Review: Cry Pilot by Joel Dane

Cry Pilot by Joel Dane

Synopsis and Details:

A devastated Earth. Rogue bio-weapons. And a recruit with secrets. In this explosive new military science fiction novel, a tight-knit infantry squad is thrown into battle against a mysterious enemy that appears without warning and strikes without mercy.

There’s only one way for a man with Maseo Kaytu’s secrets to join the military: by volunteering for a suicide mission as a ‘cry pilot’. He cheats the system to survive, but you can’t fake basic training. Assigned to a squad of misfits, Kaytu learns how to fight, how to obey, and how to trust. Yet the more he bonds with his fellow recruits, the more he risks exposure of his criminal past. 

Keeping his secret is about to become the least of his problems. Kaytu discovers that his platoon is being deployed against a new kind of rogue bio-weapon. One that has torn apart every military force it’s ever faced . . . .

Series: Cry Pilot #1  |  Genres: Military Fiction, Science Fiction  |  Release Date: August 06, 2019  |  Publisher: Ace  | Pages: 416  |  ISBN: 978-1984802521  |  ASIN: B07KDY6JJZ  |  Format: ARC  |  Source: Penguin Random House

Review with Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I can’t say that I read a lot of military science fiction but when I came across Cry Pilot I knew this was a book I just had to read. What truly made this story fascinating to me was the dystopian setting. There were important parts of the background that have to do with space, its occupation and colonization on worlds other than ours, but the true setting for this book is Earth. An Earth that has been ravaged by wars and neglect to the brink of utter devastation where almost everything short of humankind had gone extinct.

The remnant of human civilization on Earth were either living in Freeholds or corporate enclaves which were divided by territories and ruled by different corporations. These corporations acted independently of each other, had their own militaries, and were all taking part in the terrafixing of the planet. While humans were waiting for the terraformation of the land and ocean’s flora and fauna, hoping to bring about a world where they could once again live freely as their ancestors had, there were forces working against them…mainly the tech that was left over from the previous wars.

In this time, the main enemy of humankind were artificially intelligent war machines, called remorts, which were regenerated bioweapons from the former age. Fixing the planet was being done autonomously and the protocol for what was “fixed” was anything ecological, which unfortunately included discarded war tech because it had biological components to it. Once resurrected, these remorts became autonomous killing machines with genetically engineered instincts to do what they were “born” to do, destroy.

This was what the corporation’s military were tasked with, the taking down of the remorts that were waging their own personal war. It was into this world that Maseo Kaytu desperately wanted to involve himself. He was a man who was haunted by the choices he made in his youth and was willing to do whatever he could to atone for his choices, which made getting into the Shiyogrid Armed Forces his top priority.

Unfortunately for him, the military didn’t recruit enlists from a warzone, especially not refugees like Maseo, it was against corporate policy. Desperation breeds desperate choices and Maseo was a man who was desperate to atone for the lives he cost as a child. He needed a chance to enter the military and he truly tried to go about enlisting the proper way but when all doors were shut to him, he had only the one avenue left.

Before they ascended, the AI’s had created artificially intelligent war machines such as CAV’s (Combat Activated Machines). To function at all the CAV needed a human “passenger” and the CAV’s were essential to win against the larger remorts. The only issue was that the passenger, aka cry pilot, rarely ever made it out alive but it was truly a necessary evil. Knowing the odds, there was some incentive given for the lucky few who might manage to survive.

If they, by some miracle, survived their time in a CAV, they were immediately granted a chance to train for the military, which came with its own benefits for those who were made to choose being a cry pilot in the first place. It was this chance that Kaytu was vying for, this opportunity to make it into the military. He needed to even the score that had dogged him for more years than he wished to count and he felt that this would be the way to balance the scales.

Right from the beginning I was drawn into this story by seeing the lengths that Kaytu was willing to go to become a CAV pilot. It was slightly comical, but also very freaking crazy! I needed/wanted to understand his desperate need for redemption and why he chose the battlefield of all places?! I will also admit that there were parts in the beginning where I did zone out a little (sooo much information) but that feeling quickly passed as the story picked up.

After my initial curiosity was satisfied, it was the supporting characters, the camaraderie, and the battles that kept my eyes glued to the pages. The characters were flawed, but flawed in the best of ways and to see their growth individually as well as a platoon really made this book memorable. There was also much in the way of action, violence, and military tactics which would appeal to any fan of military fiction. Overall, Cry Pilot just gives the reader a wild ride in every way possible and it is a story that I would highly recommend!

*Thank you to Penguin Random House for this ARC of Cry Pilot*

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This review is based on a complimentary book I received. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.

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