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Balance of Trade (Liaden Universe, #3)
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Balance of Trade (Liaden Universe #3)

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  1,226 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Assistant Trader Jethri Gobelyn is an honest, hardworking young Terran who knows a lot about living onboard his family's space going trade ship 'Gobelyn's Market', something about trade, finance, and risk taking and a little bit about Liadens.

Oddly enough, it's the little bit he knows about Liadens that seems likely to make his family's fortune—and his own. In short order,
Published by Baen (first published 2004)
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I read this space opera in Kindle format (some typos) in a collection titled The Crystal Variation, containing the first three stories in the series, not by publication order, but chronologically: Crystal Soldier , Crystal Dragon, and Balance of Trade. Of the three, Balance of Trade is the least confusing (thus the most enjoyable) on the first read. It is also the least contingent on the two prequels. It stands alone nicely. Not much background knowledge is needed, since BoT is not set on Liad, ...more
Laura (Kyahgirl)
Re-Read, August 2013

4/5; 4 stars; A-

I enjoyed this book much more the second time through and am really glad that Lee and MIller have written a sequel. I am hoping that some of my favorite characters, such as Miandra, Norn ven' Deelin, scout ter'Astin and Tan Sim will be in the next book, along with Jethri. My only complaint about this book is the ending. There were some pretty significant facts revealed in the last few pages. I had the sense of a racing train screeching to a stop. (view spoiler
ORIGINAL READ: 10/10 (5 May 2005 - 10 May 2005)

Jethri Goeblyn is a very junior, and somewhat unwanted, apprentice on the Terran trading ship, Gobelyn's Market. While stopped on a Liaden world, Liaden ways being very different from Terran ways, he finds himself embroiled in Liaden politics and a possible trade scam. He is even more surprised at the end of the matter, to find himself apprenticed to Liaden Master Trader Norn ven'Deelin.

Thus begins Jethri's apprenticeship not only in Trade, but als
I personally think it's weird to have all these scifi books about trading- Elizabeth Moon, Charles Stross- very ironic, there is another. Or they're strictly martial- Laura Reeve, Cherryh is a mix of the two, I guess. Or more of a sociological/global take. Anyway, I liked this very much, esp the language! The Liaden way of conversing is a character in itself. And It's pretty obviously Eastern ways vs Western ways. Also great tension with the sub-stories- can't wait to read the sequels.
A little slow to start, with the introduction of new people, in a new time. But once the exposition was out of the way, this novel picked up the pace and delivered another great installment. Set between the original books and their prequel, and written from the perspective of a Terran 'outsider' this story fills in more details of Liaden society. Interestingly it was written before the prequels; having read it afterwards it slots neatly in between them, describing how society has changed since t ...more
I am enjoying the Liaden series of books so much. I'm actually almost angry when I finished this one that there wasn't more to the story. And, I can see by the universe timeline that I won't be seeing these characters again. (edit: a sequel is coming out in 2013) Phooey! I really, really like Jethri and the twins. I'm going to be grumbly until I get well started with the next story. (I'm thrilled that there are many stories left to read!)

On the reread, I was just as smitten with the story. I do
Joe Martin
Young Jethri Gobelyn is a crew member on Gobelyn’s Market, a Terran trade ship. It’s a family owned ship. His mother is the captain, his uncle is the Trader. He’s 17 years old and studying to be a Trader himself. He was born on Gobelyn’s Market and he’s lived there his entire life, with his family. But all of that’s about to change.

Jethri was relaxing in a dockside bar, after successfully completing a Trade deal and earning a good bit of profit for the ship. He was approached by another Trader a
Charlie Moses
I really, really liked it. Again, in fact, as I've read it several times. It's clever, goes a number of really interesting places, has a bunch of interesting people, and has an over-riding purpose to fulfill. Excellent fiction of the sf-space opera variety. And why am I reading so many books by Lee and Miller, you ask? It would be because someone else decided to read all of the Liaden Universe works - novels and short stories, in chronological order, one chapter per day, with commentary on each. ...more
Emily (BellaGrace)
This is my 3rd Liaden book (reading them in chronological order) and I really liked it. My minor gripe is that there are several terms used in the book that are used often, but aren't really explained until much later in the book and they aren't included in the dictionary at the end of the book (like "fractin" and "combine key"). However, I really liked all the characters in this book, the action was fast paced. I'm new to the Liaden world so I could identify with Jethra - everything was new and ...more
Katharine Kimbriel
Feb 16, 2014 Katharine Kimbriel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of literate, character-driven adventure SF, coming of age SF, space adventure/opera fans
As I recall, Balance of Trade won the Hal Clement Award for Young Adults for Excellence in Children's Science Fiction Literature—but don’t let its YA/teen origins keep you from reading the book. It’s not only an excellent coming of age story, it’s also one of the back door entries into the Liaden Universe.

Sharon Lee & Steve Miller’s rousing, sometimes intricate romantic space adventures span centuries and many characters. Balance of Trade is a nice, clean explanation of why you’ll want to re
Re-read in July 2013 since a sequel is coming out later this year with an eARC possibly this month.
Changed rating from four to five stars.

After Local Custom this is the best book for introducing Liaden society through the eyes of a Terran. Jethri Gobelyn, member of a Terran family of traders, becomes apprenticed to Liaden Master Trader Norn ven'Deelin.
The main focus of the story is Jethri's evolution from the youngest member of a ship's crew to a young gentleman and recognized trader. This was o
Kathy Martin
BALANCE OF TRADE is an excellent coming of age story set in a richly detailed alien world. Jethri Gobelyn is the son of a trading family and is being taught to become a trader himself. His mother is the ship's captain and his father, deceased for ten years, was the ship's master trader. Jethri's relationship with his mother is poor as she seems to blame him for the loss of her husband. She wants to sell him off her ship to another trading family.

Jethri has come into contact with a Liaden Master
When I added this to my list of book I thought I'd read it and didn't think it was that good. But this weekend, looking for something to read I grabbed it by accident and read it "again". Only it wasn't again it was for the first time.

It was a pretty good book. At least average for the Liaden books of Miller and Lee, which are some of my favorite books of all time, so that makes it better than most book.

If you are new to the Liadian books I wouldn't say read this first. The core novels are the b
Though I love all the Liaden Universe novels and short stories, this is the one I chose to take with me to Mongolia. Not because it can act as a standalone novel(until the sequel is published sometime in late 2013), though it is a nice side-benefit. It is because I feel a special kinship with Jethri, fascinated by the wide world(s) out there, humbled by learning a new language and new customs, and continually hopeful that through time and sincere effort new and strong relationships can be built ...more
Re-read April 2014 before reading the newly published sequel Trade Secret.

I've always liked a good "underdog coming into his own" story, and this one doesn't disappoint, even on second read.
Highly recommend, looking forward to the sequel (which I'll restart now. :)
Balance of Trade was never my favorite Liaden book and I had rather forgotten all about it when I picked it up for a re-read in advance of starting Trade Secret. Lee and Miller have an extraordinary ability to construct an obviously alien but understandable world through the smallest of dialogue quirks and casual details. They then use these extraordinary worlds to explore characters, rather than the other way around- my favorite mode of storytelling!

Jethri spends the majority of this book knowi
Rich Van Ollefen
Worth reading, a lot of descriptions of events that is pretty irrelevant to the story, like how the chairs are arranged and how a ship handles after a refit (which might matter if it affected anything, but it doesnt. The books meanders around a lot, then wham, in 10 pages 2 major plot elements are revealed.
3.5 stars. Set in between the pre-Liaden and the current Liaden timeframe, there's no direct contact with the Korval clan (which I sorely missed) but it does provide an in-depth study of the customs of both Liadens and Terrans in the midst of a Boy's Own Adventure story. Slow in places but still interesting for avid followers of the Liaden Universe.
This is my third time reading this book, and I seem to like it more every time.

The ebook I got from Baen calls this a Liaden origin story, and it's set probably centuries before the main line stories. It's a standalone, though I'd still be happy to see a sequel and see more of Jethri and his foster-cousin twins.

Jethri Gobelyn is a teen boy who's lived his whole life on his family's Trader ship. His father is dead, his mother is the Captain and prefers to ignore Jethri as much as possible, but he
Mina Khan
A fun space opera with an underdog hero, interesting universe, and political intrigue. It's reminded me a bit of Bujold's Vorkosigan saga, which I'm now wanting to re-read. :)
Eric Jackson
I'm a big fan but the pacing of both of the Trade books was way off for me. Lots of great cultural interludes, too many for my tastes though. Solid writing and world building though.
Entertaining as all of the Liaden novels are, this isn't one of my favorites, for the simple fact that it feels disconnected from the others; it's a little fuzzy on space/time cues, and the reader winds up wondering when in the timeline it's supposed to fit in, seeing as how it seems to be establishing premises and ideas that don't show up anywhere else in the main continuity. Still, if you read it as an isolated book (and don't try to make it fit with the others), it's a sweet little coming-of- ...more
ms bookjunkie
Story: A Terran among Liadens! *happy sigh* 4.5 stars

Narration: Basic narrative is good, pleasant to the ear. Male voices are pretty good, female voices between acceptable and good. Some voices are on the edge of annoying—or over the edge to smarmy. Accents… accents are between good and totally wrong. The use of British and Irish accents for Liadens is especially wrong, as BD uses Irish for Terrans from New Dublin. 2.5-3 stars
I was talked into reading this book by a musician friend, and found it to be a blend of C. J. Cherryh's Merchanter stories and Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover stories, blended in a good way. I had a few quibbles with the technology revealed near the end, but the story itself was interesting for the same reason that Cherryh's books are interesting...the story unfolds very slowly, with bits of frantic action interwoven at the right places. The "Trader's Leap" sequence, and the drink named after t ...more
An enjoyable read, but terribly unfinished. It cries out for a sequel (which is apparently in the works...I certainly hope so!) The ending does feel a little rushed, with many plot-threads being drawn hastily together and revelations made one on top of another - but mostly what it does is leave the reader wanting more! So, as the first in a duology/trilogy/series, it does its job splendidly, introducing the reader to a new and appealing cast of characters and whetting his/her/zer appetite for th ...more
Kae Cheatham
Interesting story that took too long to develop. Part of it is built on previous books of the series, and perhaps since I hadn't read them I missed some of the nuances.

The ending was predictable and not terribly inspiring. It seemed to be written for YA, although that wasn't stated. No subterfuge or adult considerations; or perhaps it was set up for the RPG market. Interesting "universe" and cultural development. OK writing. I will try others of the series to see if that makes a difference in h
Daisy Madder
Aside from a minor quibble that the last few chapters seemed overly rushed, an enjoyable romp
Scottsdale Public Library
Jethri has always lived on his family's space ship, learning their trade. He has also always been a source of tension and the center of family secrets. When his mother proposes trading him to another ship, Jethri makes a radical choice and changes his life forever. This book is a stand alone entry in a series. The world building is fantastic and I was rooting for Jethri the whole way. This is a very solid sci-fi adventure and an excellent introduction to the Liaden series.

Jethri Gobelyn is a promising trader-in-training, but his family has arranged his apprenticeship with an ore ship. When a dockside scam causes Jethri to meet Liaden Trader Norn van'Deelin, he has the opportunity not only to become an apprentice Trader, but also to be a bridge between peoples. However, there are other people who don't want to see Jethri succeed, and when secrets about his family's past and trade surface, danger and opportunity increase. Another great Liaden book.
Not having read any of the other Liaden Universe books, and this one being #3 in the series, there is a lot of background and nuance that I'm sue to have missed. That being said, Balance of Trade reveals a interstellar society rich in culture and history and sociology. If you enjoy well-developed characters moving within a superbly constructed world whose detail is deliciously paced, then immerse yourself in the trading venues and ships of the humans and Liaden.
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Other Books in the Series

Liaden Universe (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • Crystal Soldier (The Great Migration Duology, #1) (Liaden Universe, #1)
  • Crystal Dragon (The Great Migration Duology, #2) (Liaden Universe, #2)
  • Trade Secret (Liaden Universe, #4)
  • Local Custom (Liaden Universe, #5)
  • Scout's Progress (Liaden Universe, #6)
  • Mouse and Dragon (Liaden Universe, #7)
  • Conflict of Honors (Liaden Universe, #8)
  • Agent of Change (Liaden Universe, #9)
  • Carpe Diem (Liaden Universe, #10)
  • Plan B (Liaden Universe, #11)
Agent of Change (Liaden Universe, #9) Fledgling (Theo Waitley, #1; Liaden Universe, #12) Conflict of Honors (Liaden Universe, #8) Local Custom (Liaden Universe, #5) I Dare (Liaden Universe, #13)

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