Sometimes I really wish Goodreads allowed us to give half-stars. I'd love to give Steelhands a 2.5.
As much as I enjoyed the previous Havemercy books--...moreSometimes I really wish Goodreads allowed us to give half-stars. I'd love to give Steelhands a 2.5.
As much as I enjoyed the previous Havemercy books--particularly the first--this one just didn't click as well. Many of the smaller issues that I had with the characters and the writing in previous books seemed somehow amplified in this one, and honestly none of the new characters interested me in the slightest.
Well, and I'm not really a big fan of the way every little detail is explained to readers: why a person said what they said, why they thought what they thought, or did what they did. Everything has to be explained, justified, as though the characters are almost making excuses for every action they take. Started driving me batty after a while. It leaves no room for interpretation; there's no way to read into a characters actions on your own because everything is laid out for you. I'm sure the authors never intended this, but I was constantly getting the feeling that they just assume their readers are too unobservant, are too judgmental, or lack enough understanding to "get" the characters.
(view spoiler)[Toverre's obvious OCD really bothered me at first because I didn't realize that he was OCD and just sort of thought he was an anal-retentive little prick, but after a while it just sort of... becomes okay. He's OCD; deal with it. That sort of thing. But Laure sort of moved in the opposite direction. I started off with really high hopes for her as this sort of strong female lead, but during the last third or fourth of the book, she just got a bit ridiculous. I'd love to have a discussion about this and be proven wrong--because I want to like her--so I'm just going to go on ahead and voice what bothered me about Laure. Basically I'm complaining. I have no one with whom I can talk about this book, and I've been holding all this in for way too long.
So I'm just... not really sure whether or not I like her. At first, she seems like an admirably strong enough female lead: tough, smart, opinionated, doesn't take shit from anyone, whatever. But as the narration progresses, her crassness starts to go a little overboard at times and becomes downright annoying at others--especially when it's directed at established characters who, honestly, are just being themselves. (This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I've a positive bias towards the airmen, but still.) It just seemed odd, the way her common sense (the sort that any normal person might possess) and vaguely applied logic often stumps other characters, including the very capable ex-Chief Sergeant Adamo. For all the way he's talked up by other characters as the pragmatic leader, it doesn't seem like it takes much to bring him down. (Though it might be because he's distracted by her because she's so goddamn beautiful, a fact that Toverre is constantly pointing out.)
Her headstrong personality has her "taking the reins" quite a lot, as Balfour notes. Which would be great, really, except that she's just about always the least informed and least experienced person in the room--apart from perhaps Toverre. It's fantastic to be assertive--who doesn't love assertive female characters?--but perhaps assuming a leadership position isn't the wisest course of action when you're the most ignorant (I mean this literally and not as an insult) and inexperienced member of the party. Isn't that also a part of being smart--knowing when to yield? And granted, she does provide a good plan for the assault on the Esar's secret lair and for Adamo's rescue, but then I feel like it's just down to that thing about common sense again. It was a good idea and it worked, but it was also very simple, very logical. So why did none of the other, considerably more experienced characters think of it? Realistically, wouldn't that have made more sense? Or is Laure just really incredible prodigy strategist? I guess it's just a matter of opinion, but it really bothered me that it's not so much that Laure is exceptionally smart as much as all the other characters seem to have been really dumbed down to make her seem that way.
And I honestly got a bit sick of the six billion parallels the other characters keep drawing between her and Adamo. Stop it, guys. Just stop. We get it already.
Laure in the whole last part of the book just... annoyed me. Like the writers were forcing her into this sort of Adamo-inherited Leadership Position of Awesomeness, and the only way they knew how was to 1) have all the other characters compliment her every chance they got, 2) turn her into Girl!Adamo, and 3) turn down the intelligence level of all the other characters in order to make Laure seem like the smartest person in the room.
As I said, I'd love for someone to please come along and civilly argue against what I've said because I really have tried to like Laure. I want to like her. It just didn't work out that way. (hide spoiler)]
All that said, I enjoyed the book well enough. Loved the airmen, as always, though I had a few gripes about Adamo's narration that I won't get into because this review rant is already much too long. If you enjoyed the previous books, you will... probably? enjoy this one. But unless Havemercy #5--if there ever is one--gets some seriously stellar recommendations, I doubt I'll be picking it up.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)