Book Reviews

Book Review: Operation Grendel

by Daniel Schawbauer

*cover and synopsis from publisher*

Operation Grendel

It’s the war story he’s dreamed of. But the battle may cost him his mind.

Military journalist Raymin Dahl thinks he’s finally getting the story of a lifetime. Secret peace talks on a remote tropical moon are about to surrender five colonized worlds—and six hundred million civilians—to a ruthless enemy.

But when his commanding officer, Captain Ansell Sterling, is fatally wounded before the negotiations can begin, Dahl can no longer just report on the mission. He’s ordered to complete it.

With help from the AI embedded in Sterling’s comms bracelet, Dahl must impersonate his commander—a Marine Corps hero and psychological operations expert.

However, Sterling’s AI may be luring him to surrender more than he realizes. And the mission Corporal Dahl thinks he’s running isn’t the only operation underway.


First off, I just want to say that I read 3/4 of the book while I was tired traveling back from Realm Makers, and then I read the last 1/4 over a week later. So, while I did struggle to follow the story a little bit, it was probably my own fault.

Also, I don’t read a ton of sci-fi. I want to read more of it, which is part of the reason I read Operation Grendel. But, because I haven’t read much sci-fi yet, sci-fi elements don’t always make as much sense to me as they might to a seasoned reader of the genre.

But with those caveats out of the way, onto the story.

Schwabauer writes really well. His style is engaging and easy to read. Also, the first line of the book is amazing. It’s part of what hooked me on the story.

There are times in the story when it jumps back in time to events that don’t seem important to the plot, which is a little strange at first. However, everything Schawbauer mentions is tied to the plot, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

The worldbuilding seemed really well done. Like I said above, there were some things that were a little confusing to me, but I think that had to do with me being tired and not well-versed in sci-fi.

Going into the book, I knew that it was full of plot twists because of what my friends had told me about it. Because of that, while the plot twists were still surprising, they didn’t totally blow me out of the water because I sort of knew it was coming. I didn’t guess the plot twists, but I knew that plot twists were coming, even if I didn’t know what the twist was. I don’t know if that makes sense or not.

There is a really big plot twist at the end of the book that now has me needing to reread Operation Grendel so that I can see it all in the new light. Plus, I think I’d probably follow the story better a second time around.

Overall, Operation Grendel was a good read. It didn’t astound me, but that might have had more to do with me than with the book.

Cautions: mentions of drinking alcohol; several kisses; light romance; moderate non-graphic violence ***

***these cautions are to the best of my tired memory. I might have missed something. 

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