Continuing on with my Short Read Sunday idea, in which I review a short read every Sunday (you’d have never guessed what the title meant if I hadn’t explained, I’m sure) this week I decided to go with ‘Garrison’ by Nigel Edwards as I really fancied sinking my teeth into some military fiction.
On the contested Iron Flats, two young recruits face their first battle. Will they die? Will glory cover them or ignominy taint their name? Only the morrow will tell.
Watching over them is enigmatic veteran, Von. He knows that when soldiers fail, the army relies on veterans to fix them… whatever it takes…
Author: Nigel Edwards
Publisher: Greyhart Press
Release Date: 14/07/2011
My chosen format: Kindle
My rating of Garrison: 2 out of 5
I don’t expect mind-blowing covers for shorter reads (even though Danse Macabre was gorgeous) so the simple image of a garrison with an almost watermarked soldier’s head above it, doesn’t really bother me too much. I’m not a huge fan of the publisher slapping their image on the front, though. And why is the ‘I’ in Nigel’s name lower case when every other letter on the cover is upper case? The blurb is good. Gives you all you need to know and really sets an image in your head for what to expect. Raw recruits, impending battle, grizzled veteran: GO!
The idea with a short read is that you can blast through it in one sitting … with Garrison it took me a good three or four. This wasn’t due to the length, it was due to the first half of the book. The writing seemed like it was aimed at a lower reading age and, well, nothing seemed to happen. I couldn’t develop an attachment with any of the characters (or even find myself liking any of them). Another major gripe on my end is that none of them act like they are in the military. Discipline seems to be a thing that happens to other people. At one point a junior officer was on the verge of refusing a senior officer as though it was an everyday occurrence. That, coupled with really uninspired dialogue just turned me right off the book. Dialogue is probably my main moan about the entire book, to be honest.
When I say they don’t act like they are in the military, you have the protagonist and his friend, raw recruits admittedly, just acting like high school kids. The veteran just seems to act like a kindly grandfather who would much rather spend his time giving long, drawn out speeches than anything else. Some of the less likeable characters come across more as pantomime villains than anything else. There is a scene in a guardhouse that just screams pantomime.
Garrison does get better. The battle, and most of what happens after it is surprisingly good. It feels like the first 55-60% were written by a different author. Just feels totally different. In fact, the last 40% or so is the only reason the rating got dragged up from a 1 to a 2.
Garrison, with all the impressive reviews on Amazon (UK) seemed like an enjoyable prospect. As it is, I feel very let down. If it was a full length novel, I very much doubt I would have got through to the end.