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Reviews of Armor (1984)

Review by clong (2005-04-08)
Armor is an interesting, and in some ways challenging book. It tells two parallel stories with dramatically different narrative styles: a fast-paced, thrilling “humans vs. aliens” military campaign reminiscent of something out of Starship Troopers, and a much slower to develop psychological and moral story about a miscreant who is ultimately chooses to intervene against the bad guys who are trying to take over a planetary settlement. This disjointed narrative style seems to have left some readers frustrated.

The battle scenes, set on the Planet Banshee are stunning. The opening section, following Felix the super soldier through his initial on planet deployment, is one of the most breathtakingly intense action sequences you will ever read. Don’t start this book unless you are ready to read the entire first section in a single reading. The later scenes on Banshee continue to be powerful. Yet it certainly doesn’t glorify warfare. In many ways Armor is a powerful anti-war statement, with particular contempt for both the clueless generals who are far removed from the horrors of the battlefield, and the clueless press who are covering the war like a sporting or entertainment event.

The Jack Crow plot line is slower to evolve and it takes a long time to see how the two stories fit together. But, ultimately, they do, and the story moves to a satisfying conclusion.

Review by parared (2004-07-10)
This is one of the best books I've ever read.

But ....

It bears a curse of a name. This isn't about 'armor', this isn't one long battle scene from 'Starship Troopers'. Its almost a psycological study of a person under increadable stress. Like something you'ld expect from Banks.

Advice: don't judge this book by its cover, and forgive it its title. Read this expecting alot, and you won't be disappointed.

Review by Hobbes (2003-03-13)
Armor is, in my mind, the strongest, most intense, most human book I have ever read. The intensity, the emotion of the characters and situations permeate this book to a degree where it becomes a changing experience to read. This is a book for those who appreciate acting, for those who appreciate what emotions are and who question meaning. Contrary to what shallower readers might think, Armor is not about war, or the military, or politics. Armor is a book about what makes a hero. In the Masao's words:

You are
What you do
When it counts.

I desperately want to direct a movie based off Armor.

EDIT: The Jack Crow section is both a segue to bring the Felix story to a close, and part of the overall theme of heroism. Crow is a man who wants to be without morals, but cannot help but do what is right. He is very different from Felix, but they are both heroes in their own right. The Crow part is an important element of the book, and should not be ignored.

Review by rwagnon (2003-03-08)
Seems to be a self published book given the terrible editting. The book is very unconventional. It is written as two stories: one about a soldier driven to extremes and another about a miscreant reviewing the life of the soldier. The story of the soldier is riveting. The story of the miscreant is disjointed and irritating. I rated this book at 6 for its strongly compelling soldier story.

Review by dasinck (2003-03-08)
I'd be inclined to agree with rwagnon. The first time I read it cover to cover and I too was irritated by the 'miscreant'. Subsequent rereadings I've skimmed the miscreant.

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