[ Book Review ] Academy Dropout Wanted for Captaincy.

Chirp, I have no idea.

Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon

(Vatta’s War series)

I have a weakness for space fantasy, so when I saw this cover staring out at me, I thought, “Oh no, I am absolutely not–“, but my hand was already reaching.

I started Trading in Danger at 10:23pm yesterday and finished it in one swoop. The last half I power-skimmed, bleary-eyed but enthusiastic. It was five minutes till four in the morning when I reached the back cover. As a result, I have no idea what to rate this book. All I know is this: it kept me turning the pages well past any semblance of a normal sleep schedule. And I love it for that.

Ky has just been kicked out of the military academy.  Of course, she still has her family business and support to fall back on: the Vatta trading corporation’s run by her father, and he’ll find her a place in it. The problem? She’s failed again–and she doesn’t want to be seen as the irresponsible, pampered girl she used to be.

When her family gives her a ship and sends her on a trade route to get her away from the media mess she’d caused, it’s two-parts well-meaning banishment, and one-part opportunity. And then things begin get complicated.

Warships and pirates complicated.

Continue reading

[ Book Review ] He’s human, and she’s a blob.

Changing Vision by Julie E. Czerneda 

(The second book in the Web Shifters series)

In a futuristic world, where humans and aliens have spread across the galaxy, Esen Alt Quar, a web shifter — a biological animorph, the last of her kind — shares a trading business with her friend and human, Paul Ragem. On taking her first vacation after fifty years of self-imposed exile, danger strikes, both accidental and malevolent.  New species of aliens, old enemies, abduction, ghosts, torture, a super-weapon, the imminent destruction of a planet, and family grudges all rear their heads over the space of 500-some pages.

Now as with the other Czerneda books I have read so far (just three, to be fair), this novel suffers from the breadth of detail it attempts to cover, and from the scope of its interstellar action.  At the same time, and though there are a lot of them, the minor characters are carefully three dimensional and undergo their own personal growth and redemption.

Changing Vision sets itself apart in another sense as well; it is neither the sword & sorcery genre transposed into space, nor is it a thinly veiled pretense for a romance novel. While I do enjoy romance (and, of course, the inevitable angst) in my Space Opera, the strength of this series is Continue reading

[ Book Review ] It’s a Conflict alright.

Book Review: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller: Conflict of Honors

(a novel of the Liaden Universe, the front cover says)

Product Description (lifted from Amazon.com):

“In the third novel of the Liaden Universe, Priscilla Delacroix is betrayed and abandoned by her shipmates. But confronting the crew will be far easier-and safer-than confronting the demons of her past.”

Upon reading this standalone novel from the Liaden Universe, however, the reader discovers that the much harder tasks falls to taking the characters and their situations seriously. I picked Conflict of Honors off the shelf up knowing full well it was a space opera. Hell, that was its selling point – the promise of angst, space, hilarious misunderstandings, and big dosage of futuristic escapism. And I was prepared to swallow mediocre prose to get it.

Instead, the authors created a monolith of flat characters, uninteresting conversations, and absurd conflicts bested only by the even more unlikely resolutions. Please note, the following will include a liberal helping of [mild] spoilers. Reader discretion advised. Continue reading