Like a Mighty Army by David Weber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Boy, I really don’t know how I feel about this book or about this series anymore. On one hand, I love the series. It’s an awesome, epic story told by a fantastic writer. On the other, like so many other people, I’m getting so damn bitter about the author and his stupid manipulations of us, the readers he obviously holds in disdain, so he can sell a zillion more books. His books move at glacial paces, almost nothing of note ever happens, no progress ever gets made, we’re never much more further along in the story line than in the previous book(s). My God, at this rate, I’m easily going to die before the series ends!!! How in the world Weber expects to move from steam engines and breech loading rifles to plasma weapons and space ships to fight aliens in outer space in a few more books is beyond comprehension. It’s literally impossible at his pace. His books go at about one year per book. This was his seventh book. We’ve come seven years. We’ve gone from cannon balls to artillery shells. Wow. Impressive. Not. At the same time, the story is so amazing and so compelling, that you just want to know how everything is going to work out, what’s going to happen to Charis, to the Church, to Merlin, to the main characters. What’s going to happen??? I want to know, dammit!
This book is no different from the last book. We’re still fighting land battles in Siddarmark. However, at least, tides have turned from the last book and in this book Charisian forces are kicking the hell out of Church forces and their allies all over the Republic and it’s sweet justice to see. Additionally, there are two or three big plot twists, which should and probably will prove interesting in future books — all 45 of them, I’m sure — and the very end of the book is pretty cool and makes me want to read the next book immediately. And it isn’t due to be published until next month. Oh well.
The same problems exist in this book, only more so. The naming conventions are still a nightmare. Changing all the vowels to consonants is insane, but Weber does it, so you have names like Wyllyys and crap like that. And that’s an easy one. He likes to throw as many “y,” “z” and “r” letters into names as possible as replacements for “i” and “e,” etc., and it is enough to make you want to kill the man. Then again, if you’ve made it this far in the series, I guess you’re used to it. I’m still irritated at all of the titles though. Everyone is a baron, earl, prince, upper priest, vicar, bishop, duke, princess, etc, and adding that to the names is enough to drive anyone nuts. Then there are Weber’s pet phrases that he uses repeatedly. Everyone “snorts.” I’ve never seen so many people snort in my entire life. It’s fucking insane. Everyone, including the women and girls, “bare their teeth.” Um, excuse me? This is my pet peeve, I admit, cause I’ve mentioned this in reviews of previous books in this series, but WEBER, no one bares their fucking TEETH!!! Dogs bare their teeth. Wolves bare their teeth. HUMANS DO NOT BARE THEIR DAMN TEETH!!! And he has to have every character in the book do it at least three times on probably every other page through all 900+ pages throughout the book. I want to kill Weber for this alone. It’s brutal. To make matters worse, everyone — all of the bad guys and all of the good guys — do the following: when they are talking with people and, no matter how serious the topic, like they’re about to die in battle, they are for some reason possibly amused, their lips possibly “twitch.” Twitching lips. Oh my God! I must have read about twitching lips some 150 times in this book. Seriously, sometimes I wish Weber would have a fatal heart attack so I wouldn’t have to read this shit anymore cause as long as he writes these Safehold books, I’m going to read them, cursing his name the entire time. But as much as I resent him, I love these books so much. And I’m not the only one who feels this way. Go through the online reviews. Most reviewers feel like me. Most hate Weber for his naming conventions, for his plodding pace, for his making this into a 40 book series, for his overused phrases, but everyone says they have to keep reading because it’s such an amazing story and they have to find out what happens and it’s true. It is. And I do. I just wish I could sometime this century. I’m hoping the war in Siddarmark will end sometime in the next two or three books. That will mean it will only have taken five books to get through this damn war. Then we can move on to the Temple Lands and attack Zion and the Group of Four and unseat the Church. Sweet justice, then. Because of how this book ended, I’m anxious to begin the next one, as I said.
This book was good. There was plenty of action. A lot of battle action. A lot of tactics. Far too much about supply lines though. Far too much about gunpowder and the speed of bullets. Skip that crap, Weber, and cut down on the book’s size for our sake, please. Just get to the action. Weber can do a battle like no other. He’s a master. He just gets bogged down in the tactical details from all sides and it’s agonizing at times. Also, one of the faults of this book is that there are so many minor characters and so many chapters and sections opening with minor characters that you have no idea who they are or what army they’re with or who they fight for or anything until you’ve read a little while and it’s annoying. Speaking of characters, again, there are far too many. At the back of the book, there are at least 80 pages of characters listed in an index, which is insane. I have no idea how Weber keeps track of them. I certainly can’t. I’ve said this before, and so have many other people, but he seriously needs several editors, because he obviously has none. This is a five star book with three star problems, thus earning it four stars. Similar to several other Safehold books. I wish Weber would learn from his mistakes and/or listen to his readers. I guess he’s too arrogant for that since he’s obviously making tens of millions of dollars from us. If you’re reading the series, the book is obviously recommended. If you’re not, don’t read it; begin with the first book. You won’t understand it if you don’t.