The Truth of Valor – Tanya Huff

Slogged through the mud to victory.

Stars: Four out of five.

Review format: Review plus links.
Summary: Former Marine Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is attempting to build a new life with salvage operator Craig Ryder on his ship, the Promise. Turns out civilian life is a lot rougher than she’d imagined-salvage operators are losing both cargo and lives to pirates. And when they attack the Promise, Craig is taken prisoner and Torin is left for dead.When Torin finds out why the pirates needed Craig, she calls in the Marines to get him back – and to stop the pirates from changing the balance of power in known space. (from the publisher via bookdaze)
Provenance: Borrowed from the local library.

I had a difficult three-score pages getting started with The Truth of Valor. I climbed out of this ‘mud’ when in chapter three (page 59 my book) Torin and Craig spar (verbally) over whether they should take up a fight against apparent pirates who’ve killed an ex-Marine.

Up till then, though, I was starting to worry whether Torin had jumped the shark at the end of Valor’s Trial. Was the ‘War was a Sham’ finale of the previous book going to leave her purposeless? If so, I didn’t want to see the ugly result.  But… Who knows, maybe this was deliberate meta-suspense on Huff’s part! Mean of her, if so. I was starting to worry maybe this wasn’t going to work out!

In the course of writing this review, I’ve decided that this book actually describes Torin turning an important corner in her life, now that the big war has been revealed to be a fake. She’s going to have a new mission in future books (see my liked list below if you don’t mind spoilers).

Recommended especially to Torin fans. Remember, Torin is like Heris Serrano in her purple uniform!

Linkage, Spoilage, and minor Quibbles below

Links and other reviews (added by me, not generated)

  • Alec at Only the Best SciFi – points out the deeper themes plus gives thumbs-up for the fun “also showcases a deeper focus on the moral implications associated with the use of deadly force…. Don’t let my lofty talk about the deeper issues distract you form the fact that The Truth of Valor is one hell of a ride. While the book is perhaps not the best in the series, it certainly hits many of the same high notes and is sure to delight any and all fans of military sci-fi.”
  • Michael Ventrella’s Blog-tour interview with the author “what I said was, I decided to write a vampire book because I was working in a bookstore and had observed that vampire readers were very, very loyal to their genre. That they’d buy anything with fangs on the cover in the desperate hope of finding something decent to read. I figured if I wrote a good vampire book, then I’d give the vampire fans what they were looking for and they’d be that loyal to me. So I did. And they are. But twenty odd years ago when I wrote BLOOD PRICE, vampires were no where near as widely popular as they are now. This was pre-Buffy, remember.”
  • Tanya Huff’s blog on LiveJournal
  • Apparently abandoned blog Book Smart: good, but seemed like filler “…rather like Ms. Huff decided to explore a secondary story line before heading back into the real action. That said, I enjoyed the story and felt it moved the series and characters along. More of a romance than the rest of the series, there is still plenty of the same action, witty dialogue and inside jokes featured in the first four books.”

Quibbles

  • I was getting twitchy up through about page 59, then finally – a way to bring the Marine angle back in. Oh, thank goodness. Torin stuck in a small scout ship with her significant other nothing to do except talk about their feelings and practice navigation?
  • The bad-guy point of view segments felt a bit boring. I was definitely paging through those segments faster.  Perhaps if I had read prior Torin books more recently, and had a firmer memory of ‘her’ soldiers, then these guys would have been more interesting in contrast… as it was, it was Krai and Taykans that seemed awfully similar to the good guys.

Things I liked (including some spoilers)

  • Excellent, excellent quote. I dog-eared the library-book page (don’t tell anyone).  Big Bill – the black-market runner, stealer of a space-station, asks Torin why she needs to know a particular detail of his station’s layout… ‘Torin gave him her best that question is too stupid to require a facial expression. “We’ll need to move some large equipment back in.” ‘
  • minor spoiler – The fighting and the strifing, once Craig Ryder is taken hostage. I appreciated Craig getting his share of being-tough time. Not that I wanted him tortured, but I liked having the additional character development.
  • MAJOR Spoiler – The last page and a half, then the payoff in the very, very last paragraph! Huff cleverly sneaks by a strange plotting jump – did the docking clamps really let Torin’s ship loose in time? No, they didn’t, it’s unexplainable, unless you remember that they’d have been made of (tah-DAH) plastic.
  • So, all in all, I’ve decided that this is a ‘turning the corner’ not ‘jumping the shark‘. It’s like Elizabeth Moon’s Serrano succession – no longer in the military, but defining a new role for ass-kicking.  Or, Miles Vorkosigan becoming an Imperial Auditor when he hangs up the Admiral Naismith uniform forever. This bumps up the rating to four stars. 🙂

—.~.~.~.—

Shall I link to your review? Let me know in a comment or contact, and I can add the link here.

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