***Dave Hill's Reviews > A Rising Thunder

A Rising Thunder by David Weber
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Sep 16, 13

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Read in September, 2013, read count: 2

MARCH 2012

On the positive side, I can always count on a new Weber Honorverse book to grab my attention and give me a few days of plain ol' popcorn-munching fun. I can also count in them making want to go back and reread the whole series.

Unfortunately, "A Rising Thunder" is more like the bottom half of the popcorn bowl -- cooled off, not as salty, still absently enjoyable but not as satisfying as you'd want it to be.

The Honorverse is space opera, straight up -- massive space battles interspersed with scene-chewing melodrama. Over time, though, it's evolved as well into more sophisticated geopolitics (or astropolitics, if you will), the cast has ballooned into the hundreds (even if you discount the one-offs) and the space opera has become a bit more of a space pop song.

Much of ART is taken up with people talking. And then other people talking. And then still more people talking. And then people talking about what the other people may be talking about. And then something happens. And then we have people talking about what happened, other people talking about what happened, other people talking about other people talking about what happened, and still other people talking about what *really* happened, and how it relates to something that's going to happen next. About which people then talk.

In other word's it's a lot more "tell" than "show."

Weber has pulled this off in the past, and more successfully, but with more restraint. Over time, though, this sort of thing has become the norm -- in part because the scope of the series has gotten so broad (across multiple star empires and multiple factions, as well as the military grunts on the sharp end of the stick), in part because ... well, it comes across as maybe a bit *easier* for Weber to do.

Honor doesn't show up until about half-way through the book, and even then, with a couple of exceptions, she's mostly a set piece. But, then, there are very few characters in the book who really come across as serious characters, even for purposes of melodrama (and while some of that is present, even it's more talked about than shown). Mostly people show up, advance the story by telling what just happened or what they are going to do next, and then move on.

There are a couple of space conflicts of the sort reminiscent of the series' origins, as well as some high drama at a few points, and the underlying Evil Plot gets a very few nods ... but much of the book is just ... well, just a series of events, mostly talked about, and ending more or less abruptly to lead into whatever the heck is going to happen next time.

It's still decently chewable popcorn. But rather than making me want to go back and reread the series to enjoy more of it, it's making want to go back and do so to make me remember how it used to be.


Apparently this book and the following volume, Shadow of Freedom, were split up from one massive over-sized volume Weber wrote. That's why, after reading SoF, I went back to read this installment.

For what it's worth, this half got the better parts, with the Talbott Sector plotlines being pulled into the second half. Oddly (or annoyingly), there are chapters that are shared, in whole or in part, in both books, though not always for obvious reasons.

I'm hoping the next book out will be a bit more of a unified tale.
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Tonimo I totally agree with you about these books. Just an added note: I have been reading the Kindle versions which have a lot of mistakes in the manuscript. There are odd word additions or incorrect words used in sentences. There is also awkward phrasing. These mistakes interrupt the flow of the story, I have found this to a be common flaw in the last several Honorverse novels in Kindle format.

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