Book Review: COLONYSIDE by Michael Mammay

Title in vertical white on green space
Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - final book in trilogy



Book cover for COLONYSIDE: title in white perpendicular next to image of an alien jungle

A military hero is coming out of disgrace—straight into the line of fire…

Carl Butler was once a decorated colonel. Now he’s a disgraced recluse, hoping to live out the rest of his life on a backwater planet where no one cares about his “crimes” and everyone leaves him alone.

It’s never that easy.

A CEO’s daughter has gone missing and he thinks Butler is the only one who can find her. The government is only too happy to appease him. Butler isn’t so sure, but he knows the pain of losing a daughter, so he reluctantly signs on. Soon he’s on a military ship heading for a newly-formed colony where the dangerous jungle lurks just outside the domes where settlers live.

Paired with Mac, Ganos, and a government-assigned aide named Fader, Butler dives head-first into what should be an open and shut case. Then someone tries to blow him up. Faced with an incompetent local governor, a hamstrung military, and corporations playing fast and loose with the laws, Butler finds himself in familiar territory. He’s got nobody to trust but himself, but that’s where he works best. He’ll fight to get to the bottom of the mystery, but this time, he might not live to solve it. 

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


COLONYSIDE is a great finale to this trilogy. It’s another really pacy mystery set in a galaxy undergoing military and corporate colonisation, with lots of factions at play. This entry balances the military and corporate sides, tangling them into a mess of conflicting desires and unequal resources.

As you might have guessed from the different colour and focus of the cover (though still clearly the same series) this book is not as “tightly” bound to the series as the others, unlike the more duology-like first two books. It’s still a mystery following Carl Butler, and we have returning characters, but the planet-bound nature of the book (rather than hoping between planets/space stations) does give it a slightly different feel, which was nice. I read this one on the backs of a re-read, and it was nice to feel a bit different.

We get Mac back from PLANETSIDE! And Ganos (from PLANETSIDE and SPACESIDE) is also back. In some ways, all three books in this series are standalones (plot-wise at least, emotionally, PLANETSIDE and SPACESIDE are very much duologies) so having several returning characters in major roles does lend it that more cohesive feel. Plus there’s a familiarity to them, given most of the cast is all new.

I really like clever, risk-taking techie Ganos – though I do appreciate that she has matured a bit by this book. She’s the most common recurring character, so it’s nice to get some development. Mac is the stallwart of the group, very much the dependable, protective one. They are balanced out by a new team member, Fader, who gave Butler a great sounding board and level-headed team mate. She was definitely the stand out new character for me.

Three books in, the reader has a feel for Butler, how he works. It was nice to see that used against both him and the reader. It certainly made the mystery so hard to solve because of all the false trails leading into his (and our) expectations. This also makes the villain/criminal more imposing if he’s able to play Butler so well.

I’m glad I was finally able to get around to finishing this trilogy off and I’m looking forward to picking up Mammay’s latest – a space heist standalone.

Read my reviews of other books by Michael Mammay:

Planetside (this series):


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