Tier OneTier One
Year: 2016
Author: Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson
Length: 402 pages


While violence, action, and excitement fill stories involving tactical military operations, one element of these stories that adds realism can also alienate unknowledgeable readers: jargon. I am fortunate to know enough of the terms and acronyms from my day job, but if a story like this needs an acronym and definitions list in the back, I can see it being difficult to get into for the casual reader. They might be able to push through it and make assumptions on what’s happening, but following the discussions helps the reader to understand the level of importance for each action.

Of course, in this post-9/11 world, Islam has now taken the role of stereotypical “bad guy” that used to be held by the Nazis. I’m almost surprised by how many antagonists are Muslim in the books I read. From apocalyptic stories like Dark Ages: 2020 to science fiction novels like The Starchild Compact, these characters are always the extremist jihad warrior. Without understanding the culture in a more informed manner, I usually have to roll my eyes at the clearly stereotypical (and practically racist) representations of these characters. Tier One is no different in its portrayal of Muslims, thus resulting in rather one-dimensional antagonists.

Even though the action sequences were well written, and most of the events were tied together quite well, I only had a few qualms with the plot. The largest of these minor qualms was the “twist” at the end, which involved a character who appeared early on and was quickly forgotten. They didn’t even have much of an influence on what happened, so when the twist occurred, my only reaction was, “Huh?” Then again, I also had trouble relating to the “meathead” Tier One operator as well, but that’s probably because I related more to the character with synesthesia.

An exciting story heavily ensconced in military jargon, I give Tier One 3.5 stars out of 5.

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