Annette's Reviews > The Honor of the Queen

The Honor of the Queen by David Weber
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May 31, 10

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bookshelves: sci-fi
Read in May, 2010

Second in the Honor Harrington series, but ended up being the first I read. Events from the first book are alluded to, but not critical to following the action. In a nutshell, Honor is commanding a task force that is to make a treaty with a strategically placed, yet long isolated, planet that just happens to be settled by highly patriarchal practitioners of a seriously degraded Christianity. They are locked in a centuries old cold-war with their even more fanatical brothers on a nearby planet - which, of course, is being courted by Manticore's enemy Haven. Honor is given her very first taste of sexism and doesn't much care for it.
The treatment of this conflict could have been Much worse. While it is a bit heavy handed at times (especially given that Honor's Manticoran military magically functions without a trace of sexism or sexual tension despite near-equal numbers of each gender), Weber actually allows some of the characters on the less-fanatical planet to become a little more than stereotypes: the history of the planet is explained, and the causes behind the formation of the polygamist culture are examined without the result being fully justified. Open-minded leaders are located, etc, etc. The Havenites (essentially socialist enemies of Manticore) are also given a little grey both in motivation and behavior. Of course the more-fanatical Luddite enemies (who have ripped the NT out of their Bibles for some reason) are pretty simple stereotypes, but one can't have everything...
Anyway, the military action is fairly interesting. The primary question is whether a technologically and training-superior force can triumph against one with considerably more hardware and firepower, especially when that one has the advantage of being the aggressor and has the element of surprise. Since Honor belongs to the former force, one can guess the answer, but how it plays out is reasonably compelling.
We also get to see a little more of Nimitz and his capabilities. Again, the character-development lags behind the rest of the elements, but it's not awful. Three stars as for the first installment. Think I'll go read the third book now...
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