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  1. The Charge of the Light Brigade (poem)
  2. A Soldier's Duty (Theirs Not to Reason Why, #1) by Jean Johnson
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Plus, you can tell this was a labor of love for Jean Johnson, who truly possesses talent and a neverending supply of good ideas. Some deus ex machina is acceptable, a whole book's worth is simply too much. Ia, you white-haired minx you. You are stonger than an ox, more graceful than an Olympic figure skater, more humble than Ghandi, and are a better shot than Chris Kyle, but I just don't know if I can see you anymore. But you probably saw that coming Mar 15, Lyndi W. I did it again. This time, I had a little difficulty - I kept remembering moments from books and getting choked up.

I've read this 7 times now, so we're quickly catching up to Harry Potter. There's no greater compliment I could give this book, so this is my entire review. View all 10 comments. Apr 16, James rated it it was amazing Shelves: This was an amazing book. What really got me was the uniqueness of it; of having a pre-cognitive protagonist who is aware of everything that will happen except for a few grey spots.

Jean Johnson really brought a new set of problems to the table with this characterisation and in my humble opinion, blew me away with them. This could easily have turned into a mary-sue fest of the main character kicking butt from dawn to sunset, and while Ia certainly flourished and succeeded she was still This was an amazing book. This could easily have turned into a mary-sue fest of the main character kicking butt from dawn to sunset, and while Ia certainly flourished and succeeded she was still challenged to her very core.

And the stakes that were at risk really brought a new flavour to the genre, as while you know it is horrible you are never truly, fully aware of what it is that she is fighting to defeat.

Only that it is the worst possible thing ever to happen to man kind. Five Stars Everyone in this book was beyond amazing. They were all so amazingly developed and deep and real, that they really struck a cord with me. I have already talked about how Ia blew me away, and how the challenges that faced her were handled expertly and molded her character not only brilliantly, but accurately. I cannot wait to see how she and the galaxy of amazing people that orbit her progress. Some of the best characters in the genre. Five stars I'm forcing myself to be as short as I can, because if I let myself have a free reign I will go on and on and on about how great this book was, and in the end the review will simply be too much for you to read.

So I will be short. This plot was unique as I have already mentioned, the challenges that it brought for the character, the reader and the author were brilliant and amazingly well met. The aliens were created wonderfully, including the game playing energy creatures, pirate aliens and psuedo-monk leaders. I loved every moment of this.

One of the best plot lines in the genre ever, and one of the best plot lines I have read in the last five years. Five Stars Once again. It kept me captivated throughout. What I thought was particularly skillful was the way that she tempted us and teased us with hints of the future without giving anything away; her balance was perfect giving you just enough to want more but not enough to spoil it. I was at first confused at the time jumps, but soon they came to fit the storyline and were an integral part in the whole process. Loved every moment of it. I aspire to write this well, she has few equals Overview: Five Stars I loved this book.

I loved the plot. I loved the characters. I loved the writing. If you are in any doubt about my thoughts on this book you are an idiot. You should be reading this now. Get yourself a copy. One of the best in the genre, right here. I cannot wait for the next installment. I can only hope my own writing - if I ever do anything with it - can reach just a tenth of this quality. Aug 17, Kara-karina rated it it was amazing. The scope, the sheer complexity of it all is on par with Dune.

I have to admit straight away, this is not a book for everyone and my 10 out of 10 is highly subjective because I personally grew up with reading and rereading Dune, and gobbling up extremely popular military sci-fi in Russia for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is like a blast from the past. A Soldier's Duty has been on my shelves for about months, and then this Sunday I suddenly fancied some sci-fi and picked it up. Next thing I know it's 1. I finished it the next day and ordered book 2 straight away.

Now I have a bookish hangover which happens when the book was so good you are not quite ready to turn your attention to some other read. You probably know exactly what I mean! There is always a barrier, am inner detachment in her which comes from seeing everyone's future all the time, the numerous probabilities in time currents.

The things this woman has to keep in her head would drive an average person mad, but she perseveres because failure is not an option. Failure means the annihilation of her galaxy. Ia as a recruit and then as a Marine is always at the front of all action because it's the only way she can control the outcome.

Because she knows how to drive the events for the desirable outcome, her actions become incredible, even legendary feats of bravery, and the whole book is one total non-stop fest of action, fights and battles while each of the event serves as another chess piece in Ia's Game. It's really hard to describe this book, and I don't really want to give any spoilers to those who think they would appreciate the genre. Jean Johnson as a sci-fi author is a pure evil genius. I couldn't stop reading. Highly recommended, but not for sci-fi beginners I think: Aug 22, Helen rated it did not like it Shelves: This books was really disapointing.

It was well written and put together, but I just didn't find enough in it to keep reading. The premise was interesting: So Ia enlists in the marines and hilarity ensures. She has such a grip on both the near and long term futures that there is no dramatic tension. She gets into all sort This books was really disapointing. She gets into all sorts of scrapes and ponders the ethical implications of it all, but I never felt like she'd fail in her task. Thinking about it, I also know the chances of David Weber 's Honor Harrington snuffing it are slim-to-none, but I felt the sacrifices she had to make.

For example; I've recently re-read The Honor of the Queen and I'm thinking of the pain and turmoil she feels at view spoiler [ her mentor's death, the rape and murder of her fellow Naval Officers and the decion to meet the Thunder head on to defend Grayson hide spoiler ]. Ia feels none of this. Her fellow marines are there to be used as tools to be used - and I just didn't like it. Jan 24, Lizzy rated it it was amazing Shelves: Although not a romance novel but pure sci-fi, the plot creative and I could fully understand and grasp with ease Ia and her choices.

I found it fascinating from the first pages: Ia herself and her family, Earth and the other worlds that are immersed in a galactic war and how the existence of precognition in itself can change events. Even the perplexity of the military, of how it operates in the future, can be crucial as a framework to the story.

It is about a precog who can see all probable scenarios way into the far future, specifically a culmination of destruction for the galaxy unless Ia herself can manage to maneuver her course and of others down a definite path so as to prevent the foreseen annihilation. I may not be able to convey how good this book is: Oct 14, Blodeuedd Finland rated it liked it Shelves: I always have a hard time remembering what people are named in books.

Of course I keep track of who is who, even if there are lots of characters. But as soon as the book ends names slip my mind. Well not this time, Ia is an easy name to remember ; That and the fact she was totally kick-ass. Anyway, I did not end up liking the book as much as I wanted to. As always do not get me wrong. That does not mean the book is bad. No, it was well-written, thrilling and interesting. Will she save the univer I always have a hard time remembering what people are named in books.

Will she save the universe? The negative thing is that it was very very heavy on the tech and military jargon. Not something I find particularly interesting to read about. Also this one character was so hard to understand. Just like I tend to skip sex scenes in other books none here thought, nothing of that sort at all , when it came to be too much military stuff I skimmed.

It's not that it was heavy, just boring for me. But I do wonder what happens next. It's quite the undertaking to write about someone trying to save the universe hundreds of years before things go bad. And I do wonder what will go wrong? If you like sci-fi then yes give it a go, or if you like military books, action, suspense. Aug 21, Linda rated it it was amazing Shelves: I really enjoyed her other books and was so excited to find out about this series.

This is more of a Sci-Fi book than romance but it was really good. Ia that is her name is a futuristic colonist on a world with more gravity than earth which makes the people who live there very strong, she is also precognitive sees the future. As a young girl she has a vision so horrifying that she must put aside all of her dreams in order to keep it from happening.

She joins the Marines a futuristic space version of them and put her plans into action carefully considering the consequences of each major action to the future. I really enjoyed the style of this book each chapter begins with a letter sort of a little preview of the chapter, then it goes into detail. While overall this is not a funny book there are lots of funny parts in it. I love a letter she sends to someone who is involved in her plans "look for the man with two earrings in his left ear. Forgive him on the second date, ignore the incident on the third.

Sep 01, Chris rated it really liked it. If you like military science fiction, you'd like this book. It had a good pace, without completely bogging you down with details. Unfortunately, that is also a downside. Johnson throws a lot of stuff at you, and while the immersion is good by just mentioning things like you should know, it takes her a while to find a way to explain things.

The main character of Ia is amazing. She's witty, talented, powerful At times she seems far too overpowered, If you like military science fiction, you'd like this book.


The Charge of the Light Brigade (poem)

At times she seems far too overpowered, but if you like that kind of thing like I do you'll love this. It's nice to read a book with a female protagonist that's not hooked on what's in every man's pants all the time. Another thing is the cast of characters can get a little daunting.

There are some characters that have a name that resemble another's, so it can get to be a bit of a head rush trying to keep everything straight in your head. Overall it was a good book if you want to completely lose yourself in a nice book where the main character is always super bad ass and ready to kick ass. Sep 28, E. She determined that she would need a military background to supplement the physical advantages conferred to her by her beginnings on a 'heavyworld' and joins the Marines, excelling in her service and honing her skills.

The dichotomy of being able to use precognitive knowledge yet discerning the single path to achieve her goals with minimal negative outcomes shapes her actions and her single-minded preparation that lead her to enlist at the age of A fantastic read that blends a fascinating glimpse at military life with a sci-fi twist even as one watches the crucible that hones someone who feels that she is predestined to be the savior of multiple worlds and beings.

A great book for fans of space opera who enjoy strong female heroines. Jan 10, Moira rated it it was amazing Shelves: Apr 28, Mitchell rated it liked it Shelves: An endeavour read and not nearly as bad as I was expecting. Straight out military combat fiction that in some ways reminded me of Piers Anthony's Mercenary series.

The main character was a ridiculous super-powered Mary Sue out to save the future. And yet the conceit of a battle precog with short-term lookahead and lots of other powers as well as a manipulating spider with long-term lookahead was interesting. The actual combat dragged a bit. I was interested enough to read the preview 3.

I was interested enough to read the preview of the next book, which looks pretty good and not possibly not quite the same as this one. A promising start to a military science fiction series starring a woman who takes no guff. Not as sharp as Ann Aguirre's Sarantha Jax series but a good start indeed. Apologies for the vagueness, I left this review too long. Check the various other reviews on GR. Wow what a surprise read!

Ia was a really loveable character. She was brave and strong, and even in moments when it seemed like everything was too Wow what a surprise read! She was brave and strong, and even in moments when it seemed like everything was too difficult to go on, she had the mantra of literally saving the world to keep her going.

One of the biggest issues I had was the minimal conflict.

A Soldier's Duty (Theirs Not to Reason Why, #1) by Jean Johnson

Even I thought it a sci-fi romance was until I started reading. Featherbrained Books Blog Twitter May 22, April rated it really liked it Shelves: Librarian For me, A Soldier's Duty was like a much needed breath of fresh air. Not only because it was a fun, character-driven series opener with a strong, vivid female lead, but because it lacked romance of any kind.

The best parts of the book were the details and the way the future was set up as a far more open-minded, complex place, which I appreciat Originally posted CSI: The best parts of the book were the details and the way the future was set up as a far more open-minded, complex place, which I appreciated. Too often Science Fiction becomes preachy or dated because it tries to so closely mimic or parallel current events. A Soldier's Duty does its own thing, not bothering to hone in on Earth in terms of politics or culture, but to expand beyond that.

This feat is easily accomplished because although Ia is human, she is not from Earth and hails instead on a world called Sanctuary. She is also a second generation first-worlder as well as a heavyworlder which means she's capable of more than most when on planets, stations, etc. She also has mothers, so basically Ia is pretty awesome.

While training and at her first few assignments, Ia is surrounded, for the most part, by other humans hailing from Terran United Planets, but there are plenty of aliens around as well. I am especially intrigued by the Feyori who are responsible for creating humans with precognitive abilities and who view everyone as part of an elaborate game of Chess crossed with Risk that they're playing against one another. I cannot wait to learn more about them or to see how Ia continues to prove herself worthy of having her own faction.

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Following Ia's career as she moved from soldier all the way to officer was a pleasure although some sections worked better for me than others and the first half of the book was a bit more enjoyable for me. The second half covered a larger span of time though so a lot had to be packed into not necessarily enough pages. And even when I wasn't sure I agreed with her approach to superior officers or crisis situations, I never stopped liking Ia though or caring about what would happen to her.

The journey she's taking is certainly an interesting one. She definitely teeters on the edge of being overwhelmingly, blindingly special, but Johnson never quite throws her over it. Johnson also does a great job of sharing Ia's motivations as well as actual reasons for why Ia does certain things the way she does them, which I thought was fascinating. She has to keep quiet because the events she sees playing out can change based on the slightest alteration and she doesn't exactly know all the points she has to hit along the way to get to her main objective. She doesn't always feel the need to explain herself the few times she does share her visions or her abilities, which is a bit annoying, but she also lives in a universe where people can have precognitive abilities, telekinetic powers, and telepathy so the skepticism is not as hard to overcome as it might be in a different setting.

I think what also helps balance things out is Johnson's approach to Ia's abilities. Yes, she can see the future, but time is constantly changing and evolving. She's definitely not the most gifted precious precog snowflake out there either, and even when she's certain of how to get from Point A to Point B, Ia still has to do whatever it takes to get there. That journey isn't always pleasant and often requires a lot of fortitude, conviction, and inner strength. Due to being a precog and aware of future events, it does make sense for Ia to shy away from people, especially in the instances where she can get a good, solid sense of what will happen to them further down the road.

Since A Soldier's Duty acts as Ia's origin story, I think that loner vibe worked for the most part because all heroes tend to start off on their own and some even stay that way. Moving forward though, this might become problematic. I'm glad that, based on the excerpt for An Officer's Duty in the back of my ARC, it does look like she will go home to at least talk with her family and that will probably help. But at some point it gets ridiculous for Ia to do everything on her own.

I would certainly not object to her getting someone to be the Samwise Gamgee to her Frodo Baggins or I guess maybe something more along the lines of the sensible William Bush to her precognitive Horatio Hornblower, but I digress. Only two aspects of the book really irked me and both of these are pretty minor things. The first was Ia's singing at various intervals and even making up a song about herself on the spot in a bar after one battle. I imagine it will work for other readers, but for me it came across as sort of awkward particularly in the middle of her trying to torture information out of someone.

I was also really disappointed by the way Ia earned her nickname, not just because it was so easy but because it wasn't for doing anything really chilling that a moniker like Bloody Mary would suggest. Similarly, the more I think about it, the weirder it is to me that she would even get a nickname like that because I have a hard time believing anyone would remember Bloody Mary in Unless they were naming her about the alcoholic beverage, which would just be sad.

In conclusion, really, really good and definitely the start of something awesome! If you've tried other Science Fiction series with female leads only to find them to be dated or not be very progressive in one way or another, I would suggest moving on to the Theirs Not to Reason Why series. Or if you simply want a book where a female character sinks and swims based on her own insights and courage as well as precognitive powers all the while knowing that the fate of a galaxy will be determined by her actions, this is the book for you.

And now I'm off to pine for the sequel. Oct 04, Elfe rated it liked it. I really like the idea. And the story isn't too bad, the characters acceptable. But the writing isn't good.

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It's mostly telling and information dumbs. I found myself reading exceptionally fast and skimming over paragraphs when it was clear that it wasn't crucial information. I'd say this book has a lot of potential, but you'd have to rewrite it. Focus more on the action, the characters and the conflict created by Ia's gifts, and not telling stuff that is boring and has n Generous 2. Focus more on the action, the characters and the conflict created by Ia's gifts, and not telling stuff that is boring and has no real effect on the plot.

Nov 19, Marlene rated it it was amazing. We first meet Ia as a year-old on the Terran colony of Sanctuary as she navigates the time-streams after a horrifying vision of the future annihilation of human civilization. Through her frantic search of the possible futures for one tiny glimmer of hope, we catch a glimpse of our heroine as well. Her precognition is a recognized fact, and this future accepts psi-powers, A Soldier's Duty is the opening title in the new military science fiction series, Theirs Not to Reason Why, by Jean Johnson.

Her precognition is a recognized fact, and this future accepts psi-powers, at least to some extent. She is a determined, even driven individual, who will sacrifice her dreams, even her very definition of her self, to salvage everyone who can be saved. Three years later, the moment she reaches legal majority, Ia joins the military. She gets herself a berth as a recruit of the Terran Space Force Marines. It is here that the story truly begins. The future she has seen tells her that she must be a "boots on the ground" Marine.

Not an officer, and not the member of Special Forces her precognitive powers entitle her to be. Also, she must walk a fine line between displaying exactly how much she knows of future events, and being promoted too quickly, and knowing just enough to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. She can never get too close to anyone, because she knows the fate of each person she meets--she has already seen it in the time-streams.

Spock said, but Ia lives it, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or of the one. In both stories, a person without military experience but a lot of knowledge is thrust into the military at the entry level and applies their full intellect to the problem at hand to provide a new solution to old problems.

All the while providing interesting observations in a unique voice to their superiors and to the audience. Ia also reminds me a lot of Sgt. Kerr is also a woman in the Space Marines, although Kerr remains a noncom and proudly so.

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A Soldier's Duty ends, appropriately, with Ia being promoted to Lieutenant. The next book in the series is An Officer's Duty, and it unfortunately will not be out until sometime in The series title is very apt in some ways, but not in others. That is the point of the story. She will do and do and do, and will die before her task is done. Some of her tools also know, but some don't. Those have served the future, and done, and died. But unlike the poor sods in the Light Brigade, their commander seems to know what she is doing. It is well worth reading her story to find out what she will do next.

This is the first book in a new series that I have started to read. Well, it is not new in the sense that the first edition was published in but it is new for me in that I just started to read it. This is not the usual marine grunt story. Sure there is the marine training followed by plenty of violent action as one would expect when one brings in the marines. But behind all of this runs the story of Ia which is what makes this book interesting. As the book blurb tells us Ia is a precog, an un This is the first book in a new series that I have started to read. As the book blurb tells us Ia is a precog, an unusually powerful one, who knows that if the flow of future events is not guided to be the right one then the Galaxy will be devastated.

She has a few more abilities and somewhat of a special story behind her. The marine part and the action in the book is quite okay. Nothing fantastic but okay. If it was not for Ia, her abilities and her quest, then the book would be a rather average one. The book does not really start off with very much background and much is simply thrown in the face of the reader as the story progresses. Sometimes this is a bit annoying. I would have liked a bit better world building and background story in general. Given that the author goes to great lengths in some places to describe things, like the ten different types of ammunition that the standard marine projectile rifle can fire, the book feels a bit unbalanced in that sense.

As I wrote before, it is Ia and her quest that makes the book so interesting. Not only does she have to succeed in her military training and her later marine objectives but she also have to manoeuver through the possible future events and ensure that the right ones are chosen at key points in the future. There is plenty of action along the line and she does definitely earn herself her nickname of Bloody Mary.

After the first couple of times these perfect speeches became a bit tiresome. The flaws that I have mentioned is relatively minor though and on the whole I enjoyed following Ia on her quest. I will definitely continue reading since I really want to know where everything leads. After all, the book really gives no clue as to what exactly is expected to happen in the future to cause this devastation that we are told will happen. Feb 10, G33z3r rated it did not like it Shelves: An intriguing fantasy premise sadly devolves by the end.

Ia is "a strange visitor for another planet, with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal women". The world is a human colony on a heavy gravity planet at the cutting edge of human space. She's born with some interesting abilities. She has psychic precognition, and she's foreseen a disaster that will destroy all the civilizations in the galaxy, humans included. She's devised a long plan to set the future onto a better course, a plan An intriguing fantasy premise sadly devolves by the end. She's devised a long plan to set the future onto a better course, a plan that starts by joining the Terran Space Force, rising in the ranks, and getting the galaxy ready for what's to come: So, we have some of the boot camp vignettes seen in many Hollywood movies, followed by a montage of missions, both peacekeeping and disaster relief.

And precious little light shed on whatever this "master plan" she has. Sadly, as the novel progresses, Ia reveals more and more powers. Her precognition lets her foresee enemy actions and counter them before they start. Then she reveals telekinesis and telepathy and mind control as part of her psychic arsenal, plus a magic sword that cuts steel like butter and changes shape to her will.

She out-runs, out-shoots, out-fights, and out-thinks everyone; she catches knives in her bare hands, dodges bullets, deflects laser beams with her sword, and surfs a tidal wave. She does all this for the purely selfless motive of saving the galaxy, one child at a time if she has to. She eschews all personal pleasure to execute her grand plan. She's a super-soldier, and everyone loves and idolizes her except the bad guys, of course.

And by the end, the book is so thick with paeans to how totally marvelous she is, it drags the original story premise down to childlike wish fulfillment. Nov 07, Rich rated it liked it Shelves: What convinced me to buy the book was the idea of someone who can see the future devoting their life to altering it. The actual book spent about half the time during main character Ia's basic training and the other half on shipboard duty.

The boot camp chapters went well enough, but the book slogged down during the second half.

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It went from battle to battle without a break. I'd have liked to have seen less battle and more time for introspection and character building with Ia. For a heroine of a What convinced me to buy the book was the idea of someone who can see the future devoting their life to altering it. For a heroine of a novel, she's very one-dimensional. Theirs Not to Reason Why Series: Titles in Order Sort by: Latest to First First to Latest. It began with a terrible vision of the future. But shortly after they board the Damnation to return to battle, a new threat emerges.

After several centuries of silence, the Greys are back, and the Alliance must now combat both a rapacious, sadistic enemy, and a terrifying, technologically superior foe. Ia has asked nothing of her crew that she herself has not been willing to give. But with two wars to bring to an end—and time running out—Ia must make and execute the most terrible choice of all….

Series: Theirs Not to Reason Why Universe

Some of the Feyori, energy-based beings of vast power and arrogance, are moving to block her efforts under the direction of her counter-faction foe, Miklinn. The Terran Army Division stationed on Dabin is not cooperating with her battle plans. Events are not happening as Ia has foreseen, and too many people are now in grave danger, thanks to alien Meddling. The Meddlers, however, have made one fatal mistake: Now Ia is captain and commander at the helm of Hellfire, where she is finally free to chart the course for the fulfillment of her destiny… As captain, Ia must now assemble a crew that can rise to the ultimate challenge of saving the galaxy.

The hardest part will be getting them to believe her, to trust in her prophecies. The Salik are breaking through the Blockade, plunging the known galaxy into war. Ia cannot stop it this time, nor does she want to. This is the terrible price she has seen all along—that some must pay with their lives so that others might live. But on a trip back home to Sanctuary, she finds the heavyworld colony being torn apart by religious conflict.