Posts Tagged Military Science Fiction

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

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Cryoburn – Lois McMaster Bujold

The title is the worst part.

Stars: Four-and-a-quarter of five.

Review format: Review plus links.
Cryoburn – Lois McMaster Bujold. Summary: Kibou-daini is a planet obsessed with cheating death. Barrayaran Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan can hardly disapprove—he’s been cheating death his whole life, on the theory that turnabout is fair play. But when a Kibou-daini cryocorp—an immortal company whose job it is to shepherd its all-too-mortal frozen patrons into an unknown future—attempts to expand its franchise into the Barrayaran Empire, Emperor Gregor dispatches his top troubleshooter Miles to check it out.
On Kibou-daini, Miles discovers generational conflict over money and resources is heating up, even as refugees displaced in time skew the meaning of generation past repair. Here he finds a young boy with a passion for pets and a dangerous secret, a Snow White trapped in an icy coffin who burns to re-write her own tale, and a mysterious crone who is the very embodiment of the warning Don’t mess with the secretary. Bribery, corruption, conspiracy, kidnapping—something is rotten on Kibou-daini, and it isn’t due to power outages in the Cryocombs. And Miles is in the middle—of trouble! (webscription.net)
Provenance: Purchased online via webscription.net. It is only published ‘standalone’.

Cryoburn was published in 2010, and as far as I know it is the furthest along in Miles’ adventures.  I strongly recommend this book, particularly to people who are fans of the Vorkosigan universe.

It is well-written and enjoyable.  As a quibble, I must say that Miles seems not to have the zest and momentum he had at a younger age, but then again he is a family man now, and settled in his unusual career as Imperial Auditor.  The eleven-year-old boy Jin Sato is a good foil for Miles, not just in youth and enthusiasm, but also to provide an external point of view onto Miles and Armsman Roic.

I did have the feeling that interesting things must have been missed in the six or so years that passed since the previous book.

Ware Spoilers below

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Memory – Lois McMaster Bujold

One of many Vorkosigan stories.

Stars: Three and a half of five.

Review format: Note plus links.
Memory – Lois McMaster Bujold. Summary: Dying is easy. Coming back to life is hard. At least that’s what Miles Vorkosigan thinks and he should know, having done both once already. That was when he last visited the planet of Jackson’s Whole, while rescuing his brother. Thanks to quick thinking on the part of his staff, and incredible artistry on the part of the specialist who revived him, his first death won’t be his last. But his next one might be, a realization he finds profoundly unsettling.Even after he returns to military duty, his late death seems to be having a greater effect than he’s willing to admit. Unfortunately, his weakness reveals itself to the world at large at just the wrong time and in just the wrong way, and Miles is summoned home to face Barrayaran security chief Simon Illyan. But when things begin to go subtly wrong in Imperial Security itself, “Who shall guard the guardians ” becomes a more-than-rhetorical question, with a potentially lethal answer. (The publisher)
Provenance: Purchased online via webscription.net. It is only published standalone, not in any current omnibus.

This novel fills the gap between Admiral Naismith’s adventures in Mirror Dance and Imperial Auditor Vorkosigan’s investigation on Komarr.  Miles, and Simon Illyan, struggle to define themselves when they lose an essential part of how they’ve defined themselves.

This was solid and enjoyable, but not as good as Mirror Dance or Barrayar.

Linkage below

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Barrayar – Lois McMaster Bujold

One of many award-winning Vorkosigan stories.

Stars: Four of five.

Review format: Brief review plus links.
Barrayar – Lois McMaster Bujold. Summary: In 1992, Barrayar won both the Hugo Award for Best Novel and the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.
Cordelia Naismith was resourceful and courageous, but what is Lady Vorkosigan like? When her life is shattered by a soltoxin grenade, the unfortunate Barrayarans who target her husband and hit her child find out. (goodreads)
Provenance: Purchased online via webscription.net. It is only published in an omnibus version called Cordelia’s Honor.

Barrayar was thoroughly enjoyable. After slogging through Shards of Honor left me wondering why Cordelia was such a favorite character with some bloggers, I found out with this book why Cordelia is awesome.  The pacing is snappy, the characterization is gripping and confident, major and minor characters are important and realistic, and interesting moral/ethical dilemmas are presented.

Why, then, did I give it only four out of five stars?  I almost never hand out five stars – so if you start from four-and-a-half… Half a star deducted for not having breathtakingly beautiful writing throughout.

I strongly recommend this book.

An excellent discussion of the book provided by the author as an afterword to Cordelia’s Honor.  Bujold points out themes and tells the evolution of the book’s story.

Ware Spoilers below

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