So, I don't do serials well. I read the first installment, thought it was great, then waited until they were all published. I read all 5 installments as one book, so I'm going to review them all as one book.
The blurb says this book is about a guy manning a Beacon in a remote sector of space. Think a space light house, warning ships traveling through hyperspace of an asteroid field they need to avoid if they don't want to crash and die. He's all alone. Like really, really alone. Is something bad going to happen? Uh...duh.
That's what you learn about by reading the outside of the book. But it's not what you read on the inside of the book...
Well, okay--not true. That stuff does happen. But that is NOT what Beacon 23 is about.
This is a very strong, character-driven story about a guy and his demons--with a strong dose of war-sucks-but-violence-is-sometimes-necessary-for-peace message. It gets pretty deep and pretty dark. Certainly not a popcorn read. I didn't particularly enjoy reading Beacon--there isn't much joy to be found. But there is a strong message here, and I suspect there will be many, many people who find they can relate to the path the hero must follow as he struggles with his demons, learns to deal with them, and finds a measure of peace in the end. He doesn't excise his demons. I think this guy's path is too true to life to give him a Disneyland ending. But that's exactly what makes this story accessible.
You might enjoy Hugh's own thoughts on the series here.
Watch out for the swearing. Hugh Howey isn't shy. These guys swear like soldiers--but that's because they are.