I've had this one on the shelf a while and finally got round to reading it. It was fun and interesting, but not really that deep. Not a bad way to waste a few hours. Ad copy can lay out the gist of the plot - its a sequel to Red Thunder and the viewpoint character is Ramon Garcia Strickwell, the son of Manuel Garcia the viewpoint character of Red Thunder.
Anyway, what did I like? The neat way the unknown badguys almost wrecked the planet. Nifty, if pessimistic, future world building. More games to play with squeezers. The wrecking of the American southeastern coast and Caribbean.
What I didn't like was just how pessimistic he got about the US. The invasion of Mars - I don't think anyone would maintain operational security that well on that large a scale. The mysterious bad guys - a little too mysterious. The rapid fire conclusion - almost too fast. I feel like it could have been extended and expanded a bit, but I'll live with it.
This was a solid, well written story (in two parts), but ultimately failed to recapture the magic of Red Thunder (the book one prior in this trilogy).
Part of that is due to the switch from the narrow focus of the first book (misfits fly to mars), with themes and story lines that involve two entire planets.
Our hero is also a lot whinier than the protagonists in the earlier book as well, so he's harder to like. (He's also probably much more like a *real* teenager for exactly the same reason.)
So. Good read, but lacked the earlier punch.
4 of 5 stars.
Truly fun story of independent race for space, classic John Varley, he's never written a dull book! Great lovable characters and plot that twists and turns.