[By Nic Lindh on Thursday, 08 January 2004]
During my extended bout with the flu, I’ve been using my trusty Palm and the Baen Free Library to help take the edge off the virus invasion.
Most of Baen’s catalog consists of competent military SF with some fantasy thrown in for good measure. While most of the books were highly enjoyable, and I did intend to post reviews of them, the virus host threw that idea into coulda shoulda land. So now that I’m feeling better, it’s time to make up for it; the following is a series of mini reviews.
On Basilisk Station by David Weber: The first installment in the Honor Harrington series. Likable protagonist, well put-together universe, but suffers a bit from the über-greatness of Honor Harrington. Her only flaw is that she sometimes doubts herself (and apparently she had some problems with math at the Academy)–but apart from that, Honor is godlike, which gets a bit stale.
The Honor of the Queen by David Weber: The second installment in the Honor Harrington series. Better than On Basilisk Station–the universe feels a bit more “lived-in,” and the interactions between Honor and the sexist pigs of Grayson yields some fun moments. Bonus points for letting her sense of duty seem a bit creepily compulsive at times.
The Apocalypse Troll by David Weber: Didn’t make it through this one. Something about time travel completely turns me off, and when the characters start talking quantum mumble mumble to make it seem “scientific,” well, bah. Apart from that, the characters are a bit shop worn, and while the Trolls are a pretty cool idea, it just seems that the human protagonists understand their twisted mentality too well.
Mutineer’s Moon by David Weber: Really digging the concept in this one. I’m not going to spoil it, but it’s a nifty idea. And there are lots of cyberpunk-y body enhancements going on. You can never go wrong with body enhancements. First in a series, so it ends mid-action. You can tell this is an earlier work, since while the battle sequences work well, the characterizations are flimsy and the embedded love story is absolutely cringe-worthy.
Oath of Swords by David Weber: Weber detours into fantasy and does a credible job of it. Not great but solid. It’s always good to see an author do something interesting with the trolls, dwarves, and elves concept.
The War God’s Own by David Weber: The follow-up to Oath of Swords follows the same characters as they delve deeper into the history of their world. Weber feels a bit more comfortable in the universe he’s created in this one, but of course, it won’t make any sense unless you’ve read the first installment.
Mother of Demons by Eric Flint: Good concept where a human colony ship is shipwrecked on a planet inhabited by interesting and–well, alien–aliens. Features a good, tight plot, fast-paced writing and interesting ideas.
A Hymn Before Battle by John Ringo: Hard military SF in the grand old tradition, with lots of heavy weaponry and pretty well drawn characters.