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Posts Tagged ‘David Weber’

A Review of Hell’s Foundations Quiver

Posted by Scott Holstad on October 22, 2015

Hell's Foundations Quiver (Safehold, #8)Hell’s Foundations Quiver by David Weber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

WARNING: THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN A GREAT DEAL OF PROFANITY. IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY PROFANITY, PLEASE DO NOT READ IT.

Hell’s Foundations Quiver (Safehold #8) was a fantastic book. But David Weber, the author, is a first class ASSHOLE and I’m getting really sick of this addictive fucking series he’s written. This is the fourth straight book with the war in Siddermark and with where the book ended, it’s clear to me that there will need to be between two and four more books before this war is concluded, if then. And that’s too goddamn much. Damn it, the first war was over in one book, the first. The second war, between Charis and Corisonde, was over in one book. Why the fuck can’t this fucking war be over in one fucking book??? Why the hell does it have to stretch over four fucking books, and now apparently many more? WTF? Weber is obviously a greedy fuck who has discovered that if you write 1,000 page books in such incredible detail from so many perspectives, you can draw a war out six or eight or 10 books and suckers like you and me will pay countless millions for them. Cause it’s admittedly an awesome story. In fact, it’s the best story I’ve ever read. That’s why I keep coming back to it, even with all the stupid names I resent so much and even with all of the phrases Weber has his characters repeat on virtually every other page until you want to bash your head into the wall. Countless reviewers have commented on how slow the plot is. Well, he’s slowed it down even more. Even though this book is probably the best Siddermark book in the series, and even though it’s full of action and battles, nothing really happens. There’s no progression. No resolution. Just a military stalement for yet another year, basically. So why write the fucking book at all? Because Weber wants to make bank, that’s why? Greedy prick! I’d love to tell that SOB off. He’s the most amazing writer, even with his bad, annoying habits, and can create the most amazing worlds, but damn, he manipulates his readers with his unbelievably slowed down and unresolved plots. Yes, it was good to see the vicars, the Group of Four, freaking out. Yes, it was good to see Charis and Siddermark settling some debts, militarily. Yes, it was damn good to see Merlin slaughter some bastard Army of God fanatics again. And, yes, like the ending of the last book, the ending of this book was pretty good, with Merlin appearing out of the blue before Earl Thirsk of Dohlar. Presumably in an attempt to save his life. And since this book began with where the previous book left off, it’s safe to assume the next one will too. (And the first chapter of this book was excellent!) But, dammit, do I have to wade through umpteen more battles I’ll never remember with newer weapons that barely progress technologically with lots of politics and religion and realistically nothing at all happening? Cause if I do, I’ll never read another fucking Weber novel again. I already hate his guts for doing all this shit to us. I already resent him for his obvious manipulations of his readers. Does he really have to string it out so damn long? And not only that, but when the war in Siddermark is finally over sometime in, oh, book 12 or so, will we FINALLY get to see Charis invade the Temple Lands and attack Zion and finally pay back the Group of Four like we all have been dying to see for the last eight books? When the hell is that going to happen? Or is Weber going to string that war out for five or eight books too? Cause if he does, I’ll be dead before this series is done and frankly, he’s no younger than me, so he might want to consider finishing the fucking series before he dies himself. Asshole. And what about getting humanity back to space? When the hell is that going to happen? In book 35? I mean, really? WTF? Weber started an excellent series and then got carried away and now he’s dug everyone a hole they’ll never get out of. What a cruel bastard. Honestly, if you read this book on its own merits, it’s a five star book. It’s really good. But you can’t do that. Because it’s part of the series and because it’s a big part of the war in Siddermark sub-series, which Weber has yet to come close to completing and I’m so damn pissed about that, I’m inclined to give the book one star. Because that’s what Weber deserves. So I’m compromising and giving it three undeserved stars. I guess if you’re reading the series and haven’t already given up, you’ll have to read this, so it’s recommended, but otherwise, give up now while you still can. Cause this series isn’t going to be over for the next 20 fucking years.

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A Review of At All Costs

Posted by Scott Holstad on October 13, 2015

At All Costs (Honor Harrington, #11)At All Costs by David Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another five star Honor Harrington book. It seems all I ever give those books are five stars. But I think they’re that good. This book has a 4.15 out of 5 rating on Goodreads, so a lot of people obviously like it, but most of the reviews I read were one and two star reviews simply bitching about it. And I don’t understand that. Why are they even reading this series if they don’t like the characters, the kingdoms and systems, the politics — which are essential to the plot — the battles, etc? I think these people giving these books one stars are idiots and need to be reading something else, something besides military sci fi, obviously.

I think this book is a turning point in the series, even though the series is drawing to a close. Honor gets pregnant and via tubing, gives birth to a baby boy. Everyone’s happy. However, maybe not everyone. See, the people on her planet of Grayson wouldn’t understand a single, unmarried woman giving birth to a bastard child, so someone must think about a solution. She, of course, has been seeing Earl White Haven, and by extension, his crippled wife, Emily, who also gets pregnant and gives birth to a baby girl. The grand solution? Honor marries them. Both of them. I know, it’s crazy and no one protests at all, but she does it and I guess it satisfies people. However, I would have liked it if Weber had written some people’s reactions into the book.

Meanwhile, the diplomatic documents going back and forth between Manticore and Haven have been sabotaged, so both make plans to restart the war, and many have misgivings about it. Honor is selected to lead Manticore’s fleet and they strike first and draw blood. However, Haven has developed a huge fleet and attacks a planet and does even more damage. Haven’s president wants to end the war and sends a peace proposal to Queen Elizabeth who grudgingly agrees to meet with her in a neutral location. However, three separate assassination attacks take place leading to some gruesome Manticorian deaths, all of which point to Haven, so Manticore gears up to restart the war once more. Haven knows they’re not responsible, but they also know Manticore assumes they are, so they plan to put together the biggest, strongest fleet ever assembled and attack Manticore’s home system and end the war with Manticore’s surrender. And so develops the biggest, baddest, coolest space battle you’ll ever read about. Hundreds of superdreadnaughts and thousands of LACs fly and die. Millions of people die. And who wins? Well, you have to read the book, of course! It’s a pretty awesome and big section of the book, though. Weber really knows how to write battle scenes. It’s his greatest strength.

From events that occur in this book, it looks like Manticore is about to gain a new enemy for future books. That’s pretty bad for a kingdom suddenly without much of a fleet, since their fleet has been shot to hell. But I’ll take that bridge when I come to it in the next book. I’m anxious to see Honor get back to Grayson to settle things with the opposition steadholders. Very anxious to see that. If you’re reading this series, this book is strongly recommended. If you’re not reading this series, don’t start with this book — you won’t know half of what’s going on. Awesome book.

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A Review of War of Honor

Posted by Scott Holstad on October 5, 2015

War of Honor (Honor Harrington, #10)War of Honor by David Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Even though this Honor Harrington book has a 4.09 rating on a 5.0 scale on Goodreads, it seemed that all I saw were one and two star reviews. People HATED this book! They thought there was too much politics and not enough action. Well, I completely disagree and I loved this book. Yes, there is a hell of a lot of politics, but it’s all completely critical to understanding the buildup to the beginning of the new war between Haven and Manticore. Without seeing the politics and the behind the scenes dialogues and scenarios, we’d have no idea why hostilities have resumed. It’s critical to the book and the series. I suppose Weber probably does go overboard on the amount of politics he shoves into this book. He has a tendency to do that in his books. But it’s still critical to the book. In fact, I wish we had seen more of Grayson’s politics in action, personally. That was probably pretty critical too, but Weber largely skipped over that.

In this book, the Opposition government, led by Baron High Ridge, has downsized Manticore’s navy by an extreme amount, because of sheer arrogance and stupidity. Meanwhile, in the four years of negotiations, during which time Haven has actually tried to get a peace plan in place and High Ridge won’t negotiate cause he’s a greedy bastard, Haven’s been rebuilding its navy. Big time. At the same time, the Andermani Empire is trying to take Manticore on to take over Silesia and Honor is named task force commander of a largely obsolete group of ships sent to Silesia to watch over the Andermanis. Fortunately, Grayson sends a group of its state of the art superdreadnaughts to support her, so that’s awesome. Communications between Haven and Manticore disintegrate over time, in part because Haven’s Secretary of State is modifying them to tick off the High Ridge government. So finally, Haven attacks Manticore’s many systems it had taken from Haven in the previous war, as well as Honor, and they have great success, accept for Honor, of course.

One thing in this book which is odd and which is a carry over from the previous book is a budding romance between Honor and Earl White Haven, who is married. It doesn’t seem realistic, like her relationship with her dead lover, Paul. It seems forced, strained, unbelievable, and the government’s opposition releases news that they are lovers, when at the time they are not, and it damages their reputations. Yet they yearn for each other. And White Haven’s crippled wife, whom he loves, meets Honor and loves her immediately and approves of their romance like any wife would — in a stupid, unrealistic sci fi novel written by an arrogant, dumbass man! This carries over to the following book too, which I’ve already started.

This isn’t the best Honor book I’ve read, but it’s quite complex and juggles many scenarios and issues simultaneously and does so rather well. Honor is still perfect, a bit too much, but one unique and cool thing about this book is Weber turns the tables on the systems. In this book, the Havenites are portrayed as the reasonable, peace loving, nice, realistic people while the Manticorian government is portrayed as arrogant, greedy, snide, deceitful liars, and much worse, so that you actually find yourself rooting for Haven for the first time ever. It’s brilliant! Good book. If you’re reading the series, strongly recommended.

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A Review of Like A Mighty Army

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 25, 2015

Like a Mighty ArmyLike 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.

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A Review of Ashes of Victory

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 22, 2015

Ashes of Victory (Honor Harrington, #9)Ashes of Victory by David Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ashes of Victory is an excellent follow up to Echoes of Honor. I loved it. So much happens in this book that your head just swims. There are some real shockers too. This book is probably a turning point in the series. At least that’s what I’m guessing.

So, Honor is back on Grayson from her stay on the Haven prison planet of Hades and she’s a massive hero there and on Manticore as well. Hell, all over the entire Alliance. Everyone’s spirits are lifted. And Haven recognizes they have a PR disaster on their hands after they had announced — and shown — her execution. Manticore’s Queen Elizabeth calls Honor to Manticore to meet with her and, since Honor’s title had shifted to her cousin since she had been assumed dead, to give her the title of Duchess and a new and huge estate. Additionally, the Navy asks her to teach tactics at the Academy and finally does the right thing by jumping her three slots from Commodore to full Admiral. She’s stunned and honored. She also has the nerve damage in her face repaired, her lost eye replaced, and her lost arm replaced by a prosthetic arm she clumsily has to learn to use from scratch. But she’s well on her way to being back to full health. Nimitz, too, has surgery and is physically repaired, although they’re still trying to figure out a way for him to regain his empath abilities. And Honor has a specialist teach the tree cats, and the humans, sign language so they can all talk, and boy do they talk.

Meanwhile, Haven’s Admiral McQueen remains on the offensive, if somewhat cautiously. However, Saint-Just decides to move on his perception of McQueen’s ambition and many Navy personnel wind up dead as a result. This, after Haven top man Pierre is assassinated. Saint-Just is the only Committee member left and takes over as dictator. At the same time, Manticore finally decides to go back on the offensive with its new and mighty secret weapons they’ve been developing for the past few years and their offensive is completely destructive. Haven has no chance. However, as I said, there are some shockers in the book and both systems experience massive system changes that will change everything in the military and political dynamics for both. It’s somewhat mind blowing and totally unexpected. The ending of the book, like virtually all Honor Harrington books, is tension filled, fast paced, and action packed. It’s very exciting to read and experience. Now I’m looking forward to the next book. Again. I seem to say that with every Honor book I review. From what I understand, however, things change in the series from battles and naval engagements to politics and I’m not entirely thrilled with that, but I’m still going to read. I’m really into the series. I think it’s quite good and I think the Honor character is a very good character. If reading the series in order like one must, this book is highly recommended.

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A Review of Echoes of Honor

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 18, 2015

Echoes of Honor (Honor Harrington, #8)Echoes of Honor by David Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought this eighth book in the Honor Harrington series was completely spectacular! I was beyond impressed.

The book started off right where the previous book left off — with Honor and her crew marooned on the Haven prison island of Hades, trying to figure out an exit strategy after they had escaped the SS star ship taking them there by blowing it up and taking two of its small ships to the surface. However, Haven is devious if nothing else and produces a doctored video shown around the universe of Honor being executed by hanging and Manticore and Grayson’s citizens are stunned and devastated. They both hold gigantic funerals in her honor. Then there’s the matter of her titles and inheritance. She left no heir, so her cousin is given the Manticorian title of earl, in her stead, while the leaders of Grayson try to figure out what to do with her Key and her steading. The good thing is her physician parents are there, working in the geneticist clinic she set up, and they are talked into giving birth to another child to become her heir and to inherit her steadholder title.

Meanwhile, Haven’s wildly successful Admiral Esther McQueen is pretty much sticking it to Manticore while simultaneously juggling her new role as an official member of The Committee of Public Safety. She plans a four pronged attack against Manticore and Haven’s navy carries it out, but Manticore has some new secret weapons at its disposal and at two of these worlds that are attacked, they are deployed with heavy Peep losses. That said, Haven’s attacks are successful and Manticore is shaken to the bone. All of a sudden, its people realize they’re on the defensive for the first time in the war and it’s extremely demoralizing.

So Honor and her small crew are on Hades, also known as Hell. They’ve been spying on a small group of troublemaking prisoners, with the goal of making contact to see if they could ally themselves with them to attack the Havenite SS guards on the headquarters island of Styx. They make contact and befriend these prisoners, some of whom have been on this prison world for as long as 70 years. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of prisoners there. Honor has weapons and body armor for hundreds of them and begins to train them for an assault on Styx. They just wait for the right time. It eventually comes along and they take off. One of their ships takes off for an outlying courier ship that could alert other Havenites to what they’re up to and it blasts it out of the sky. Honor’s ship blows up Styx’s defenses, hell, half the island, lands and disperses its troops, and they quickly take over the island. They hold court martials for the Peep guards who were barbarians and execute many of them. The big problem now is how to get a half million prisoners off the world and back to Manticore. Honor has plans, however. And I’ll be damned if she doesn’t succeed. How she does it, I’ll leave for you readers to find out, but the pages are tense and action packed, particularly the final 150 pages. When she finally arrives in Manticorian space in the last couple of pages, it’s simply amazing that she was able to pull this off and survive. It’s stunning. It’s her best feat yet. And it’s the best Honor book I’ve read to date. Indeed, I know the next one starts off immediately where this one leaves off and I’ve already picked it up and begun reading it and I’m not disappointed. It’s a really exciting book with a lot of suspense and a lot of action and if you’re reading the Honor Harrington series, it’s strongly recommended.

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A Review of Midst Toil and Tribulation

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 10, 2015

Midst Toil and TribulationMidst Toil and Tribulation by David Weber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, I’m seriously pissed at the author, David Weber. I feel like he screwed me and every other reader over in a big way. What an ass!

In the last book of this Safehold series, the Church of God Awakening had led a rebellion in neighboring Siddarmark, resulting in the deaths of millions and a brutal civil war. Armies all over the world were poised to invade that country and the Church’s own army was going to invade, complete with its Inquisitors, who would torture and kill any “heretics” they found. Siddarmark was in deep, deep trouble. However, the Charisian Empire was about to come to its aid. Its army of some 80,000 troops was preparing to go to Siddarmark with superior weapons to stabilize the country and defend it against the invading armies.

Okay, that was the end of the last book. This book, Midst Toil and Tribulation, finds armies all over the world invading Siddarmark with zillions of casualties and countless atrocities. My paperback copy of the book is over 800 pages long. At the beginning of the book, the Charisian general is preparing, again, to take his army to Siddarmark to save it. And while I’m reading this book, I keep waiting for it to happen. And waiting and waiting. Meanwhile, the Temple Loyalists have an army of over 55,000 men, the Desnarians have a large army, the Dohlarians have a huge army of probably 100,000 troops, the Harchong Empire will be sending an army with over a MILLION troops, and the Church’s own army has about 120,000 troops. Siddarmark has some tens of thousands of troops left. Charis sends 7,500 troops to defend part of the country. 7,500. And they send 13,000 more for another defense. That’s it. So, all of what’s left of loyal Siddarmark people and their government are waiting for the main Charisian army to come to their aid. Of course, 80,000 troops don’t seem like much against the odds they’re facing, but they do have superior weapons and artillery, so who knows? The last 150 pages are pretty action packed and were real page turners, but as I got to about 100 pages left, I suddenly knew. I KNEW! In this book, the Charisian army NEVER SHOWS THE FUCK UP!!! That’s ALL that’s supposed to happen from the last book, dammit! That’s all that’s supposed to happen through the whole of this book. And it never fucking happens. Dammit! Weber is such a fucking asshole! Excuse my language, but I am SO SICK of him writing 800 page books only to be left with cliff hangers leading readers to have to wait for sequels, in this case, TWO sequels. Damn him! Will the fucking army even appear in the next fucking book? WTF??? Why is he such an asshole? He’s just making shitloads of money hand over fist from his readers who resent him, but who are addicted to the story, like me. I’m so pissed.

This was actually a five star book. Excellent book. But since the entire premise of the book never even occurred, that dropped the rating to about a two in my eyes. So I’m lavishly giving it four stars. Grudgingly.

In this book, we see the young prince of Corisonde and his older sister struggle with their spiritual life and be given generous terms by Charis. We also see the betrothal of Iyrs, the sister, to Emperor Cayleb’s adopted son, Hektor. However, that story line, which is interesting, is dropped halfway through the book, which also ticked me off.

We also see continued advances in technology and weapons, particularly with the invention of the steam engine. This results in the invention of something along the lines of an ironclad ship, which is used by the Charisians to devastating effect against the Temple Loyalists and the Church’s army. There’s a lot of action in this book, but a lot of it is redundant and becomes boring. How often can you see invading armies line up in force against Siddarmarkian pikemen who get butchered before you want to move on? Merlin plays more of a role in this book than in the last one, which is good. He has uploaded the late Nahrmann into a computerized VR world to continue acting in his spymaster capacity. He also struggles with his role in killing people. Apparently, even PICAs have a conscience. He’s tired of the killing, even though he knows he has to. The ironclads go up a canal and destroy all 57 locks, making it impossible for the Church’s army to support its troops, so action is effectively ended for a year, until the following spring. Maybe by then, the damn Charisian army will have come to Siddarmark. I don’t know. I halfway doubt it.

Weber’s a great writer with great story telling capabilities, but he takes his damn time, with each book in the series representing one year. At this rate, I doubt I’ll have finished the series and find out what happens by the time I die, and that pisses me off too. And he has many faults, some of which I’ve pointed out in previous Safehold reviews. They still exist in this book and probably in all future books. But the story is awesome and addictive. If only he would pick up the pace. Damn, is that too much to ask of the man? Recommended, grudgingly, but only if you’ve read the series in order beginning with the first one.

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A Review of In Enemy Hands

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 8, 2015

In Enemy Hands (Honor Harrington, #7)In Enemy Hands by David Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this Honor Harrington book and judging by its 4.20 (out of 5) score on Goodreads, so did a lot of other people. This is the seventh book in the series and they probably need to be read in order to benefit the most from the books. This book is very different from other Honor H books. We see less Honor and more of her crew, secondary characters, for example. They play the main roles in this novel. We see Honor actually lose a battle for the first time and surrender to a Haven ship, be taken into captivity, tortured, and sentenced to die. This is all new stuff and somewhat unexpected. We also meet Honor’s physician mother who comes to Grayson to start a geneticist clinic and who is on the cutting edge of fashion and sexuality in good old fashioned Grayson. It’s pretty funny. We also meet a bunch of new tree cats and see Nimitz and Samantha’s kittens. Unfortunately, we also get to experience the pain Nimitz feels when he is beaten while aboard the Havenite ship. Additionally, the author chose to inject the possibility of a romance between Honor and an older superior officer who is married, which I suspect will be seen in future books in the series. I wasn’t too fond of this and found it distracting. I also found it somewhat unbelievable. Finally, we get a look at the leaders of Haven, especially the evil Cordelia Ransom, who delights in torturing and killing people with her State Security thugs. She sends Honor and her remaining officers to a prison planet called Hell to die.

Okay. The book started off fairly slowly. I know Weber likes to build up to action in his books, but this was a long buildup. Once the action commenced, however, it was pretty good. It was interesting to find “good” and “honorable” Haven naval personnel who wanted Honor and her crew treated properly as prisoners of war, as opposed to Ransom, who just wanted to torture and kill them. The torture scenes were fairly minimal, but were painful to endure. Just hard to read. The final 100 pages or so, I couldn’t put down. It was exciting, nonstop action with an awesome plot twist. The only real odd thing about it is, we don’t see Cordelia Ransom at the most critical juncture of the book, which doesn’t make sense, and which left me with a bad taste in my mouth, as I wanted revenge. The book ends without a clear resolution, clearly leading to a sequel, which I have and am about to start reading, but I still hate it when authors resort to that strategy. I thought about giving this book four stars because it did have some weaknesses, but it was pretty original and it did hold my attention and it was a pretty dynamic ending, so five stars it is. Recommended.

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A Review of Heirs of Empire

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 3, 2015

Heirs of Empire (Dahak, #3)Heirs of Empire by David Weber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was great until the end, when it left its main story to go to another side story and never got back to the main story, just at a critical time. I was frankly astonished the author would do this. What an ass!

When I bought this book, I had read many David Weber books so I knew what to expect. What I didn’t know was this is the third book in a trilogy and I hadn’t read the first two. However, this book could be viewed as a stand alone book and I felt pretty comfortable with the characters and scenarios shortly after getting into the book.

In this book, Emperor Colin and his wife rule over a massive empire of hundreds of worlds, which they’ve put together some 45,000 years after the collapse of the last empire. And their two grown children, who’ve just graduated from the military academy, are with some friends on the biggest, newest battleship flying to another destination when disaster strikes. Someone truly evil who is after the empire blows the battleship up, but first, the five young people get away on a small ship. However, they discover they’re in the middle of nowhere and it takes them 21 months to get to the nearest planet, which strikes me as pretty stupid of Weber. Meanwhile, Colin and his wife and friends have mourned the kids’ loss and have gotten pregnant again, so there will be an heir.

Their son, Sean, his sister, Harry, and their three friends approach this planet which they discover has a medieval quality to it and no technology, except for one giant tech source. They need assistance with their space craft and think they can get it there. Except for when they approach too quickly, they are fired upon and their craft is damaged. They retreat and go to another location, where they stay and send out drones so they can see what it’s like there and what the language is like so they can learn it.

When they finally go down to the planet, they go to the Valley of the Damned, where they are fired on and they fire back, destroying the automated systems firing on them. They find an ancient computer from 16,000 years ago and discover a journal that tells the history of the planet, how technology was banned, how the Church was created and dominated the entire world, etc. Sounds like a precursor to Safehold, doesn’t it? Well, that’s cause it basically is. It’s Safehold in practice.

They go to the local village, where Harry had been fired upon and injured and they rescue her, blowing up half the village but killing no one. The people think the two women are angels because they speak in the language of angels and wear the attire of angels and only women are angels. They were worried these people would be demons. The local priest approaches them and they talk to him. He feels very honored and believes the two men are the angels’ “champions” and preaches the gospel of the angels around the countryside. Word gets back to the Temple and they send a small army out to destroy the heretics. The four young people help the villagers defeat the army, partly through the use of minorly advanced technology, such as rifled muskets that you can put bayonets on and still shoot with. The Temple sends a bigger army. In the meantime, the Malagorans (the country the village is in) have gathered the weapons left by the defeated army and recruited more men, spending a little time training them. They then march toward the Temple. They meet a large army at a small pass where its defenses look impregnable, but Sean takes a large group of soldiers through a swamp around their back and hits them from behind, completely surprising them while the main Malagoran army attacks from the front. The Temple army, after suffering some bad losses, surrenders. The Bishops are stunned. Isn’t God on their side? They recruit armies from the surrounding countries to go fight against Sean and his army and they are all defeated. Soon Sean and the Malagorans are at the walls of the Temple. The Council agrees to a parlay, agreeing to send out hostages if Sean and Tamm go inside to meet them with some of their troops. However, it’s a trap. Sean realizes this at just the right time and gets his men lined up in a triangle while Temple pikemen rush them, but they’re obliterated by the Malagoran’s rifle fire. However, they can’t stay there forever, because they’ll be bringing up artillery to shell them and then it’ll be a bloody disaster. Meanwhile, the rest of the army storms the gates and it’s bloody as hell. It’s a real battle and it’s fought to a standstill. Sean and his men escape to a walled in area with ammunition and they fight off attackers, but they take bad losses. Sean thinks if only he could get to the Temple computer, he could program it to turn off its defenses and the fifth member of their crew could fly in with fighters and annihilate the Temple troops. So, he takes a few hundred men and heads for the temple. Once there, he heads for the computer. They find it and it’s ID protected. And they’re under enormous attack. And that’s where Weber leaves us.

Weber takes us back to Colin, his wife, and his friends. They discover a bomb big enough to destroy the planet is buried beneath the palace. They start evacuating the planet, but find out the bomb is armed and don’t know when it’ll go off. Meanwhile, Colin’s pregnant wife has escaped to earth to stay with her father, the governor. They’re attacked by 100 men. Will she die? Will Colin die? Will the kids die? Well, we find out about Colin and his wife, but we actually don’t get a good resolution to Sean and the others because we’re never taken back to the Temple and the battle. Weber never mentions it again. We don’t know how it shakes out. All we know is, at the very end of the book, Colin receives a transmission from them and that’s it. So apparently everyone survived. Yay, I guess? Shit, I wanted to see how the damn battle ended!!! Why did I wade through hundreds of bloody pages only to be left sitting there without ever knowing what happened to Sean, his crew, the Bishops, the Temple troops, and the Malagorans and their priest? I mean, what kind of asshole author leaves you hanging like that? That’s why this five star book is only getting three stars. It deserves better, but then so did I — a better ending. He cheated his audience out of a satisfying ending and I resent it. If you like the Safehold series, there’s probably no reason to read this. If you like this sort of book, it’s cautiously recommended, but only if you don’t mind being left hanging with an unsatisfying ending.

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A Review of How Firm a Foundation

Posted by Scott Holstad on August 28, 2015

How Firm a FoundationHow Firm a Foundation by David Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Thank God. How Firm a Foundation is so much better than its predecessor, A Mighty Fortress. A huge improvement. This was a great book to read. It’s the fifth book in the Safehold series and Chiris is still fighting for its life against the evil Church of God Awakening. After the Church’s complete naval battle destruction at the hands of the Charisian Navy, the Group of Four realize they have to resort to other methods. Or at least Grand Inquisitor Clyntahn does. He’s an evil bastard, that one. He starts sending suicide bombers into Charis with horrible consequences. Thousands of people die. Merlin catches one before he can detonate, however, and they interrogate him and find out the Church’s strategy. Meanwhile, Clyntahn decides to assassinate Prince Daivyn, the child prince of Corisande, Charis’s defeated enemy that is now part of the Charisian Empire. Earl Coris, his protector, and his sister are in grave danger. They apply for asylum in Charis, are granted it, and Merlin is sent to get them out of their trap and bring them 180 miles to the river where members of the Charisian Navy and Marines will be waiting to get them out.

One of the really nasty things in the book is the torture and murders of the Charisian seamen captured in the naval battle in the last book by Earl Thirsk. He’s instructed to give them up to the Inquisition, which he’s appalled at as he knows what will happen to them, but he has no choice. What happens is gruesome. As a result, Charis announces that anyone found representing or fighting for the Inquisition will be executed on the spot. Personally, I thought they should have executed some of the 60,000 Church prisoners they had in retaliation, but Cayleb said he wasn’t interested in vengeance.

More cool weapons are introduced in the book, leading to a great naval battle (all of Weber’s naval battles are great), where Charis demolishes its opposition entirely. It’s pretty sweet to see. Also, more people, including Charis’s Inquisitor, are let in on the truth of Safehold and Merlin.

Empress Sharleyan survives an assassination attempt in Corisande, thanks to Merlin. It’s truly frightening, especially as she’s now a mother to the heir of the throne.

Clyntahn also finally goes after Siddarmark, getting his Inquisitor priests to lead massive uprisings against Charisian expatriates and the government, leading to tens of thousands of deaths and mass destabilization throughout the country. Just what Clyntahn has wanted for so long. He’s so evil. I hope that Siddarmark will join Charis in the next book as a mainland empire to go after the Temple Lands and attack the Church on their home territory. I think they will.

The positives of this book are that it reads a whole lot faster than the previous book, even the previous two books. The previous book was SO plodding, it just got boring at times. The only boring part of this book is the beginning, when you start with 40 pages of a storm at sea with a ship trying to survive it. It does nothing to advance the plot and I’m willing to bet all of the nautical terms are lost on most of the readers, including me. It’s frankly stupid. Additionally, it seems like there are fewer characters to keep track of and that’s refreshing. The last book had nearly 500 characters and that’s about 250 too many. The name spellings are still ridiculous and stupid, but I’m used to them by now, I guess, so I’m going with it. There’s a ton more action in this book than in the previous couple of books, especially the last one. That’s refreshing. The land rescue at the end of the book is especially a nice touch. Of course, this isn’t a stand alone book. You have to begin with the first one and read the series in order to know what’s happening. But it’s worth it. This series is so addictive, even with the many problems one encounters in it. My main problem is it moves at such a slow pace, overall, that I worry if it’ll ever finish before either I die or Weber dies, in which case I’ll never find out what the hell happens! Still, strongly recommended as part of the Safehold series.

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