Book Review: SPACESIDE by Michael Mammay

vertical text SPACESIDE splits the image in two, with the author's name on the left and a planet backlit on the right
Genre: Sci-fi (Military Thriller)
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - book 2

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for PLANETSIDE*

Synopsis:

Book cover for SPACESIDE: A large, streamlined spaceship flies past a small blue planet

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Thoughts:

SPACESIDE is a great follow up to PLANETSIDE, a book I devoured almost in one sitting. I liked returning to the same world, and seeing the emotional consequences of PLANETSIDE play out.

Mammay has said that these two books function as standalones, albeit it written sequentially about the same character. They definitely work like that, though I’d recommend reading in order, just to fully understand the weight he’s struggling under.

I also really liked the way the two were linked. At first, I though the mental consequences were going to be the sum of it, but there’s way more that happens. It made the two feel more connected, and has come very interesting consequences and decisions for Butler.

It’s a little slower starting than PLANETSIDE, setting up the corporate world and struggling to find leads before the murder kicks off. Once the murder occurs, however, it picks up and is a rattlestop race to the end.

The ending moves very suddenly into an action set piece, where everything goes wrong in a oh-my-goodness-what-horror-could-befall-them-next, where you feel like everything’s gone wrong already so nothing can top that last. The consequence, however, is that it feels like the tone has switched a fair bit, from a more intrigue-heavy plot to an action plot, where survival is key.

It ends on quite the cliff hanger, so I’m glad there will be a third book, even if Mammay has said it won’t be related to the PLANETSIDE/SPACESIDE story arc.


Read my other reviews of books by Michael Mammay

Planetside (this series):

Standalones:

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