Guys, gals, this book is AWESOME. The scope, the sheer complexity of it all is on par with Dune.
I have to admit straight away, this is not a book for everyone and my 10 out of 10 is highly subjective because I personally grew up with reading and rereading Dune, and gobbling up extremely popular military sci-fi in Russia for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This is like a blast from the past.
A Soldier's Duty has been on my shelves for about 7-8 months, and then this Sunday I suddenly fancied some sci-fi and picked it up. Next thing I know it's 1.30 in the morning and I'm 3/4 of the way through the book and have to force myself to stop.
I finished it the next day and ordered book #2 straight away. Now I have a bookish hangover which happens when the book was so good you are not quite ready to turn your attention to some other read. You probably know exactly what I mean! ;)
Ia is such a complex, interesting, intense and incredibly driven character. There is always a barrier, am inner detachment in her which comes from seeing everyone's future all the time, the numerous probabilities in time currents. The things this woman has to keep in her head would drive an average person mad, but she perseveres because failure is not an option. Failure means the annihilation of her galaxy.
Ia as a recruit and then as a Marine is always at the front of all action because it's the only way she can control the outcome. Because she knows how to drive the events for the desirable outcome, her actions become incredible, even legendary feats of bravery, and the whole book is one total non-stop fest of action, fights and battles while each of the event serves as another chess piece in Ia's Game.
It's really hard to describe this book, and I don't really want to give any spoilers to those who think they would appreciate the genre. However, what I can say is that Jean Johnson as a paranormal romance author only got a DNF from me, I just couldn't read the book. Jean Johnson as a sci-fi author is a pure evil genius. I couldn't stop reading. Weird, huh?
Highly recommended, but not for sci-fi beginners I think :)