Michael's Reviews > Off Armageddon Reef

Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber
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's review
Dec 11, 2008

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bookshelves: obscure-references-book-group, fantasy, read-in-2009
Read in November, 2009

The prologue portion of "Off Armageddon Reef" is a fascinating, compelling and interesting set-up for what could have been a great book.

Humanity is facing extermination at the hands of a ruthless enemy. The last remnants of a fleet are making a last stand in space in an attempt to hide a colony effort that will remove technology from humanity and, hopefully, render the colony off the aliens' radar.

The plan succeeds with some fancy tricks, but then it's revealed there are schisms within the human fleet on how take our technology level back in time and make sure we stay there.

It's at this point the novel takes a left turn for the next 500 or so pages, looking at the colony world. The story goes from epic sci-fi to a fantasy novel with a few elements and questions about the nature of belief and religion thrown in for good measure.

The problem is that in the tonal shift, the narrative slows down to the point that watching paint dry would be faster. Weber seems to be in a need of a good edit or two to trim out some of the fat of this novel (which I hear this series could go as far as eight books...) and maybe the series as a whole. There are some naval battles that you can tell Weber is having a good time writing, but the book as a whole ends with a sigh rather than on a rousing note.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Jeffrey I disagree about the nature of this book. I think its not a fantasy at all, although you are not the first to posit that. I think it is in a way an alternative history book set in another universe. There are no fantasy elements other than the people live in Medieval times. No magic, no dragons. Nothing. Merely because the people live in a medieval setting does not make it a fantasy. Plus Merlin introduces techological solutions to issues. Is that magic in any way. I do not think so. I am well aware of the quote that an advanced technology that is so advanced might seem like magic, but his technological insights aid the people to make industrial revolution strides. Does Merlin as a character play on the role of the mystic warrior -- he does. I happen to think Weber does a good job of world building here, invents an interesting church enemy etc. It is in the later books that I found the length tobe more of a problem, but you are correct that in general this book and the others in this series are too long.

Michael I can see what you're saying about it not being necessarily a fantasy. I should have said that I found it shared a lot of elements with a fantasy novel, esp. the court intrigue and politics that take place during the course of the story.

I think Weber has become such a name that his editors won't edit him. I need to read an earlier work before I can really say this for certain....

message 3: by Katherine (new) - added it

Katherine Coble A friend sent me an email begging me to read these books not 12 hours before you posted your review. Now I'm so conflicted. I guess you and I split views enough that I should go ahead and give it a try, but after the enthusiasm Jason had for the series I was surprised to see you not like it.

Michael There are some interesting ideas and concepts in the book....

I'd give it a try. You may enjoy it more than I do.

Jeffrey Katherine

I think this series is very good. If you like sf you should give the first book a try.

message 6: by Katherine (new) - added it

Katherine Coble How did you guys handle all the ridiculous names??!!

And where was Weber's editor?? This book aches to be trimmed and shaped into something a bit less authorially indulgent.

Michael I wondered the same thing myself. Is Weber such a "big name" in the publishing world that editors are afraid to edit him?

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