Kiri's Reviews > I Dare

I Dare by Sharon Lee
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's review
Mar 27, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in January, 2003

Just reread this because I've been in a Liaden universe rereading frenzy. This is a favorite for many fans of Lee and Miller, and I can understand why. The wrap-up of the plot events that began with "Agent of Change" is a pretty big deal. It involves all of the living members of Clan Korval that we've come to know and love, plus we get to know a few of them a lot better than we ever have before.

So why does it leave me a little disappointed? I think the biggest issue is that it could easily have been a trilogy in itself. There's A LOT of plot here, and many important events are condensed into brief interludes. The Pat Rin sections of the story feel much like the earlier Liaden trilogy - we get to spend time with Pat Rin, observe subtle shifts in his expression, know how he feels about friends and family. But even his part of the novel COULD have been expanded to a full book. The elements dealing with Shan and Priscilla, Val Con and Miri, are all frenetic. After getting to know and love Daav in "Scout's Progress" I was genuinely disappointed by the brevity of his first meeting with his son. This book and the previous "Plan B" also suffer from something that perhaps doesn't bother every reader but which just rubs me the wrong way - our heroes, our central characters, are THE MOST AMAZING AND TALENTED PEOPLE IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE! They all have exceptional lifemate bonds; they all have skills and abilities beyond the average mortal; they all do new and amazing things constantly. Honestly I found Miri far more interesting when she was a skinny, red-headed mercenary woman struggling to deal with an alien culture in "Carpe Diem". Now that she knows everything and can deal calmly with dignitaries in High Liaden while checking her exceptional lifemate bond for constant updates on her superhuman husband there just doesn't seem to be character left to her except that she still speaks Terran in the same rough-hewn manner.

In the grand finale a lot of characters face a lot of danger but it never feels genuinely threatening. We already know that they will overcome. The last moment of vulnerability shows up as Pat Rin abases himself before Val Con; this gesture tells us things about his Liaden duties and expectations... but again, it's over too quickly.

One last thing - I read this book before reading the chapbook with Ren Zel's background story, and thanks to that he was a complete mystery to me. It seemed a shame to pop this guy into the narrative when not everyone has access to the chapbooks.

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