Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

May 18, 2006

Once A Hero

Elizabeth Moon has written some really enjoyable military fantasy (The Deed of Paksenarrion comes to mind) but this book didn't impress me very much. The military space opera reminds me a great deal of David Weber, but I think Moon doesn't quite measure up to the standard. I think this book is a "side" book about a minor character in another series Moon has written, which may explain some of the items of dubious providence.

It begins well, with Esmay, the main character, on trial before a military tribunal for treason and mutiny when she inadvertantly became the commanding officer of an attack ship during an unexpected battle. Her actions saved many lives, but it's the military, after all, so there has to be a trial.

There is then a lengthy pause in the action when Esmay returns home to face her provincial and restrictive family, along with some personal trauma that is preventing her from realizing her full potential. The series of events seemed very contrived to me, because the overall indication was that it's the past that determines who you are and what you can do, not your choices. Too much psychologizing. Let's get back to the plot, please.

Things are a great deal more interesting after Esmay returns to the Navy and is reassigned, but of course nothing ever quite goes as planned when there are enemies about. Sabotage and infiltration by enemy troops worked together to make Esmay's new assignment anything but dull. Still, I found the events somewhat contrived. Here is a ship full of admirals, people that don't reach their position by accident, and they wind up relying on a green lieutenant to help them decide what to do.

It was an okay book, but I've read many that are much better.

Rating: 2.5

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