A Review of Once A Hero

Once a Hero (The Serrano Legacy, #4)Once a Hero by Elizabeth Moon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Call me completely dumb, but I read a full 300 pages of this novel before giving up because it had gotten so progressively STUPID. God, it was a stupid and boring novel. This was my first Elizabeth Moon novel and I had always heard pretty good things about her, but this was not a good introduction to her work for me. When I bought this, I didn’t know that this was the fourth book in a large series. It would have helped to read the preceding book and from what I could tell, the preceding book would have been a lot better.

In the preceding book, protagonist Lieutenant Esmay Suiza had survived a mutiny on a warship where her captain had turned traitor along with several other ship captains and there was a battle on the ship leaving her senior officer. She took the ship back to the ongoing warship battle and won, beating all odds. In this book, she’s court marshaled for mutiny and is exonerated. She goes to her home planet on leave, has a horrible time, can’t wait to get back to Fleet, and upon arriving, instead of being assigned to another warship, she discovers she’s assigned to a monstrously huge repair spaceship. It has 18 levels and is the size of an orbital space station. It has 25,000 personnel, a captain who hates her, and multiple admirals. She’s assigned to Hull and Architecture, a department she has no experience in, and yes, that’s about the most exciting department on this ship. And so begins an entire book of descriptions of inventory racks, getting lost on various levels, eating in mess halls, taking tubes to various levels, other departments, such as Scan, Tactical, blah, blah, blah. Oh my God, is it boring. She has to go get inventory number GS5077658SL or crap like that and find plan FR564972, etc. How many pages of that shit can you read? Fortunately some action finally occurs. Except that it’s beyond stupid. They find out about a damaged warship in another sector that they want to repair, so they “jump” without escort to get it, find dead and wounded people on it, transfer all of the bloody but strangely unwounded (after all) people to the sick bay, and start working on the ship, which will apparently take months to repair. Two warships that were with the damaged one leave them to go back to their previous destination, leaving the repair ship alone. Understand that their enemies lack good technology and would like nothing more than to capture this type of ship so they could use it for themselves. And so the 25 wounded crew members of the ship they just got are an enemy commando team. And a couple of hours after they’ve been in sick bay, the authorities on the repair ship, get them up, give them clothes and IDs and assign them to various departments to work because they desperately need their help. They desperately need the help of 25 people who don’t know anything about their ship when they already have 25,000 people? Yeah, that’s logical. How freaking stupid is that? When Esmay’s assigned person comes, she gets a bad feeling about him, shares it with her boss, and immediately concludes that it’s an enemy commando team that attacked the ship they took in, killed its personnel, put on their uniforms, are acting as Fleet personnel, and are now spread all over the repair ship ready to take it over. She just knew it. She knew the plan. Somehow. It’s amazing. It’s beyond comprehension that she would be able to come to that conclusion just by interacting with one person from that ship. It literally makes no sense whatsoever. It’s stupid as hell. Of course, it turns out that she’s right, but it’s virtually impossible for anyone to come to that conclusion based on just her instinct. And then the enemy commando team of 25 people steal a few dull dinner knives from the mess hall while eating, get together, and laughingly plan to take over the ship, killing as many people as possible with these “weapons” even though they face 25,000 people. Meanwhile, the captain and admirals have been alerted to everything by Esmay and are planning on taking over the oncoming enemy warships when they arrive, even though they have no weapons. Then they’re going to blow up their own ship and people to keep it out of the hands of the enemy. I read a little bit further. The bad guys take a hostage, Esmay’s love interest. They kill a few people. But I just stopped because the book had gotten so fucking stupid, I just couldn’t continue. I can’t believe how boring and how dumb this book and this premise is. I’ve just finished reading the first 10 Honor Harrington books, which I’ve compared this book to because of the theoretically strong female protagonists, but David Weber can write a believable, compelling story and Honor rocks. Moon is a weak writer who chooses boring things to write about and writes unrealistic scenes and scenarios and makes her books unbelievable as a result. If she had just made some adjustments, changed some things, it could have been better, maybe much better, I’m not sure. But she didn’t and as a result, the book sucks. I’m not going to give any more books in this series a chance. There may be some good ones, but I’m not risking it. Not recommended.

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