to see what all the fuss was about.

When an author writes military sci-fi, it is always a good idea to speak with someone who knows their stuff so you can inject it into your story and make it sound authentic. Well, Mammay is a retired army officer and a graduate of the United States Military Academy. He has a master’s degree in military history and is a veteran of Desert Storm, Somalia, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Needless to say, his years of education, service, and real-life experience in the midst of several wars flow seamlessly into his writing career. You can tell he has been there, seen some stuff, and lived to tell the tale.

What really drew me into the story was the character of Carl Butler. It has been a while since I have been so drawn to a protagonist, whether in the sci-fi or fantasy genre, and have such a strong desire to see them succeed. When the going gets tough, Butler, somehow/someway, always found the grit needed to press on and that is something that I think anyone who reads this novel or series can take away. Never give up; pick yourself up by your bootstraps and fight the good fight.

While I cannot directly pinpoint a bunch of “If you liked this, you’ll love Planetside” titles, the one I keep coming back to is District 9. Not the entire storyline, but there are some machinations that Butler comes across throughout the last half of the novel that felt like semi-nods to Blompkamp but were original enough to keep the story fresh.

If you enjoy military sci-fi with grit, dramatic and explosive gun fights, and plenty of mystery wrapping, give Planetside a go. It is one that never lets off the gas and delivers the goods.

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