The First Casualty: 7 out of 10
Moscoe introduces you to a new universe and a new take on where human civilization will be in the future. This time, humans travel between stars through wormholes called jump points. As humanity spread out, a division was created between the fringe planets and the central planets which eventually leads us to war. The story focuses on both sides of the war. You get ground combat on an asteroid, a unique view of space battles, and enjoyable exploration. It is a gripping space adventure.
The First Casualty lost points in a lot of areas. Moscoe's lack of imagery left me with a small headache for the first half of the book as I tried to figure out what this base, that person, or this ship looked like. By the end I managed to paint a solid picture, but with little to no help from the book itself. Moscoe also fails to explain certain concepts, such as why the space ships are covered in ice. The first mention of the ice leaves you wondering where the ice even came from. Then, as it is hinted at a little more, you have to wonder if the build up of ice on spaceships is naturally occurring or not. You will finally piece together that the ice is intentionally applied as armor, but how or why is still a mystery. There are also several flaws with the scientific aspect of these ships and jump points (I think, I am not a rocket scientist). The flaws may leave diehard science fiction fans with a hangover, but were small enough for me to skim over and mentally insert my own solutions or explanations. The First Casualty also has an infrequent and brief use of strong language. Brief enough for me to skip over without detracting from the story. But there were also several mild scenes of sexuality, with one very descriptive moment, albeit brief. One big drawback was the way that several important moments were only given a few sentences when they deserved more. The use of foreshadowing was far too blunt and took away several key plot twists, such as who was going to die in the next chapter.
You may be wondering why a novel with such a laundry list of problems got a 7 rating. Despite all of the issues listed above, the book is still worth reading. The story starts strong, jumping right into the action. The viewpoint changes are sensible and work well, for the most part. The plot revolves around four main characters, on both sides of the fight. Moscoe takes his time and introduces you to them one at a time. Even with all of the issues, by the end of the novel I was engrossed in the story and the adventures.
While the Moscoe's writing could use some mechanical work, his plot and his characters are real and gripping. Overall, I would have to say that the book was good enough to convince me to read book #2 as well.