Written by:
John Steakley
Narrated by:
Tom Weiner

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
September 2009
13 hours 38 minutes
The planet is called Banshee. The air is unbreathable, the water poisonous. It is the home of the most implacable enemies that humanity, in all its interstellar expansion, has ever encountered.

Felix is a scout in A-team Two. Highly competent, he is the sole survivor of mission after mission. Yet he is a man consumed by fear and hatred. And he is protected not only by his custom-fitted body armor, the culmination of ten thousand years of the armorers’ craft, but also by an odd being which seems to live with him, a cold killing machine he calls “the Engine.”

This bestselling science fiction classic is a story of the horror, the courage, and the aftermath of combat and also of how strength of spirit can be the greatest armor of all.

This book is so completely different in both content and quality from his other book, that I almost feel like it is a different author. Imagine "Starship Troopers" done grim, and serious... This book rocks!!!

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i have read this book about 3 or 4 times and have read pieces of it numerous times ... its an action pack book that doesn't let down at all ... it has a good story line and keeps you on the edge of your seat as to who is who and whats what in the world that felix and his engine lives ... its hard to find , so having it as an audiobook is great.

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Emilie F.

For me this space war book is second only to Starship Troopers. It’s smart and great action.

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My final rating is 2.5 out of 5 stars. I really wanted to like this book more. For the first few hours of listening to the audiobook, I was so into Felix's jaded plight of doing yet another drop into the ant war on Banshee, wondering if he would die. If the book would have focused on the war with the ants and the internal bureaucracy of Fleet that's shown to us later in the book, this would have been a 3.5 or even a 4-star read for me. I loved the intense shellshock thrust onto the cast, the harsh alien world of Banshee, and the war machine of giant ants who act like animals and advanced beings all at once. Felix struggled to establish relationships, and his tragic backstory explained later added to his inability to express intimacy. I wanted more Felix and the terrifying ants fighting a human military apathetic to their soldiers' lives. That was all lovely. But then Jack Crow happened. Yes everyone's favorite (or least favorite) space pirate takes up first person narrative in the second half of the book. His story intersects with Felix's at the end, but at the expense of finding out if the humans win the ant war. Jack has a reputation and just kind of bumbles to a space prison to the planet of Sanction. I was compelled by the politics of Sanction. Its owned by an privileged alcoholic who inherits the planet, so it falls into turmoil. As a result, Borglyn and company take advantage of Jack, Holly's Fleet project, and other unfortunate locals for their own gain. There's a unionized rebellion force who wants to use Jack to fight Borglyn. They're mentioned once and while I wanted more of them, showing the locals fighting an advantageous force away from a war was compelling. Crow wasn't. Jack Crow is Spike Spiegel without the suave charisma. He's a rebel and a drifter who follows his own lead, but he's never fun or clever to read while he has the steering wheel. I got so bored being in his head because unlike Felix, he felt really hollow. People love him or hate him based on his reputation, and he just goes along with it. It felt artificial to fill his character with. Holly and Lya feel that he's useful but he treats them like shit when all they want to do is finish Holly's project. He doesn't add personal input and only shows skepticism, and he always felt like a petulant child to read. The passages where he had aggressively violent sex with Karen didn't add anything to the story either. Although I liked Karen's backstory. Crow's sections of the book are longer than Felix's. This book did have me by the collar and compelled me to read to the twist at the end. Armor made me feel a lot of sympathy for the scouts and warriors when they fought their enemies. There's so many horrors of war passages in this book, and they're all very disturbing and compelling. The way that Steakley writes the ants is always compelling and even frightening. Holly and Lya were charming to read about, and I always felt invested in their project. Lya also broke down in tears over a particularly hard to read passage about a dead puppy in a well. Steakley knew how to get readers reading. I'm pretty sure this book inspired every blockbuster scifi video game ever because it reads like playing Halo or Mass Effect. But Jack Crow brought his book down like a saggy mattress. I would go so far as to say he could have been scrapped combined with Felix. Armor is fun but it suffers greatly from its middle.

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Gerald M.

one of my favorite books of all time.

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