Audiobook Review: The Hot Gate by John Ringo

11 05 2011

The Hot Gate by John Ringo (Troy Rising, Book 3)

Read by Mark Boyett

Audible Frontiers

Genre: Military Science Fiction

Quick Thoughts: Despite some issues, The Hot Gate is an entertaining novel that most fans of John Ringo will love.

Grade: B

I am a fan of John Ringo. I stated that at the beginning of my review of Citadel and I will reiterate it at the beginning of my review of The Hot Gate, the third book in the Troy Rising Military Science Fiction series. In fact, I hold John Ringo mainly responsible for introducing me to military sci-fi. His Posleen War series was probably the first major military sci-fi series I have read, and I enjoyed it so much that I began searching out more and more similar types of books. That is one of the things I enjoy about reading, sometimes you take a chance on something different, or maybe pick up something that has elements you like, but elements you have never really tried before, and it opens the door to so many new authors and works. I originally read A Hymn Before Dying mostly because it had some Post Apocalyptic elements and it was recommended on some PA boards. At that point the majority of my science fiction readings were within that subgenre, now, my sci-fi base has greatly expanded. I have John Ringo partly to thank for that.

I enjoyed The Hot Gate. I say that with some reservation. The majority of the book was from the POV of Engineer’s Mate Dana “Comet” Parker. Parker is truly a great character. She’s well grounded, principled and utterly likeable. The first two-thirds of the book, for the most part, dealt with the culture clash between her, and Latin American members of the Alliance. Parker is sent to the battle Station Thermopylae where the majority of the personnel are from South American countries. While I enjoyed the interplay and cultural differences, at some points I felt uncomfortable with caricatures of the South Americans in the story. Ringo may be dead on with how they behave especially the upper class of the Argentinean society, but, not being knowledgeable about that subject it felt a bit, well, politically incorrect.  Yet, as a fan of Ringo, you come to expect him to never let political correctness get in the way of a good story. The last third of the book mainly dealt with the battle between the Alliance forces and the Alien baddies determined to control the Terra System and Alliance space. Unlike most of Ringo’s battle scenes I found this one a bit cluttered and hard to follow. There were some fun moments, and some tragic moments, but it was hard to keep the overall battle straight in my head. My biggest problem with the novel came from my expectations. From the beginning the Troy Rising series was advertised as a book in three parts, and I expected this third book to tie all the lose ends together and gives us the big finale. Yet, I only discovered after reading it, that Ringo has decided to expand the series beyond the trilogy, and The Hot Gate felt more like a segue book than a finale.

Mark Boyett handles the narration and does a fine job. He’s a solid narrator and does an excellent job with some characterizations. That being said, I think some of my confusion in listening to the battle scenes is that his alien voices don’t really come off all that alien, and I tended to have a hard time remembering which individual character was an alien baddie, and which was a human good guy. Other than that small issue, the audiobook production was pretty solid. Being that the book was told mostly from a female POV, it was a good thing that Boyett handles female voices pretty well. While I had my issues with The Hot Gate, it was still an entertaining novel that most fans of John Ringo are sure to love.

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