An Intense Military Thriller
Escalation was one of those books that I went into with completely open thoughts on. I hadn’t heard much about it or it’s author and I was pleasantly surprised by the pacing and the overall story arc that Nealen wrote. You can tell that Nealen was a military man himself (from his Amazon author bio: Peter Nealen is a former Recon Marine, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and something of an aspiring renaissance man). The book itself is a lot of intense military action.
The way the action and firefights were written are believable and honestly almost too much. I mean that in a nice way though. They were so intense that I had to catch my breath after reading them.
The story itself is an interesting one. The opening half of the story is set up like any other missions. Maybe a little different (thankfully this was in audio, I would have butchered the pronunciation of Triarii (which is the group the main characters are members of). The bits and pieces of information that are sprinkled in about the Triarii were fascinating and it definitely makes me wonder if there are real Black Ops groups out there similar to them.
The story feels ripped out of the headlines (and literally opens with headlines explaining how the world is falling apart). I think that Nealen wanted to write about a near-future (10ish years) in the future, but we’re so close to what he was writing now it feels almost like non-fiction instead of a near-future military thriller.
I had two minor issues with this book. The first was that, while I applaud Nealen for not doing a full-on info dump in the introduction of this book (we are thrown right into a rescue operation) there wasn’t enough information about each character given to help differentiate them from each other. While this was done as the story progressed, by then I was already confused as to who was “important” and who was ancillary to the story.
The second was that the “pick ups” done by Steve Marvel were distracting-ly obvious (a pick up is when a narrator has to go back and fix things that were wrong like pronunciation of words). They weren’t everywhere but Nealen wrote a book with a lot of foreign places and names in it, so every time one of those was wrong, you’d hear a completely different tone come in (not just a different tone of voice, but the recording itself sounded different). While normally these things don’t bug me, I wanted to point it out since I was surprised to hear it in a Tantor Audio book.
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