This is the closest to a bad review I've gotten so far--it actually brought up a few negatives (which the earlier reviews didn't do), but overall it's a pretty positive review:
* if you were expecting a half-as$ job since the author is unknown and not a major publisher (hey, I had my doubts) don't worry - this is a professional work of fiction that sets high standards, far better than many novels I've read recently
* I give it four out of five stars.
* this is science-fiction and reminded me at the start of a Heinlein juvi and at the end more like an Alan Dean Foster novel
* I have no idea if the science aspect is believable or not but it sure felt it was believable; more importantly, the science aspect added to the story instead of detracting, a heck of an accomplishment
* the book was particularly appealing when it focused on the main character but particularly weak when he wasn't in the picture
* I'll admit, I detested the terrorist angle and thought it detracted greatly from the story in places; the villain in particular was ill-formed and too much in the black hat mode, though it was obvious this was the author's intent; instead, I couldn't help but find myself wishing that some of problems that kept occurring were Mars induced, not person induced. By contrast, the parts where McKie got in trouble all by his lonesome were particularly enthralling (the air problem, the sandstorm, the meteor) so there was no NEED for a villian (again, my opinion only!)
* there is a sameness to the characters - after finishing the book I couldn't really tell you the main differences between McKie and his friend and the ladies and even some of the people in the various characters in the sites but it was clear this was the author's intention - this wasn't a character study, this was an adventure story, and because the characters were so appealing the sameness really didn't matter anyway
* in the final analysis to me at least, this is a 'new world' story handled with grace and style; without the villain in the piece, it would have been darn near perfect, and I don't say this lightly
count me in for book 2 - I also plan to buy another MI copy for my Dad...
Mark. (The Mars Imperative is available from the CTR bookstore.)