If I could give half stars on Goodreads, this would probably be a 4.5 star review, because there were some problems with this book. Instead, I'll rounIf I could give half stars on Goodreads, this would probably be a 4.5 star review, because there were some problems with this book. Instead, I'll round up and use this review to talk about those problems.
First of all was the structure. Like several of the recent books in the series, Shadow of Victory covers territory that, chronologically speaking, was covered in previous books. It begins just after the Battle of Monica (note that The Shadow of Saganami, where the Battle of Monica actually happened, came out in 2004, when I was a high school freshman), and provides fleshed-out backstory for some of the revolutionary characters from Shadow of Freedom. The latter part was what I was most concerned about, because I felt it was largely unnecessary. These are characters who were introduced in medias res in the last book, and most of the new stuff in here was alluded to in their introduction.
Secondly, there's the language. There are two new planets that we see a lot of in this book, one of which is the Polish planet, and the other of which is the Czech planet. And the Polish planet, in particular, gets a lot of Polish words thrown in to provide authenticity. The problem with that is that I don't know shit about Polish. And when significant governmental positions or movements are described using words that I can't begin to even pronounce, this poses a slight problem. I can kind of gather what they mean from the text, but it's still a bit jarring.
Thirdly, there's the pace of the series as a whole. As I mentioned previously in this review, the first book in this side series of the Honorverse came out in October 2004. That's twelve years. In that time, I went from high school freshman to the third year of graduate school. This book did move the plot forward, but I feel like Weber has been getting bogged down a lot in side plots. In this book, we have a side plot in the Solarian League that is very similar to another side plot from previous books, and in fact brings in some of the characters from that other side plot. Was that necessary? I appreciate that he's trying to be very meticulous about world-building, but I kind of want to get to the ending at this point.
Aside from those criticisms, I felt like this was a fairly decent entry in the series. We got some added definition to some characters who have previously appeared, and there were some pretty decent action scenes. I'm still on board with the series, I'm just hoping that we see some resolution before any children I might have become old enough to read this series....more
I really enjoyed this book, but even if I hadn't, I might've given it a good review, just to spite Theodore Beale and the other haters. Yes, I am theI really enjoyed this book, but even if I hadn't, I might've given it a good review, just to spite Theodore Beale and the other haters. Yes, I am the one-man cabal who created John Scalzi out of dog-eared copies of Robert Heinlein books, for the sole purpose of DESTROYING SCIENCE FICTION AS WE KNOW IT!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!...more
I'm not going to repeat what I said in my review of The Ghost Brigades. I'm just going to say that Scalzi continued to live up to the standards he's sI'm not going to repeat what I said in my review of The Ghost Brigades. I'm just going to say that Scalzi continued to live up to the standards he's set in his other books....more
I've had all three of the first OMW books for some time, and I've only just now gotten around to reading the second (and after that, the third, but weI've had all three of the first OMW books for some time, and I've only just now gotten around to reading the second (and after that, the third, but we'll save that for its proper place). I'm not entirely sure why that happened, but I probably got distracted. Eh, it happens, get used to it. But now that I have remained undistracted enough to sit down with the Old Man's War series long enough to finish them, I'm even less sure why I didn't read them long ago. It's classic Scalzi, which is to say that it's full of both humor and thoughts. That, and a good helping of heart. If you liked Scalzi's other books, like Old Man's War or Redshirts, you ought to like this one, too. And I'm not even sure you necessarily have to have read the first book in the series. I think it stands fairly well on its own, though you might miss some of the references....more
An excellent continuation of the *massive* Honor Harrington series. It brings together some big threads from previous books, and adds in quite a few mAn excellent continuation of the *massive* Honor Harrington series. It brings together some big threads from previous books, and adds in quite a few more. I think Eric Flint has done a world of good for the characterization in the series, particularly when it comes to the villains. David Weber is damn good at space battles, but one of his weak spots has always been characterizing negative characters. Not necessarily the military characters, as there've been some Havenites I liked better than certain Manties. But a lot of his villains tend to be so villainous, you expect a scene where they twirl their mustaches. I feel that the Mesan characters are drawn in more human strokes. I mean, granted, they're basically Nazis IN SPAAAAAACE, but they have families, and they fret about human things, and they have human emotions. Even the worst of them might be decent types if they weren't, you know, interstellar Nazis. Anyway, to sum up:
This was a bit of an odd duck. It's yet another rehash of the time-honored and dusty Starship Troopers plot, except that in this case, the protagonistThis was a bit of an odd duck. It's yet another rehash of the time-honored and dusty Starship Troopers plot, except that in this case, the protagonist is enlisting for some very particular reasons (not just "because why not, man?"). Imagine if Rico had gone to the Federal Service recruiter and specifically asked to be in the Mobile Infantry. Oh, and he also has psychic powers that include, but are not limited to, extremely powerful precognition, telekinesis, and the ability to shoot lightning at people. That's basically this book, in a lot of ways. I had a few problems with the way exposition was handled, though some of the worldbuilding in the beginning was alright. Specifically, I'm thinking of the fact that a major piece of information gets dropped on you about a quarter of the way through, with very little lead-up. It does explain the protagonist's powers, and it fits with some previously dropped bits of info, but it mostly comes out of nowhere. Another problem, to me, is that the main character is a bit of a Mary Sue; while she gets beaten up some, I feel she doesn't really face a big challenge at any point.
In spite of that, I did find it interesting to read, and I'll probably end up reading the next book in the series at some point, though I've got some other books breathing down my neck, and they're much bigger.
(Scoring explanation: 4 stars means "I finished it and kind of liked it, but I had some problems with it." Just so you know.)
ETA: I forgot to mention that the protagonist has two moms (I presume in the lesbian sense), and even on the religiously-minded planet in the middle of nowhere that she comes from, it doesn't seem like a big deal. So, points to Jean Johnson for that, but it's not enough to get me to add another star....more
I stayed up the whole fucking night to finish reading this book, and it was totally worth it. If you enjoyed the first book in the series, you'll loveI stayed up the whole fucking night to finish reading this book, and it was totally worth it. If you enjoyed the first book in the series, you'll love this one, too. It adds a few new main characters, and they are awesome. And without giving spoilers, the last line is a big fracking cliffhanger, and I can't fucking wait for the third book.
(In case you're wondering how I read this before its American release, I used the British edition.)...more
When I realized that the eARC for this had come out, I (figuratively) dashed out to get my copy. I devoured it rapidly, and now I have some thoughts.
1When I realized that the eARC for this had come out, I (figuratively) dashed out to get my copy. I devoured it rapidly, and now I have some thoughts.
1. I liked it just fine. It moved along at a good pace, and Weber paid off his promises fairly well (to keep your precious eyes from spoilers, I shan't say anything more specific). I don't think I would say that it's my favorite installment in the series*, but it's, at the very least, adequate. 2. For a book ostensibly about Honor Harrington, there wasn't too much of her. A lot of the book focused on other parts of the universe, and I'm not entirely sure what to think about that. Yes, it's fun to see more of the world that Weber has created, but I think if it expands much more, it'll just be too much to keep straight. (and I'm someone who has very little trouble keeping very obscure details of the Star Wars EU straight) 3. I can't wait to see what's next, and I'm annoyed that it's going to take so long until the next book comes out. Oh well, at least GRRM isn't writing them, because then I'd have to wait for years.
If you've read John Ringo's first Mike Harmon (aka "Paladin of Shadows") book, Ghost, you'll know that it kind of sucks. In fact, it really sucks. WhaIf you've read John Ringo's first Mike Harmon (aka "Paladin of Shadows") book, Ghost, you'll know that it kind of sucks. In fact, it really sucks. What you might be surprised to learn is that it actually gets better. I know, I'm as shocked as you are. Of course, when you've set the bar as low as Ghost did, that's not hard.
Mostly, this book is better because Ringo backs off on a lot of the fairly disgusting sexual stuff that characterized Ghost. Oh, every so often, it becomes turgid once more and rears its head over the story, but it mostly follows Our Manly "Hero" and his adventures in Georgia (the country, not the state), where he happens across a group of fairly primitive people who would probably do well as soldiers, if they even knew that the 21st century had arrived. So we get a lot of scenes with the people building stuff, and the process is actually pretty engrossing, if you like that sort of thing.
The other thing I'm really glad got left out is the original cover. See, apparently the cover that you see here was not the first choice. The first choice, which is on view at the Fifth Imperium's BaenCD subsite, was a mostly brown picture, which showed two grubby little foreign girls gazing up in awe at the super awesome American, whom I presume to be Our Manly "Hero". It's just a little too "thank you for saving us, Mr. Awesome American" for my effete liberal tastes.
To summarize: A much better book than the first, not that that's an amazing feat....more
**spoiler alert** This was the first collaboration between Ringo and Kratman, and, unfortunately, not the last. In general bookish terms, it's not tha**spoiler alert** This was the first collaboration between Ringo and Kratman, and, unfortunately, not the last. In general bookish terms, it's not that bad, since Ringo is still a pretty good writer. The problem I had was the central conceit that the whole thing was built around.
It turns out that when the Posleen attacked northern Virginia in Gust Front, the chancellor of Germany realized that without more troops, his country would be royally boned. But he was scraping the bottom of the barrel for the regular forces, so he decided to deepen the barrel by pressing aged Waffen-SS veterans into service (after giving them deagening treatments, of course).
We get a long spiel about how, really, the Waffen-SS (Heinrich Himmler's private army, lest we forget) is just a bunch of misunderstood people. Why, they were all just soldiers, doing their duty for the Fatherland. They didn't all commit atrocities, you know! Plus, any of them who did probably feel really sorry about it by now. And those who don't are sure to be horribly offensive, and killed very soon.
John Ringo hadn't previously shown tendencies to praise Nazis before, so I've always chalked it up to Tom Kratman's malign influence. Looking at Kratman's other books, it's clear enough where he stands on Certain Issues, like Texas (loves it), Massachusetts (hates it), Teh Peepul of Teh United States (loves a highly distorted version of them), and Muslims (hates a highly distorted version of them).
I really feel that Kratman's introduction into the series made it less enjoyable, and more conservative. Before Kratman, Ringo may have had some RW themes in the series, but they were easy to ignore, if they were present. In Watch on the Rhine, on the other hand, we have the French wanting to surrender, environmentalists turning out to be either deluded or corrupt, and the aforementioned praising of Nazis. Blech.
Not to mention one French character, described as "socialist", who converts to Teh Side of Goodness and Light (i.e. the Nazis, in this world). If you've read my review of Ringo's book Ghost, you'll know that I fucking hate that. That's one sure way to make me dislike a book.
Overall, I would not recommend this book, unless you're very conservative or you don't care about the real world (but I repeat myself). Read Ringo's earlier Posleenverse books. They're pretty darn good. Skip this one and the other collaborations with Kratman....more