Kameron Hurley’s The Light Brigade... is an important, critical look at the role of how war bends and warps modern society. It...has the potential to become the next great Military SF classic ... The Light Brigade caused an immediate, visceral reaction in me as a reader. It’s like a punch in the gut from the first page. Hurley hounds the reader with a relentless pace, introducing them to a bevy of characters and never slowing down. It’s brutal from its first pages, and never lets up. As the pages turn, ideas pile up, and Dietz forms genuine relationships with her fellow soldiers, and Hurley does a beautiful job exploring how they deal with death, loss, risk, and release. Her prose is punchy, and the dialogue sharp and urgent, providing a feeling of really being down there in the trenches with the soldiers ... Never does [the book] trade its thematic explorations for character development or vice versa—they are one and the same ... The Light Brigade is a standout novel in Kameron Hurley’s already impressive career. It’ll get your pulse pounding, your blood boiling, and your heart aching. It’ll make you angry, scared, and, at the most unexpected moments, hopeful. The history of Military SF novels is long and storied, but Hurley’s work can stand up with the best of them.
Mixing a gritty and muscular writing style with an intricate and time-hopping plot with echoes of Philip K. Dick’s Now Wait for Last Year, The Light Brigade is an enthralling portrait of a devastated near future. Highly recommended for not only sf fans but anyone interested in a thrilling and troubling vision of the future.
The Light Brigade is passionately brutal, fierce and furious in voice and pace. Everything’s appropriately grueling, from Dietz’s memories of life before she joined her corporation to her fractured experiences of battle. It’s a particularly cinematic experience of war, Full Metal Jacket meets Edge of Tomorrow close up in the muck and blood and horror. It’s genuinely moving, too: all these heartbreaking young people caught up in a sick lie that everyone half-knows but can’t look at directly. It was difficult at times to situate myself in the timeline and significance of Dietz’s drops, especially early on when the only distinctions in the exhausting homogeneity of warfare are the casts of characters making up different platoons. But I’m hard pressed to consider that a flaw instead of a strength, especially when grim idealism is so much a part of Hurley’s brand. And this is, at its core, an idealistic book, hope lurking somewhere beneath the hurt.
Has the kind of gimmick memorable enough to stick in the mind after a glance at the jacket flap ... It would be easy to hang an entire novel on the strength of this conceit, with its blazing metaphorical resonances and its attendant drawbacks, which would do Cronenberg proud. Instead, Hurley uses it as the starting point for an old-fashioned tale of time displacement ... As complicated as this device may seem, it works because it remains fully in service to a story about war and its human cost ...The wider cast, though intriguing and full of individual quirks, never come through for the reader in the way Dietz does, with good reason. The isolation inherent to living out events in the wrong sequence forcibly evokes the isolation of active duty ... While Hurley leaves several character elements to be unwound with the story—blink and you’ll miss the fleeting mention of the protagonist’s gender—there is nothing coy about The Light Brigade At times, the author’s bloody-minded determination to deliver the message risks turning the story into a lecture, most noticeably in a subplot composed of transcribed conversations with a prisoner of war who monologues like a Bond villain. At its best, however, Hurley’s verb-laden first-person is as immediate and inescapable as a resounding sock in the jaw. At nearly 400 pages, The Light Brigade nonetheless goes down quickly, which is just as well—the nonlinear plot will have you calculating when to fit the reread in.
Hurley's take on war and interplanetary adventure is mixed with a vigorous helping of time travel, which will have readers trying to catch up with the truth as much as the lead character. An absorbing and gritty story from this accomplished author.
A smart, brutal, and structurally sophisticated military science fiction tale with a time travel twist ... Hurley’s time travel mechanics are intricate but never alienating, and they perfectly serve this story of 'poor ageless grunts' caught in war’s unending loop. Much of the drama comes from Dietz’s growing disillusionment with the war, and her heartbreaking camaraderie with squadmates whose deaths she has already experienced. Like Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, this book is both a gripping story of future warfare and an incisive antiwar fable. Readers will savor this striking novel’s ambitious structure and critique of rapacious, militarized capitalism.
As always, Hurley is plausibly unflinching about the damage inflicted by the power hungry on those they delegate to carry out their schemes, but thankfully, she doesn’t leave her readers in utter despair, either ... A fascinating and brilliantly confusing journey that ultimately ends, as is appropriate, in illumination. Rereads will be both necessary and desirable.