***Dave Hill's Reviews > The Honor of the Queen

The Honor of the Queen by David Weber
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Mar 14, 14

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Read in April, 2012, read count: 4

This is likely my favorite of the Honorverse books, though all of the first half-dozen have something to recommend them and, as it was the first I read, I may be slightly prejudiced.

Still, it's damn fine space opera / SF Military Melodrama, as Our Heroine faces prejudice, assassins, holy warriors, and Impossible Odds, and does so with feet of -- well, not clay, but not the perfect water-walking platinum (metaphorically speaking) she later attains. She has flaws here -- insecurities, uncertainties, inabilities, guilty conscience, and rash anger, and that lends a pleasant imperfection to her competence, admirability, and heroism. Only an overhelping of Dungeon Master Rewards at the end tarnish the tale, making it just a bit too good to suspend belief over.

Still, it's a fine, fun read. And re-read.

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PREVIOUSLY (Apr 2012)

When I first starting reading the Honorverse series, this was actually the first volume I (inadvertently) picked up, and it took a bit to realize that the references to the previous book weren't just backstory hints.

HotQ is splendid military space opera, with big battles interspersed with personal melodrama, and political intrigue. The book is not solely about (or even solely from the PoV) of Honor, though she still takes center stage, and this book strikes a good balance in that which lasts for several more volumes. Some of the drama is still overwrought, but other bits of it still, frankly, choke me up (the scenes on Blackbird station, for example). Weber does a good job -- amidst the straw man mustachioed villains -- of also providing antagonists for the "good guys" who are respectable and honorable individuals.

Which raises one of the key elements of the tale, that of religion. Transitioning from a secular society (albeit one with sort of a ceremonial High Church aspect), we encounter a world founded by religious fundamentalists. Weber walks some fine lines here, mostly successfully, both in noting how Real Life affects religious beliefs, and how those beliefs in turn change how one reacts to Real Life. Further, he manages to have religious believers (even zealous ones) across a spectrum of wackiness -- from folks who are willing to distinguish between moral imperatives and their own cultural prejudices, to folks who quite clearly are not. It's not wildly nuanced, but it's better than a lot of other treatments of recognizable religion in science fiction.

If HotQ has a weak point, it comes at the very end, when the author bumps the main player character up five levels, giving her rewards and accolades far beyond reason. If it was just for simple coolness, then it's poorly done; if it was to escalate the following books, it's a bit more understandable but still poorly done.

Still, overall, it's a very fun book, and one that I keep coming back to. It's also a foundational book in the series, laying the groundwork for further adventures in the Grayson system and with Honor's relationship to the society there.
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