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Once a Hero (The Serrano Legacy, #4)
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Once a Hero (The Serrano Legacy #4)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  3,236 ratings  ·  64 reviews
When Esmay Suiza found herself in the middle of a space battle, the senior surviving officer, she had no choice but to take command and win. She didn't want to be a hero, but Once A Hero....
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published 1997 by Baen Books
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Community Reviews

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Beth Cato
After a break, I'm continuing with the Serrano Legacy series by Elizabeth Moon. The first three books on Heris Serrano--though good--were a bit of a disappointment. I was pleased to find this book, continuing the series with a bit character from WINNING COLORS, was much better and more scifi opera in the style of her later Vatta's War series.[return][return]Esmay Suiza didn't intend to be a hero. But when her spaceship was captained by a traitor, she and others rose in mutiny. Esmay ended up as...more
This was the first of the Familias books I read, and in many ways the best. Not necessarily a good thing. In some ways, this book is an attempt to breathe new life into the series, leaving the played out tales of Heris Serrano behind and moving to a newer and less defined character. It suffers from having to do all the development work in a single book. There are a number of all-too-obvious foreshadowing elements, but these don't ruin the story. I enjoyed the book for what I enjoy other Moon boo...more
I'm having a hard time reconciling the reviews for this book with this book. My standards for Space Opera are not especially high, but this thing is an incoherent mess.

It starts out as a military courtroom drama, referring back to the events of (I hope) another book. It morphs into a clumsy soldier returns home/ fish out of water story, turns into a military maintenance procedural before becoming a fairly unambitious actioner, before changing back into a trauma recovery story with a romance sta...more
As with too many military sci fi, this book uses sexual violence as a cop out for actual character depth.
This and the next three novels in the Serrano Legacy tell the story of Esmay Suiza, who is first introduced in the third novel, Winning Colours. Of the series, I personally prefer the Suiza novels which, whilst still sitting firmly in the space opera genre, also provide a bit of space adventure/action. Esmay is a dedicated and bright lieutenant, and certainly made for an interesting, engaging, and enjoyable character to read/follow.

However, I felt it did, on occasion, slightly stretch the bounds...more
Robert 'Rev. Bob'
Structurally, this book is kind of an odd duck. It functions both as a sequel to the Heris Serrano trilogy that precedes it and as the beginning of a new series that stars a different character. As such, there are a few sharp edges. I had read the first three books some time ago - long enough that I was essentially coming to this one cold - and as a result, the court-martial that takes up a large chunk of the beginning of this book felt both confusing and overlong. If I'd come into this book fre...more
I was at the bookstore last year and I asked a stranger to recommend something. This is the book he pulled off the shelf for me. The author is a woman with military experience, who is writing about a strong female character. Worth reading!

From Amazon

Elizabeth Moon grew up on the Texas-Mexico border, a voracious reader and early writer. She spent much of her early years in a hardware store where nothing was in shrink-wrap or little plastic containers, and mule collars still hung on the back wall....more
I enjoy a good SciFi novel; especially one that features a woman who is strong and can take things in stride, learning along the way, etc. I also enjoy the whole SciFi feel - the space travel, the talk of FTL travel, all the little gadgetry - nano bots, etc - that go into a book concerning the future and all the possibilities. It's even better when it's obvious that the author knows his or her science but DOES NOT ram it down our throats in the form of pages and pages of science lectures and ''l...more
Melissa Cuevas
To paraphrase from the blurb of the following book in this series... This book and I should have been friends.

I love Military space opera with a strong female protagonist, and a romance is just icing on the top. I was so thrilled to see this one in the thrift store where I buy the majority of my books, I adored the Deeds of Paksenarion, and here was a book by an author I respected (because of Pakse) that was writing the same concepts that I was! It gave me validation, and it gave me hope.

I bou...more
"Once a Hero" by Elizabeth Moon was a pretty good book. Just finished it. This is my first Elizabeth Moon novel. I decided to pick up one of her books after hearing an interview of her on Seems like a nice lady... living right here in Austin, Texas!

This is military science fiction. A 2nd Lt find herself in the middle of a mutiny. The Captain is a traitor and is taking the ship out of battle...running. The senior officers object and a mutiny ensues. After intense battle only the jun...more
David Blue
I have a fondness for space opera, and an interest in them with female heros. David Weber's Honor Harrington series comes to mind, but for my money this second half of Elizabeth Moon's Serrano Legacy takes many of the same elements to fashion a genuinely compelling story.

A space opera by its very nature requires world building and this one feels true. As messy and compelling as real life, sans final or simple answers. Esmay Suiza, the central character of these books, seems to me a very human pe...more
Once it gets finally rolling, "Once a Hero" becomes a fast-paced space opera adventure story.

The story is a spinoff from Moon's earlier Heris Serrano trilogy. Esmay Suiza was a minor character whose five pages of fame occurred at the conclusion of "Winning Colors", a junior Lieutenant who ended up briefly in command of the space ship as the senior survivor after a bloody mutiny against its traitorous captain. This story picks up after those events, with Suiza's court-martial (for the mutiny) and...more
I really like this book. I read somewhere that she decided to start a new universe with Vatta's War because she thought the Familias Regnant worldbuilding was starting to creak under its own weight, but IMO the only thing that doesn't hold up is the computers (data cubes? Really? It's sort of hard to believe they sounded perfectly reasonable in the 90s, but I know they did, I was there), and the universe is just more fun. I'm much more fond of Space Aristocracies than I am of Space Corporate Plu...more
Celia Powell
In a bit of a departure from this series, Heris Serrano is no longer the central character. Instead, we follow Esmay Suiza as she deals with the aftermath of her taking command of a ship following a mutiny, and returning to support Heris in battle. Esmay is an intriguing character, and is obviously dealing with something traumatic in her past, which is gradually revealed throughout the book. While sometimes I was a little sceptical of other characters' willingness to defer to a junior officer's...more
An enjoyable read. This is more "hard" sci-fi than I usually go, with the obviously realistic military & spaceship detail, etc, which is quite well-done even if I probably don't appreciate it properly. I liked the characters, especially Esmay, and people's actions and reactions rang true, but somehow to me there was a flatness to the way it was told. I also didn't like the parts told from the Bloodhorde/evil contractors points of view at all. To me there's no point in getting inside the bad...more
Once again Elizabeth Moon sucked me in. This picks up with a character from the last Heris Serrano books and follows her through a trial and onto her first assignment. I stayed up too late reading about her daily activities as a junior lieutenant on a maintenance cruiser. Seriously, it was that interesting. Interesting enough side plots, a love interest, and while it does feature my all-time SFF pet peeve (explained here in webcomic form) but managed to be engrossing despite that.

Also, while I'...more
Elizabeth Moon's science fiction is my favorite form of space opera. She writes action quite well, including both close combat and battles between spaceships, she has strong female characters (often in the military), and I'm quite willing to overlook when her romance isn't that great (it's ok). Once a Hero is quite good, following the story of Esmay Suiza, who was a minor character in a previous book. The romance is also better than usual.

There are more disturbing bits than I remembered, althou...more
Mary Holland
Out of the six books of this series, this, the 4th, is the best. The main character, Esmay Suiza, was a very minor character in book 3. She did a very brave thing and became a hero. This book is her struggle to live with people's perceptions of her as they conflict with her own perception of herself. Most of the story is space opera, but set on a deep-space repair ship of great authenticity. As usual with most Elizabeth Moon stories, some sections are outstanding and some are awkwardly written....more
I am a little confused. It's in the same series as the Heris books, but is not the same main character. But Heris does show up. Is this the same universe as Vatta's War? Because a lot of things seem similar. But are they similar because the author is the same? Or because jump gates and ansibles are so ... so usual, in the science fiction field in general?

I liked this book, but... I think I would have liked it better if I hadn't got all seven books in a set; if I'd gone into it expecting it not t...more
I enjoy this author and what she's doing in her books, but reading this book was like reading some Tom Clancy -- you're impressed by all the technical bits, and you know it's good, but you find yourself flipping ahead wondering if anything exciting is ever going to happen.
Robert Mckay
Esmay Suiza, having survived treason and mutiny, commanded a ship in combat, and come out of a board of inquiry and a court martial with a clean record, has received an assignment to a maintenance unit aboard a massive repair ship. She’s beginning to fit in, but there’s an attack by a covert unit of the Bloodhorde from Aethar’s World, and once again she’s fighting for her ship – and again in command of a ship in combat. Between these experiences, and for the first time dealing with the rape she...more
Barbara Brien
I'm starting to think that no one appreciates this book the way I do. I love, love, love this book. Why? It speaks to me, of greatness thrust upon you, of vulnerability, of the family you are born to and the family you acquire, of overcoming trauma, of seeing the big picture, and of taking control of your own life.

When I first read this book, I identified with the main character, as someone who had experienced too many of the same events she did, and needed to learn some of the things she did....more
Joseph Brown
Great story, plot. This novel is a great read, escape from reality.
Scotty Henderson
Very good.
New lead character, but not the best book in the series
I don't normally read military sci fi - I'm more of a fantasy gal - but Elizabeth Moon has drawn an amazing character in heroine Esmay Suiza. How Esmay becomes a saves-everyone-hero - TWICE - makes for a fast-paced read. I got a little lost in the techno-speak (I have to read every Tom Clancy book TWICE for the same reason!) but I loved the characters andtheworld-buildng. Childhood tragedies, family secrets and trying to live up to everyone elses's expectations - this story has it all.
Not only was this a well written space opera, but I really enjoyed Moon's portrayal of a main character facing deep seated issues. Throughout most of the book Esmay hides her problems, worried they will negatively affect her career. By the end of the book she seeks psychiatric help, help that is not just glossed over. Moon puts as much detail into the psychnannies as everything else in the book. I really appreciated a well thought out and generally realistic approach to the topic.
I had not read the previous books in the series but happened upon a copy not realizing that it was part of a series. I decided to read it as it is, and am very glad that I did. The first half was background and I was not sure how it would transition. I was pleasantly surprised that any cliches were studiously avoided in completing the action sequences. And some hard issues were delicately handled. I completely enjoyed the second half of the book, laughed and cried.
Dana Stabenow
I am constantly amazed and as a writer humbled by the mastery of absolutely convincing detail that Elizabeth Moon displays in her Vatta and Serrano series, without ever neglecting character or letting the detail get in the way of the plot. No matter how minute the detail (three leaky tubes of adhesive) it always goes somewhere (the disabling of an enemy ship and the complete rout of an entire barbarian horde). This is one of her best yet.
Steven Kjar
This book deserves another half star at least. It was very well written. The number one downfall with this book is there was far too much inner struggling from the main character about something that happened to her in the past. I want a good story about an enemy trying to take over a ship in space without all the emotional drama... This is the sequel to Winning Colors so it is worth reading for more of the same story.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add page numbers 2 6 Feb 28, 2013 09:38AM  
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Elizabeth Moon was born March 7, 1945, and grew up in McAllen, Texas, graduating from McAllen High School in 1963. She has a B.A. in History from Rice University (1968) and another in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin (1975) with graduate work in Biology at the University of Texas, San Antonio.

She served in the USMC from 1968 to 1971, first at MCB Quantico and then at HQMC. She marrie...more
More about Elizabeth Moon...
The Deed of Paksenarrion (The Deed of Paksenarrion, #1-3) Sheepfarmer's Daughter (The Deed of Paksenarrion, #1) Trading in Danger (Vatta's War, #1) The Speed of Dark Command Decision (Vatta's War, #4)

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