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

(Liaden Universe #3)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,831 ratings  ·  103 reviews
Assistant Trader Jethri Gobelyn was an honest, hardworking young man who knew a lot about living onboard his family's space-going trade ship; something about trade, finance, and risk-taking; and a little bit about Liadens. It was, oddly enough, the little bit he knew about Liadens that seemed like it might be enough to make his family's fortune, and his own, too. In short ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Ace (first published 2004)
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  1,831 ratings  ·  103 reviews

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May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: liaden, ya, space-opera, series
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)
Nov 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Such a great story, filled with great characters, who are full of honor, and cultured. 4/18/16 re-read: I stayed up till 6:30am re-reading it, these books are that good! 2018 re-read: Spending time in the Liaden universe is like visiting with old, dear, friends. 2019 re-read: Still just superb.
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, 2012, 10, 9, reread, 2005, sf
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
Charlie Moses
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sept. 2019 reread: This entry in the series takes place 1000+ years after the events in "Crystal Dragon" and about 250 years before "Agent of Change". I still think that Jethri Gobelyn is a great charater! Upon rereading this, having more knowledge of the Liaden Universe, I found the references to "Old Tech" intriguing and also the subplot about the dramlizt held more meaning.

This entry in the Liaden series takes place earlier than the other books I have read. I enjoyed young
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a reread after finishing the current latest novel, Neogenesis. I'd forgotten most of what happened in this book, and don't think that I'd had any of the context for the Old Tech elements in it (see Neogenesis and Crystal Soldier/Crystal Dragon) or the Uncle, who shows up in passing again with an unexpected connection to the protagonist. It was interesting to have the later-written Alliance of Equals, also a coming of age story for a young trader, to compare and contrast with it too, tho ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another strong entry in the Liaden series. This is one of my favorites so far, because I enjoyed the protagonist's struggles to understand and fit in as he tries to navigate the Liaden culture. There's some great humor, mixed with the usual politics and strong characters that I have come to expect from the authors.

This book would actually serve as a good place to start for people wondering where to start in the series, which is over 20 books long now, since it explains many of the elements that
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting story with good characters! I had originally skipped over this book because Korval wasn't involved but I'm so glad I finally read it. I enjoyed reading about the old tech and how Jethri came into being! ...more
Lis Carey
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf, fiction, audiobooks
It's some centuries after Cantra yos'Phelium and Tor An yos'Galen lead the great migration from humanity's previous home universe. Jethri Gobelyn is a young trader, living and working on his family's ship, Gobelyn's Market. He knows a little bit about all the different areas he needs to know as a trader, and is learning more--including about the Liadens. He's even learning the Liaden language

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. His knowledge of Liadens is just enough to get him in a major ta
Sep 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, kindle, fantasy
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
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kathy Martin
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the sequel to BALANCE OF TRADE and tells of the further adventures of Jethri Gobelyn on his journey to become a master trader. A lot of this story concerns politics begun by his father Arin Gobelyn and involves the mysterious Uncle and secrets that have been kept from Jethri all of his life.

When he is returned items he inherited from his father by the mother who threw him off his birth ship and seems to want to forget both Arin and Jethri, he comes into conflict with the Scouts who are d
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book when it first came out and I seem to remember think it was just all right. I’m rereading all the books and stories in series chronological order and liked it much better this time.
Sometimes I got really annoyed by Jethri’s youth and naiveté, and I just wanted to be back with the grownups, but there were some scenes that were just spot on, such as when, (view spoiler)
Mary Soon Lee
This is the tenth novel that I've read set in the authors' Liaden Universe, and the first of what I believe to be a duology of books centered on Jethri Gobelyn. I found both young Jethri and the book thoroughly agreeable. As with most of the Liaden Universe books that I've read, the story is easy reading, the characters well-drawn, the tone light. This book had an underlying warmth that made me feel welcome in the company of its characters. In this it reminded me particularly of another Liaden U ...more
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I've been meaning to try this series for years, but everyone who's recommended it seemed to have a different opinion on the best read order. And while this book isn't the first in either the publication order or the chronological one, someone suggested that it might work well as an introduction to the setting.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. Jethri is an interesting character, but I will say he was just a little too lucky for my taste. Some elements of the story just kind of taper off at the ending
May 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
2021. bk 77. Not the characters in the Korval family, this novel takes a look at a young human ship raid trading apprentice. When his ship captain says it is time for him to seek a new berth, young Jethri, through his honesty uncovers a plot to discredit the Liaden Clan Ixin - and thus finds himself apprenticed to the Liadens to learn the craft of trading. This book and its sequal give us a different view of life for the Liaden and some more back knowledge of the ancients. An excellent read!
Karla Thomas
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was the first Liaden book I read, and it made me want to go out and find all the other books and not stop reading till I'd finished them. I didn't do that, but I did eventually start to collect them and read them in the order that they were published, and now, coming back to this one in it's proper place, I've upped my rating by one star, because everything makes SO much more sense when you have the background. All the talk about the Old Tech (which I now realize are remnants of Sheriekas t ...more
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was my second time through this book. I first read it quite a few years ago. In the meanwhile, I have read all the other Liaden Universe books that have been published (except Neogenesis, which is in the pile waiting to be read). The first time around, I am sure I didn't understand a lot of what was happening. I definitely understood and enjoyed more this time. ...more
Nancy Messina
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book, but I felt like it just ended. There were so many plot pieces that felt unfinished. I am very glad that it looks like there is another book that follows Jethri or I would be pretty darn sad.
Teresa Dowd
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: culture clash and coming of age
Shelves: comfort-reads
One of my favorite Liad Universe books and a good entry point for the series because we learn about the Liaden as our hero does. I also like the trade centered stories more than intrigue which get off-putting once they reach a certain density.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, library
While this was still a fun read, it also began to be a little tiring that the Liadens are so Cultured and Civilized when compared to the Terrans. (Especially because I think I'd rather be a Terran. They may be less cultured and less subtle, but they can marry whoever they like.) ...more
Jeanie T
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is one of the best I've ever read. Cultural misunderstanding doesn't usually drive plot, but this is masterful. Stands alone. ...more
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved just about everything with this book!
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Great coming of age space opera set in the early space trading days of the Liaden Universe. This book takes place a long time after Crystal Dragon which help explain the beginnings of Liad.
Patricia Litz
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
One book at a time. The next one on request. Hard to put it down.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good
Gregory T Norman

Another book of excellent characterization, witty dialogue, and compelling plot. I’d stop there but I need ten more words. Finis.
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Space Opera Fans : Feb 2018 YA Balance of Trade by Lee & Miller 14 40 Feb 20, 2018 04:52AM  

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Sharon Lee has been married to her first husband for more than half her lifetime; she is a friend to cats, a member of the National Carousel Association, and oversees the dubious investment schemes of an improbable number of stuffed animals.

Despite having been born in a year of the dragon, Sharon is an introvert. She lives in Maine because she likes it there. In fact, she likes it so much that she

Other books in the series

Liaden Universe (1 - 10 of 24 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)

News & Interviews

  Jordan Morris is a comedy writer and podcaster whose credits include @Midnight, Unikitty! and Earth to Ned.  The sci-fi comedy Bubble is his...
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“Jethri had lately formed the theory that this reluctance to offer information was not what a Terran would call spitefulness, but courtesy. It would be—an insult, if his reading of the tapes was right, to assume that another person was ignorant of any particular something.” 1 likes
“Glancing aside, for Liadens counted a too-long stare at the face as rudeness,” 0 likes
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