April 3, 2020

Review: Operation Shield by Joel Shepherd

Out on April 8th!

If there’s one thing we love, it’s a non-stop space opera action adventure. Military science fiction has really come of its own over the past decades, as first popularized by Robert Heinlein and his classic Starship Troopers.

But what of the soldiers themselves? And what of a world where soldiers are custom tailored to fight and die? This week, we’re excited to bring you our review of the latest Cassandra Kresnov novel out from author Joel Shepherd and Pyr Books entitled Operation Shield. This is book five in the saga out on April 8th, which includes Killswitch, Breakaway, Crossover, and last year’s 23 Years on Fire.

Operation Shield and the entire series is a fast-paced, cyberpunk techno-war saga that takes the reader on a high speed thrill ride. In 23 Years on Fire, Cassandra discovered the terrible truth about why half cyborg soldiers like herself were created, now she faces the dilemma as to what to do with this knowledge and the roles they play as pawns between galactic corporations and the Federation. We thought that it was an interesting parallel that’s depicted in both Operation Shield and 23 Years on Fire mirroring the current trend of privatizing modern armies and outsourcing security details internationally to firms like Blackwater… is the world of Cassandra Kresnov the natural outcome?

Cassandra also discovers on her return to the planet of Callay that the Federation worlds lack the resolve for another prolonged conflict and what it may take to restore true order. In fact, the integrity of the Federation Constitution is now at risk as well as the future of the Federation Security Agency that Cassandra and her team mates belong to.

But far from being just a combat machine and tool, Cassandra discovers her own humanity as well. The acquisition of three young street children off of the war-torn streets of Druze mean that she must confront maternal emotions that barely knew existed… a new and undiscovered dimension of the reality and the horror of war that she has never been programmed to face.

But in the end, her soldier’s instincts kick in with a classic climax and showdown worthy of the saga. This puts the FSA at odds with a shadow organization known as the 2389 which vies for dominance in the galactic political sphere. We’ll admit, the acronyms fly as thick as the laser rounds in Operation Shield and heck, the entire saga… a truism in the culture of the military as well, and aptly portrayed but here. But still, a glossary would’ve been nice, especially to those of us who joined in around book four.

But overall, we enjoyed the series thus far, and it would make a worthy TV and/or movie saga… think Black Hawk Down goes cyberpunk. Hey, it would definitely by more sophisticated than Universal Solider

Be sure to check out Operation Shield and the entire Cassandra Kresnov series for an all-out no-holds barred combat chronicle of galactic proportions!

Next Week: We take a look at the state of the universe and our understanding of our place in it with Five Billion Years of Solitude by Lee Billings!



  1. Alisa Russell says:

    I love all of these books. Cannot wait until I can get the latest one.

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