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Planetside

Narrated by: R.C. Bray
Series: Planetside, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (334 ratings)

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Summary

A seasoned military officer uncovers a deadly conspiracy on a distant, war-torn planet…

War heroes aren't usually called out of semi-retirement and sent to the far reaches of the galaxy for a routine investigation. So when Colonel Carl Butler answers the call from an old and powerful friend, he knows it's something big - and he's not being told the whole story. A high councilor's son has gone MIA out of Cappa Base, the space station orbiting a battle-ravaged planet. The young lieutenant had been wounded and evacuated - but there's no record of him having ever arrived at hospital command.

The colonel quickly finds Cappa Base to be a labyrinth of dead ends and sabotage: the hospital commander stonewalls him, the Special Ops leader won't come off the planet, witnesses go missing, radar data disappears, and that’s before he encounters the alien enemy. Butler has no choice but to drop down onto a hostile planet - because someone is using the war zone as a cover. The answers are there - Butler just has to make it back alive…

©2018 Michael Mammay (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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A Distinguished Butler!

This is an absolutely stonking read! It pretty much has all I want from a military sci-fi book and then some, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if it appealed to a wider audience than those who normally read this genre. First of all it goes without saying that the narration is damn near perfect for this type of book. RC Bray delivers an effortlessly urgent narrative that simply lights up the text. If you need a narrator to maintain a high tempo he is the man to deliver it.

This story delivers great action like good military sci-fi should though you do have to wait for it. Michael Mammay first lets us meet his leading man, Colonel Butler. He is no dashing young, laser-toting cowboy, he's an experienced hard-bitten commander who's been there and seen it all. The author doesn't make the mistake of making him infallible, this is a tough old bird who has retained his humanity despite the galaxy's efforts to strip him of it. As the mystery unfolds so does his character and background, by the end I was almost feeling Butler's aches and pains in my own joints, he doesn't get an easy ride.

The mystery is well-developed and multi-layered without ever getting too bogged down in anything overtly technical, the mystery aspects are given as much prominence as the sci-fi itself making for a genuinely engaging story. If I was to make on criticism it is that some of the writing did get repetitive in a small way, I lost count of the number of times Butler "failed to get a read" on someone else.

That's a minor quibble though, this is a seriously good sci-fi mystery / action thriller. It's always great when new authors come into land with such style and aplomb and I am very pleased to note that a sequel is on its way next year!

11 people found this helpful

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Now Waiting For Part 2!

While browsing the new releases section on Audible, I came upon a new science fiction novel by an author I hadn't heard of. I was unsure whether to check this book out but as soon as I saw that the narrator was the superb R. C Bray I immediately clicked on the "Play Sample" button. Within 30 seconds of listening to this I decided to use my last credit to purchase this title. The little I heard convinced me that it was worth a punt. R. C Bray is one of those rare breed of narrators who has just about everything. His delivery is unmatched and his reading style is so fluid and natural you'd think he was just telling you his story from memory. Any half decent author's work is greatly enhanced and brought to life by having Master Bray narrate it and it was this that got me to read this excellent book.

Bray is so dynamic that he could make a shopping list sound good. This is not to say that Michael Mame's writing is lacking in any way. No, on the contrary, he is an excellent writer with a style that is brought out to its best with the likes of R. C Bray reading it.

Michael Mame appears to be a new breed of sci-fi author that has a brilliant writing style that feels so natural and effortless but stands testament to the raw skill required to put together such fluid, dynamic and flowing prose. He doesn't waste pages on uninteresting elements to pad out his story nor does his pace fall off. Suffice it to say that I am very impressed with what I assume is either his first or one of his first books.

So, what about the story? Well, Planet Side is essentially a "Who Done It" type mystery where our protagonist is sent off to a far flung outpost to investigate the disappearance of a high level official. Sort of a Magnum P.I in space. That analogy might make it sound somewhat cheesy but it isn't at all. It is an entertaining page turner that will keep you interested all the way. I did have my suspicions as to what may have happened to the missing man by chapter 15 and I was close to the truth so was pleased with myself for that. That's not to say the plot was obvious so don't be put off by that remark.

There is a few twists and turns here so nothing is predictable in that way. One element to the story that puzzled me though was the lack of co-operation and downright hostility our protagonist met while investigating a lead that took him to the base hospital. Given this was a military and not civilian base complex and so too was the hospital contained within, that I do not understand this. Surely a high level officer sent by a higher level authority within the military would garner full co-operation from all departments of the base? I feel this aspect was somewhat contrived and can see no reason for it.

Minor plot oddities aside, this is an excellent read with real three dimensional characters and leaves us with the prospect of a sequel to this unfinished story. I, for one, will be adding that book to my basket as soon as it is available.


4 people found this helpful

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Tiresome unrealistic characters. Returned

Anybody who has worked in or with the military knows that people are still people. They don't walk around stiffly and speak formally all the time. So it is annoying when books like Planetside bury normal interactions in stiff shirt fake militarism. It is stereotypes characters and obscures the story. Every problem becomes a military one.

1 person found this helpful

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INVESTIGATE SCI-FI AT ITS BEST...

Fantastic smooth ride...
This is a read that both the story and narrating match perfectly...
It's not a simple fact that R.C. BRAY is the master but the story and characters are so easy to associate with...
this a review after I read books 1 & 2 back to back and put book 3 in my library...unfortunately book 3 is not out until December 2020...
that said I've pre ordered it and cant wait...
this will be the same review as book 1...

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Excellent

One of the best books I've listened to this year. Good science fiction elements and great detective crime mystery elements ultimately leading to planet extinction level threat. It's so well written! The hard choices the main character is forced to make can't help you wanting to see what the consequences are going to be. I listened to the whole thing in one day - couldn't help myself and suffered my boss' wrath for it. It was worth it.
Also R.C. Bray's voice is pure gold. I'm now 100% convinced that he is the best narrator on Audible!

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No redeeming feature

What a nonsensical story, I kept hoping for a real twist but there isn't one. Definitely not recommended. Well I guess if you are looking for a mindless story about blowing things up then this might be for you.

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Tense with well solid characters

great book, with great narration. the plot is detailed and well thought out, with just the right pace to keep you engaged. well worth a read/listen

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Enjoyable

I have to like the characters in a book, and I did here. Brought to life by RC Bray whose storytelling style is great as always.

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R C Bray is as good as always and a great story

R C Bray is as good as always and a great story. Very good listen during my commutes and really enjoyed the story and characters. Time for the next one...

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almost 5 star

I almost gave it 5 stars, 4.5 maybe, r c brae as good as ever.

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  • Rebecca Enzor
  • 02-08-18

Couldn't put it down!

I started listening to this book the day it came out and finished it the next day. If you like space ships, aliens, wise-cracking MCs, lots of action, and a good mystery, this is the book for you! Plenty of surprises, and Butler is a well-rounded character with a good sense of humor. I especially love the scenes with the reporter, Plazz, because Butler is at his wise-crackingist :) Plus, RC Bray as narrator is the *perfect* grumpy old colonel. Definitely a must-listen!

67 people found this helpful

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  • Tyson S Sukeforth
  • 28-09-18

95% Excellent. The last 5% mediocre.

First out of the way: R.C. Bray is and continues to be my favorite narrator.

Without giving too much away, a great mystery story that does a good job of building over time. Believable characters. Great pacing. And then stumbles a bit when it's time for the grand finale. I don't know if I'd call the ending *bad*, (because I've read my fair share of books that started great but had well and truly horrible endings and this doesn't fit that,) but it wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped. That being said, while in many situations I'd call a disappointing ending enough of a reason to not recommend an entire book, in this case I'd say it's still an overall good book worth your time.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Ian Wallace
  • 20-03-19

Ignore other reviews about ending

I almost skipped this book due to this being Mammay’s first book and the reviews about the ending. Impossible to really explain much without spoiling it, just trust the other positive reviews. Totally worth it, creative plot and that ending is... you are going to have to find out for yourself. Best Sci-fi of 2019 for me.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Duemig
  • 01-08-18

Refreshing Sci-Fi

I’m not sure how many space operas and military sci-fi books I’ve listened to but it’s quite a few. Planetside is a refreshing shift from the majority. It’s not about two civilizations slugging it out or technological wonders of the future but a story of investigation that happens to be set in space. Perhaps it’s due to RC Bray’s narration but it reminds me quite a bit of the surly humor and style of Andy Weir. R.C Bray’s narration lacks in variation for each character but he always makes up for it with perfect timing and a voice they is easy to listen to. Overall a must read (listen) for me.

71 people found this helpful

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  • Richard
  • 01-01-19

Interesting story, abrupt ending

I enjoyed the story, but when the end came I was like; "wait...what?" You can infer what's happening/going to happen, but there's no definite 'closure' to the story.

Either way, still worth the listen. As always, RC Bray is amazing.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Midwestbonsai
  • 19-09-18

Action, Adventure and Conspiracy - Exciting!

“Planetside” is a rollercoaster ride of action, adventure, and conspiracy. It is a military contemporary science fiction story which appears to be right in the author’s comfort zone. The book is authored by Michael Mammay, and it appears this is his first work published on Audible. I could not think of a better narrator for this title than R. C. Bray. He is an exceptionally talented narrator and I have many of his other works in my personal library. The duo is such a great pairing than of both story and narration. The outcome is welcomed in a rather densely populated genre. If you enjoy listening to well written and performed science fiction that contains action, twists, and a sprinkling of humor, I recommend you give Planetside a listen.

The author did an exceptional job of revealing the story which opens by presenting the listener with many unanswered questions along with a few bits of mystery. All the way through the book, there is a level of suspense that keeps one engrossed and attentive. The story and technology felt well researched and believable for a science fiction piece. The technology was not thrown in to make the book feel science fiction; not at all. It was more used to augment or assist the story going forward. The listener really gets the feeling of being a part of the story as the book progresses. It is also clear the author has a military background as the book contains many aspects of formality, rules, and procedures. Something one would expect to find if they were in a military service organization.

The author included a fair amount of background as the first half of the book is about them traveling to become planetside. This first quarter of the book is not something that can be skipped so one can jump right into the action. He uses this time to develop the book’s characters, give us a view of the technology, and provide us with an overall view of the world and situation at hand. I like when an author takes time to develop a story using different and interesting creatures. We are not simply presented with your run of the mill alien. One wonders if these are friend or foe, and here is where things get very interesting. The author used a level of detail that helped me to see the world I was a part of. From the flow between action and narrative, it was well balanced. With the solid storyline and the great narration, I felt at times that I was watching a movie via my ears. It all really clicked and worked. There are little bits of humor thrown in to help relieve tension. One of the spots that had me laughing out loud was when a character yelled, “Bad guards!”. If you listen, you will know what I mean. I find it refreshing also to listen to a book that when it is over there is not another to pluck and continue. Most of the story plots are closed up and there are no requirements to listen to additional books for the conclusion. Just note that the book’s conclusion comes at a rapid pace. I was not sure how the author was going to accomplish this task, but it was well done and, in the end, it did not feel rushed.

The book’s narration is of the highest level of both professionalism and quality. Mr. Bray does a great job voicing the many different characters and gives each of them personality making it easier to distinguish one from another. His rich and deep tone help set the stage and overall feeling of the book itself. There were no audio artifacts or other blemishes I can recall while listening, something I would expect from a seasoned narrator. I can say that I have never been disappointed with any of his narration works and always enjoy when I get a chance to listen to him.

For parents and younger readers, I would not recommend this book to younger audiences as there is a fair amount of vulgar language and sexual topics throughout. It is not more than one would expect from a military science fiction story, but it is there and heavy at times. There are also some scenes consisting of graphic violence; yet, again not a surprise for the genre. It is a very well written book, yet I would suggest it is more geared toward adult or mature readers only.

In summary, this is a contemporary science fiction story that at first masquerades as nothing more. Yet, it when it opens up and one begins to see the many facets, this is where the book shines. If you are a fan of either science fiction or like a good military mystery, I recommend you pick up Planetside and give it a listen. I also look forward to more books by this author in the future.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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29 people found this helpful

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  • James Staley
  • 02-12-18

Good build up to an abrupt ending.

Great voice performance as always.
But the story just had a very abrupt and unsatisfying ending.

13 people found this helpful

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  • James ODonnell
  • 07-08-18

Excellent sci-fi

I haven’t listened to a debut sci-fi this good since Taylor’s WE ARE LEGION. This book has all the spacefaring action, plot lines, and tech you’d expect from a book titled PLANETSIDE, but with an element of mystery that really sets it apart. On the mystery side, I have to admit, I guessed the big bad pretty early on, but the ending took me completely by surprise. That was the perfect ending.

As for the narration, RC Bray never disappoints, and this book is no exception. Any fan of Alanson’s COLUMBUS DAY needs to make this book their next listen.

Five stars all around

17 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-08-19

75% good, 25% bad

The first 75% of this book was pretty good, had the feel of an old black and white detective movie, but in space. It fell off pretty hard with the last 25%, almost like a new author came in with a different idea for the plot/ending. It ended like the author was trying to reach a certain word count and when he did, suddenly he wanted to end the book as soon as possible. R. C. Bray is always fantastic.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dwayne Fyffe
  • 12-09-18

Superb narration that enhanced a so-so story.

Awesome, then it lagged, awesome again, then fell off a cliff.

2 highly interesting points about this experience was of course the narration which was 10/10 in-cred-ib-le.... and the fact that the writer was thoroughly familiar with the nuances of military personnel interaction.

Enjoyable read.

8 people found this helpful