Why wait? Let's jump right in.
To be honest I've never actually read this book. I listened to the unabridged audio book narrated by William Dufris, and it was Awesome! Audio books are tricky, I've listened to fantastic books turned to hash by an uninspired narrator, and I've listened to mediocre books over and over again because of a skilled narrator. This book is both fantastically written and beautifully narrated.
Dufris does a fantastic job of bringing John Scalzi's characters and worlds to life. The book is fast paced without feeling rushed. Great Book.
I have read the short story version published in 1977 and the full length novel published in 1985 (I actually read the version published in 1991, in which Card made some changes in politics to more accurately represent the times).
A little like Lord of the Flies in space, but with at least the appearance of control by the adults set to watch over them. Instead of being a coming of age story, this is a story of children being forced to grow up sooner than they should. I can happily recommend this story to any Young Adult I come across.
Where most books in this genre are filled with brave volunteer soldiers doing their duty, this book is filled with conscripts. Draftees who were picked because of their advanced educations and high IQ scores. The story looks at what happens when the culture and way of life an army is asked to fight for change without notice, leaving the soldiers behind.
This is the book that all other military science fiction books draw from. This book wrote the tropes that everyone else is using to this day. The story has bug shaped aliens, rocket ships, space transports, and most importantly a real cool suit of armor that lets its wearer do all kinds of amazing things. Some of the speeches in here are blatantly political. You can almost see Heinlein thumping his fist on a lectern telling us all how things should be. If you have a beef to pick with Libertarians this could set your teeth on edge.
If, however, you have a soft spot in your heart for the good guys beating the bad guys through hard work and ingenuity, then you'll enjoy this book.
The title of this book doesn't just refer to the suit of armor that Felix is assigned to. It also refers to his mental armor. The armor that refuses to let himself be taken or killed. This book breaks down into three acts. The first and third acts focus on Felix and the planet Banshee where the fighting takes place. The second act focuses on a character named Jack Crow. The pace of the second act is slower than the first and third, but if you can ride it out the third act really pays off. It should be noted that I'm putting this book on the top of my list even with a slow chunk right in the middle. IT'S THAT GOOD!