This was terrible. Everything is needlessly complicated, and it feels like the authors tried to shoehorn another trilogy of stories into this book. Plot lines from the first three books get abandoned in favor of creating another alien enemy and cramming in nonsense.
Some of my problems from the third book are fixed. We only have one narrator; unfortunately, Flynn is telling the story. I’ve grown to dislike him and his convenient incompetence over the course of this series of books.
By the time this book was finished, I had no idea what the point of this story was. It felt like I was reading a knockoff of The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, but one that completely missed the psychological effect of time dilation. I didn’t like this book at all.
Remember when this story was about fighting demons that a race of aliens genetically engineered? Well, that storyline gets wrapped up in the first few chapters. All of them are dead, even though a big battle was built over the first four or five chapters.
Our heroes, and I use that term loosely, arrive on “Fredworld” and discover that the battle is over. A third group beat them there and killed off the entire race. They find one of these “Newbies” and bring it back to life so they can find out what happened. Then they kill it.
So, the aliens that started all of this are dead. I guess we can go home. Nope! Flynn decides that the Newbies are now a threat, and they have to die. Flynn had decided that he needed to kill something, and these new aliens would have to die. Why? He does give us an explanation, but it is essentially nonsensical.
By the way, almost 200 years have passed at this point. The Newbies have evolved in that time, the human race has changed, and all the interesting characters have died.
Remember when Ken told us about the cryptic plans for the human race? Remember when Jill was abandoned in L.A. and was fighting all of the alien collaborators? Remember how Albert was left behind at the alien base because of his accident? I wish the authors had written about one of those stories instead of this one.
They find some of the New Humans after traveling to another planet. They’re now about 300 years in the future. These New Humans speak broken English, have no idea what religion is, and are terrible soldiers.
The Newbies have evolved to be the size of a virus and have infected these New Humans. None of them seem to notice, and it isn’t having much of an effect on them. Flynn creates a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist and decides to help the New Humans.
Flynn, Arlene, and some others are stranded on this other planet while the Newbies head to Earth. The Newbies are apparently weak to religion. Flynn starts preaching to the New Humans, and many people are killed. So, our heroes spend another hundred years or so traveling back home.
They arrive on an abandoned Earth. They find out what happened to Jill and Albert. Ken isn’t mentioned, so fuck him. Some bullshit happens, and the book comes to a merciful end. We’re 483 years into the future, everyone is dead, and nothing is resolved.
Everyone I cared about is Dead
At some point, I stopped caring about Flynn and Arlene. Maybe it was the disappointing way the evil aliens were killed off-screen, or perhaps it was the introduction of the New Humans. Either way, these two helped to make the book worse.
These are the same people who could build a spaceship from scraps, devise tactics on the fly, and fight off waves of undead and demons. Their intelligence waxed and waned as the story went on. In one moment, they seem to know everything and can do anything, and then a page later, they seem confused by something simple. Then they make tactical errors like not realizing they’re flying an enemy ship when approaching a planet.
I grew to dislike both of them and the story they were in as it got more complicated and pointless. We never find out what the impact of the mission to attack the evil alien’s base was. I would have instead followed Jill and Ken as the Earth forces tried to drive the demons off of Earth. That would have been better.
Following Jill’s story in L.A. would have been more exciting! Learning about how the new Earth government formed would have been better! Hell, learning about why the Earth was abandoned at the end of the book would have been better! Because of the time shifts, the war was probably over when Flynn and Arlene did anything.
Instead, we get the confusing conversations of the New Humans, the occasionally helpful Klave, and a new enemy that is never explained. Time travel is also sometimes brought up but isn’t explored that well. It felt like the authors heard about The Forever War and ignored the psychological impacts on the soldiers.
Every character with an interesting story was either killed off or written out of the story in favor of Flynn and Arlene. By the end, they both sucked.
Questions with no answers
We were left on a terrific cliffhanger when the third book ended. Our heroes were all heading into an uncertain future. You had Flynn and Arlene going to the home world of the evil aliens, Albert was left behind, he wasn’t going to see Arlene again, and Jill was stranded in L.A. surrounded by enemies.
It was too much for one book to cover, but why was everything so complicated? Nothing is easy in this book. Explanations go on forever and don’t make much sense.
Who are the Newbies, and why are they doing what they’re doing? They’re an alien species that evolves faster than any other species. We’re not sure why they do what they do or evolve the way they do.
Why were the Newbies introduced to the story? I have no idea. Maybe they would be the protagonist for another series of Doom books, but I can’t be sure.
How did Jill survive the war after Flynn and Arlene left? How did Albert get back home from the good aliens’ base? What happened during the war to chase the demon/aliens off the planet? What impact did Arlene and Flynn’s mission have on the war? None of these questions get answered.
The ending only creates more questions. Where did the humans go? How did the Newbies infect the humans? Are there other humans that the Newbies didn’t infect? Is Ken still alive? How did every religion disappear from Earth? Why is religion/faith the only weapon against the Newbies? What are the other aliens doing?
None of these questions will be answered because the series ended, and the next two Doom books are about Doom 3. It is rather annoying.
This is the worst book in the series. Events that should have been a big deal, like the evil aliens being killed off, fell flat for me. The introduction of another alien species raised more questions for me.
Having these new aliens become a virus and infect the humans was dumb. It could have been interesting, but the discovery of it was stupid. It was another example of Flynn’s convenient incompetence that annoyed me throughout the entire book.
It wasn’t just Flynn and Arlene who were incompetent when the book needed them to be; the Klave aliens were also stupid when they needed to be. When our heroes try to return to Earth, they realize they don’t have a pilot. However, they do have pilots! The two Klave aliens have shown that they can learn to fly anything, so they should have been able to learn to fly the Earth ships. Instead, the authors have our heroes build a supercomputer, which wastes several days of space travel.
I could write more about how dumb I thought this story was, but I won’t do that. I think the authors intended to have a longer series where they could have explained more of what was going on, but they had to end it with the fourth book. This is just speculation, but it is the only thing that makes sense to me.
I was very disappointed with this book. The story got overly complicated, and all the interesting characters were killed. This would have been better if it wasn’t trying to tell an ambitious story in one book.