Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it was even better on the second read. It was realistic and believable.
I enjoyed the level of detail you provided to develop the scenes/story lines—This made it more vivid and felt as if I was there as I read. The only spot it felt a bit heavy in detail was when Alex was at the training site. However, your detail will allow a reader without military experience or reference a chance to understand the rigor and requirements to meet the companies need.
The addition of the threads of history, based on location or action woven into the scenes and a story was a big plus. The clear knowledge of history helped to further develop the protagonist, other characters, and the overall story. The knowledge definitely helped to deepen the character of Alex, showing him as more than just a mercenary.
I appreciated the vulnerability that you allowed the protagonist to show throughout the book. The first time I noted the vulnerability was in the hospital scene early on, during his recovery. You were able to show this in other portions of the book and again this deepens the attachment of the reader to the protagonist…. great work on allowing that to show through!!
The love story was another great add to the book. The way that you developed her character using the “prior” relationship, that eventually landed her with her parents in theater was strong and credible. Although her demise was graphic it is aligned with the overall context, culture, and location.
You did a great job of showing both the good and bad of the contractors in theater…. from training/equipment/mission preparation/actions from the company; it was relatable and realistic.
I loved the way you wove the story of Haider from the beginning through to the very end, showing the full character and circumstance of the antagonist….it allowed a better understanding of the increase of his beliefs and goals.
Strong ending and clearly allows for a good transition to the next book. I like that it wasn’t just a clean ending that wrapped everything up neatly with a bow. It is clearly leaving it open to a follow-on action/book. I can’t wait for the next one!!
Have a great evening.