William C. Dietz: Into The Guns

into-the-guns-cover

I received a free physical copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

America is rising from the ashes of a global catastrophe, but in the wasteland that was once the USA, only the strong can survive…

On May Day 2018, sixty meteors entered Earth’s atmosphere and exploded around the globe with a force greater than a nuclear blast. Earthquakes and tsunamis followed. Then China attacked Europe, Asia, and the United State in the belief the disaster was an act of war.

Washington D.C. was a casualty of the meteor onslaught that decimated the nation’s leadership and left the surviving elements of the armed forces to try and restore order as American society fell apart. As refugees across America band together and engage in open warfare with the military over scarce resources, a select group of individuals representing the surviving corporate structure makes a power play to rebuild the country in a free market image as The New Confederacy…

Into The Guns is the beginning of a series by William C. Dietz following two main characters, Robin “Mac” Macintyre and Samuel Sloan, as their lives change following the destruction of the United States government following the meteor strike and the subsequent actions of China’s rash decisions upon the country. Macintyre goes from leading a small unit within the army to commanding a gang of mercenaries, whilst Sloan goes from the political position of Secretary of Energy to a position far more powerful. Both experience many highs and lows throughout this novel as they hope to bring this country back to its feet, facing against warlords and those vying for power.

I really did not enjoy this novel. From the offset I found myself annoyed and turned off by various issues within the writing and pacing, frequently finding myself distracted within my own mind as I read through the pages. Many times I found myself going back to the book intent on reading a large chunk to find myself done and dusted after 10 pages, barely able to keep going due to this distraction and the issues that arose.

One such issues I found was Dietz’ use of abbreviations/acronyms in place of long names/titles. Particularly at the beginning, I found that I was either provided with an acronym that was then never used again, or that acronyms were provided without outlining what it stood for. An example would be Dietz use of JBLM; there was no mention of what this stood for and, considering I have no knowledge of the American military, this left me vastly confused and questioning why this acronym was being used. It is only now, after having Googled it, that I am aware it stands for the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Base situated in Tacoma. Similarly, there was no clarifying information as to what BOQ stood for, and though there are some more easily identifiable acronyms such as XO for Executive Officer, Dietz really should have supplied some sort of glossary for those that may be new to, or have limited knowledge, of military fiction.

An annoyance I experienced mere pages into the novel was the main character, and this was something that then continued throughout. Both Robin Macintyre and Samuel Sloan are in no way described in any sort of detail. Upon first being introduced to Mac we are informed that she is in charge of a squad and was wearing running gear… There was no mention of defining features or details on skin, hair, or eye colour. Due to this, I found it hard to fully picture the character as the only time any mention was given to these features was when the characters family was mentioned and her looks proving to have similarities to certain family members. However, some side characters received more thorough descriptions (not totally in-depth but enough description to picture) which I found confusing as they were not key to the novel itself.

I found Into The Guns to be very fast-paced – a possible reason behind my continuous distraction in that I could never fully keep track of where a character was and how much time had passed. Dietz does not linger or delve into too much detail with events, even skimming over those that are more key to the continuation of the storyline. An example would be the first initial battle scene within the novel: it was not action-packed in a way that I would expect from military fiction, and was written as if Dietz was giving quick, concise instructions on how to attack and disable the enemy. Characters would come and go like the wind, Mac or Sloan getting into conversations that barely lasted half a page, or they would pass through cities and towns without so much as a glance at events taking place. I found that a lot of the narrative was these characters simply passing through, or travelling long distances without any description or additional events taking place to add flavour and imagery to the novel itself.

And finally, I found myself frequently annoyed by the incessant use of questioning throughout the narrative. A lot of Dietz narrative continuation involved questions that the character themselves would ask, or the reader, that he would then proceed to answer. Into The Guns is primarily a TELL novel as opposed to a SHOW. In this regard, I found myself not paying attention as much in that everything was spoon fed to me: why would an enemy character be doing this? Here’s your answer! It didn’t leave anything to the imagination and I was sorely disappointed.

With all that said and done, I’m afraid this is a series I will not be continuing.

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