Impulse by Dave Bara

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Impulse by Dave Bara

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Category: Science Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: When a ship containing several officers is destroyed, newly graduated Officer Peter Cochrane is thrown in at the deep end. This is never great, especially when this is end is in Deep Space where a forgotten war looks like reigniting. Join him as he learns on the job and becomes involved in more life-threatening incidents than is good for any sensible person.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: February 2015
Publisher: Del Rey
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780091956417

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In space, no one can hear you squirm and this is no bad thing if you happen to be Lt. Peter Cochrane, newly out of the Navy Academy he is put straight on the front line and is prone to as many mistakes as he is heroics. Cochrane has no choice, the son of an Admiral; he is deemed the best choice to seek out an ancient enemy that has destroyed a starship full of Navy Officers. When you are only one of a few Officers left standing, you do what you can; even if this does involve blowing stuff up and falling in love.

On initial inspection Impulse looks like it will be a piece of solid military science fiction that takes an almost realistic approach as to how the armed forces would function in space. However, this is soon blown out of the water when we are introduced to Peter Cochrane himself, a sort of pseudo-Kirk who does not know the effect he has on women. It would appear that this book is not about military might at all, but adventure, explosions and relationships.

This combination is a little worrisome as it speaks of a light headed and flighty novel that would not be worth anyone’s time, but thankfully Bara is able to handle the story with aplomb. At times the book may be silly, but at least it is well written and has some great action set pieces. Many of these happen in space and writing exciting action in a vacuum is not easy – things tend to feel ponderous. This is not the case here as Bara has Cochrane flying around the place at breakneck speeds, on occasion literally just managing to avoid breaking his neck.

The tone of the novel rests on its lead character. Cochrane is a little too young, inexperienced and impatient to be a great officer, but that is the point. Bara creates a believable backstory as to how Cochrane has found himself in such a powerful position at such a young age (he is essentially a Prince); this allows the author to explore how someone learns on the job. There are times where it gets silly – one point Cochrane can’t even wait 30 minutes so goes ahead and jeopardises the entire crew. This sort of action would not be acceptable in any military situation; if you are ordered to wait, you wait.

Whilst the action is full on, there is more to the book. The personal side of Cochrane’s life also plays a role. He's charismatic and driven; this makes him an attractive character to read about, but also an attractive proposition for the women in the book. The relationships in Impulse seem quaint and can get in the way of the story. At times, Cochrane feels very much like a young Captain Kirk, but a James T who is not yet aware of his charisma. All this does is ramp up the campiness of the novel; moving it way from military sci-fi into the world of pulp.

Despite some clunky relationships Impulse is an absorbing book. The universe that Dave Bara has created is part of a trilogy and it will be very easy telling more stories within it. There may be lots of action, but it all sits on an intelligent concept of a future war between civilisations that have just rediscovered long range space flight. The book feels somewhat of a mixture of Mass Effect with Buck Rogers and I would read Mass Rogers (or The Buck Effect) any day of the week!

If you are into space based science fiction, then Empires: Extraction by Gavin Deas has a similar vibe to this book. If you are looking for more straightforward quality science fiction Afterparty by Daryl Gregory is a great read.

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Buy Impulse by Dave Bara at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Impulse by Dave Bara at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Impulse by Dave Bara at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Impulse by Dave Bara at


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