Review: Spaceside (Planetside #2) by Michael Mammay

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis

A military legend is caught in the web between alien intrigue and human subterfuge… 

Following his mission on Cappa, Colonel Carl Butler returns to a mixed reception. To some he is a do-or-die war hero. To the other half of the galaxy he’s a pariah. Forced into retirement, he has resettled on Talca Four where he’s now Deputy VP of Corporate Security, protecting a high-tech military company on the corporate battlefield—at least, that’s what the job description says. Really, he’s just there to impress clients and investors. It’s all relatively low risk—until he’s entrusted with new orders. A breach of a competitor’s computer network has Butler’s superiors feeling every bit as vulnerable. They need Butler to find who did it, how, and why no one’s taken credit for the ingenious attack.

As accustomed as Butler is to the reality of wargames—virtual and otherwise—this one screams something louder than a simple hack. Because no sooner does he start digging when his first contact is murdered, the death somehow kept secret from the media. As a prime suspect, he can’t shake the sensation he’s being watched…or finally succumbing to the stress of his past. Paranoid delusion or dangerous reality, Butler might be onto something much deeper than anyone imagined. But that’s where Butler thrives.

If he hasn’t signed his own death warrant.

Review

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of Spaceside (Planetside #2) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

So, after sleeping on Planetside (Planetside #1) for a year, I binge-read it in a day and kicked myself for shelving it for so long. Knowing I had a copy of Spaceside waiting in the wings, I shuffled around my TBR to allow Colonel Carl Butler back into my life the following day and binged it as well.

Spaceside (Planetside #2) is a thrilling follow-up to what would have been one of my top debuts of 2018, had I read Planetside in a timely manner. Mammay has grounded himself as a mainstay and a must-read for anyone who enjoys the military sci-fi genre. Fan of John Scalzi, Joe Halderman, Myke Cole, and Nicholas Sansbury Smith, to name a few, will find tons to love here.

While we have already been introduced to our gruff Colonel in Book 1, Mammay gives us a more in-depth look into Butler’s mental state after his final actions in Planetside and during his new investigation in Book 2. Spaceside, though its title may sound more extraterrestrial, takes place on Talca Four for the majority of the novel while Butler takes on his new “mission” to figure out who is behind this major breach. This is a different path than was taken in Book 1, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and actually gives us a little bit of the world-building we may have missed last time around.

One thing I did notice was how the book was plotted. It has similar vibes to Planetside in that the story ramps up around the same time and ends quite dramatically, leaving you as the reader ready for the next installment. Nothing at all wrong with that as the story is almost night and day different from its predecessor.

All in all, Mammay has delivered another pulse-pounding installment to the Planetside series. Those that enjoy mysteries mixed with some big explosions, futuristic weaponry, witty banter, and premium whiskey, look no further. I have a feeling Book 3 is going to take us in a blindsiding direction and I cannot wait!

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