The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 7

Published Post author

The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 7 Book Cover The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 7
The Rising of the Shield Hero
Aneko Yusagi
Light Novel
One Peace Books
April 18, 2017 (English) | September 25, 2014 (Japanese)
Paperback
400

Naofumi and his friends defeat the Spirit Tortoise after it rampages across the country. They leave in search of the other missing heroes and meet Ost along the way, who says she is one of the Spirit Tortoise s servants. She tells Naofumi that the Spirit Tortoise is still alive and that someone is pulling the strings to use the tortoise to destroy the world! Can Naofumi protect those he loves from this new danger?

 

The Rising of the Shield Hero, Volume 7 continues the new story arc that began in Volume 6. The end of the last book made it pretty clear that things were far from over with this latest threat. And that’s 100% what Volume 7 is about: dealing with the latest threat. I hope you enjoyed the world-building in the last book because there’s very little room for more of that here. This entire book is just one massive fight scene. It was almost like an overly long shonen story arc.

Now, the issue is basically what the series is now compared to what it was. The big draw for me initially was how Naofumi was the underdog. The world sucker-punched him in the gut, and he resolved to get through it through his own grit. And then, he did that. We’re past it now. He still has his allies but is now bolstered by national support since the other heroes have fouled things up so badly by this point. He’s not the underdog anymore. Which, I mean, I’m not saying he should have wallowed in misery forever, but things turned around pretty completely for him fast. Even if the whole experience did leave him pretty jaded.

Maybe it’s more the translation than anything else, but the writing in this series has always just been ok. I don’t want to call it bad but it’s very…direct. The ideas are there but they’re not being handed to the reader so much as thrown at them. Since this volume is just a fight and not many new ideas are introduced, it struggles to hold up to the previous volumes. Yeah, we get to meet the new bad guy but he’s so generic. Basically, just your standard cocky villain. And Rishia gets a big character development moment at the end but that’s kind of it. Everyone else is just doing their usual thing here.

This is very much a transition point in the current story arc. It’s not the most exciting part of the story but it does need to happen to bridge the more interesting bits together. The epilogue was extra neat too and shows that things are going to pick back up in Volume 8. I’m just hoping at this point that Shield Hero doesn’t jump the shark the way a lot of other long-running series do eventually. Here’s to hoping.

January 17, 2021

Streams of Silver (Icewind Dale Trilogy #2/The Legend of Drizzt #5)

Published Post author

Streams of Silver Book Cover Streams of Silver
The Legend of Drizzt
R.A. Salvatore
Fantasy
TSR Inc.
January 1, 1989
Paperback
349

"Yer eyes'll shine when ye see the rivers runnin' silver in Mithril Hall!"

Bruenor the dwarf, Wulfgar the barbarian, Regis the halfling, and Drizzt the dark elf fight monsters and magic on their way to Mithril Hall, centuries-old birthplace of Bruenor and his dwarven ancestors.

Faced with racism, Drizzt contemplates returning to the lightless underworld city and murderous lifestyle he abandoned. Wulfgar begins to overcome his tribes's aversion for magic. And Regis runs from a deadly assassin, who, allied with evil wizards, is bent on the companions' destruction. all fo Bruenor's dreams, and the survival of his party, hinge upon the actions of one brave young woman.

Streams of Silver is R.A. Salvatore's second book in the Icewind Dale Trilogy, based on the FORGOTTEN REALMS fantasy setting.

 

Streams of Silver was originally written as part 2 of a trilogy, but its predecessor really felt like a standalone book. We’ve got a lot of the same characters from book 1 but most of the plot is all new. With the whole Crystal Tower thing resolved, Bruenor can now focus on reclaiming his ancestral home. Now, I know what you’re thinking. A dwarf and his small band of friends seeking to reclaim a lost underground homeland. You might be tempted to think it feels like a Tolkien ripoff. And you’d be right.

The Tolkien homage notwithstanding, a lot of other stuff does happen in Streams of Silver before the party makes it to the mine. It’s not like Bruenor’s ancestral homeland is right next door. They have to make it through dangerous lands filled with monsters first. Along the way, they’ll make new friends & new enemies and have a chance to grow.

Since this is a sequel, our protagonists are not new characters. With the tedious character introductions out of the way, there’s more time to focus on character development. Which is a godsend considering how everyone was a generic fantasy stereotype in book 1. The new characters all get treated well though.

Now, one thing that bothered me in the last book was how inconsistent the monsters are in terms of strength. There’s a lot of Conservation of Ninjutsu here but after seeing it in the first book, I’m more willing to just roll with it this time. Not to mention the characters get some crazy-powerful magic items, on top of the ones they already had from the last book. Since this is a novel, not a game, those choices make sense. Games have to maintain a sense of balance while other stories can let the heroes hack through armies of mooks to reach the Big Bad.

The other big difference is how Streams of Silver ends. There were still a few loose threads at the end of The Crystal Shard, but the story was more or less over. This time around, the story is left very much incomplete by the end. There’s a lot of stuff that’s still unresolved and the protagonists are a little worse for wear by the end. It’s far from the “the day is saved” ending that The Crystal Shard gave us. Which shows a great deal more comprehensive planning on the author’s part. Or it could just mean Salvatore got renewed for 2 books at once, I don’t know.

Either way, this book was fun and it seems like the next one will be the same way. Especially if you’re a D&D fan. Considering people are still playing D&D today (including me), it’s hard to remember this book is older than I am. Just another 30 or so years of lore to catch up on now, whew.

January 10, 2021

The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s

Published Post author

The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s Book Cover The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s
Andy Greene
Non-Fiction
Dutton Books
March 24, 2020
Hardcover
464

The untold stories behind The Office, one of the most iconic television shows of the twenty-first century, told by its creators, writers, and actors

When did you last hang out with Jim, Pam, Dwight, Michael, and the rest of Dunder Mifflin? It might have been back in 2013, when the series finale aired . . . or it might have been last night, when you watched three episodes in a row. But either way, fifteen years after the show first aired, it's more popular than ever, and fans have only one problem--what to watch, or read, next.

Fortunately, Rolling Stone writer Andy Greene has that answer. In his brand-new oral history, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, Greene will take readers behind the scenes of their favorite moments and characters. Greene gives us the true inside story behind the entire show, from its origins on the BBC through its impressive nine-season run in America, with in-depth research and exclusive interviews. Fans will get the inside scoop on key episodes from "The Dundies" to "Threat Level Midnight" and "Goodbye, Michael," including behind-the-scenes details like the battle to keep it on the air when NBC wanted to pull the plug after just six episodes and the failed attempt to bring in James Gandolfini as the new boss after Steve Carell left, spotlighting the incredible, genre-redefining show created by the family-like team, who together took a quirky British import with dicey prospects and turned it into a primetime giant with true historical and cultural significance.

Hilarious, heartwarming, and revelatory, The Office gives fans and pop culture buffs a front-row seat to the phenomenal sequence of events that launched The Office into wild popularity, changing the face of television and how we all see our office lives for decades to come.

 

Normally, I don’t pay much attention to behind-the-scenes stuff. I go through enough books, shows, movies, etc. that just learning all the in-universe stuff is already a lot. But it is always interesting to learn what real-world events influence how a show turns out. Was there a point where an actor was unavailable, and their character had to disappear for an episode? Was a certain iconic scene improvised on the spot? To what degree did Executive Meddling result in some horrible decision-making? The Office (the book) touches on all that and more but does it pretty uniquely by just quoting the cast, crew, and others involved with the show’s production.

The book is laid out chronologically, beginning with how The Office got greenlit. And it’s kind of hard to do a traditional review of this book because of the formatting, so here’s just a little preview of some of the things I learned here:

  • Steve Carell starring in The 40-Year-Old Virgin played a big role in boosting The Office’s initial ratings.
  • Carell really kept his colleagues fired up and set the tone on the set. He was always very supportive and a hard worker who helped everyone else out however he could.
  • Carell left the show because NBC just…didn’t renew his contract. He waited for the call, it never came, and he had other job offers so he let himself leave.
  • The set was more or less a real, functioning office space after season 1. They had working plumbing, computers connected to the Internet, and more instead of just a set. The computers were a big thing because some of the cast would spend days at a time sitting in the background while filming focused on other characters.
  • Jim and Pam’s wedding originally had Roy showing up on a white horse to try and stop it. He would fall into the river, then during the wedding vows you could see the horse go over Niagara Falls in the background. This scene was ultimately deemed hilarious but too far removed from reality for The Office, so they cut it.
  • Andy was made manager in Season 8 because Ed Helms was in The Hangover (there’s that Executive Meddling).
  • There was almost a spinoff show about Dwight’s farm after The Office ended.

Now, like a lot of shows, it did take The Office a while to Grow the Beard. Thankfully not as much as some other shows (coughParksAndReccough). This book basically gives a play-by-play of how The Office did that and how everything had to be planned each season. It was never really a cohesive thing for the creators since going into each season they never knew if it would be their last one.

The Office had its’ ups and downs, something the cast and crew were well aware of, but is still a great show. And this book tells you how it all happened. If you liked the show, this book will give you another perspective that can make you love it just a little bit more.

January 3, 2021

Freaky

Published Post author

Poster for the movie "Freaky"

Freaky

20201 h 42 min
Overview

A mystical, ancient dagger causes a notorious serial killer to magically switch bodies with a 17-year-old girl.

Metadata
Runtime 1 h 42 min
Release Date 12 November 2020
Details
Movie Media VoD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

So, the premise of Freaky is pretty simple. It’s Freaky Friday but instead of a teenage girl swapping bodies with her mom, it’s a teenage girl swapping bodies with a deranged serial killer. Why this wasn’t released in October, we’ll never know, but it was still a fun film. Would I call it horror-comedy gold? No, it’s a far cry from Tucker and Dale or What We Do in the Shadows. But seeing Vince Vaughn play a teenage girl is one of the best things I’ve seen since seeing Jack Black play a teenage girl.

Now the main issue this movie had was the pacing. It starts off fairly slow and not that different from any other 2nd-rate slasher flick. Despite the main premise of the movie being the bodyswap, it takes a while for it to actually happen. Once we get to that point the movie finally gets going. But it’s more the actors than anything else that carry this film. The writing is just ok and there aren’t really any surprises here, you’ll see what’s coming. But the delivery is on point from pretty much every member of the cast, particularly the leads.

Vince Vaughn has a pretty good range, but I’ve always liked him best in Dodgeball. Comedy is just where he shines for me and that carries over into Freaky. Plus, the fact that he plays two extremely different characters, one comedic and one serious, but nails both roles really sticks out here. Likewise, Kathryn Newton does the same thing and nails it even better. She flips between a stereotypical teenage girl and a sadistic monster pretty seamlessly, much to the horror of her victims. And I’m sure there’s something to be said here about how we as a society make assumptions towards other people based on their appearances, but that’s a bit more meta than I want to get here.

Anyway, is this film a cinematic masterpiece? No. Is it a fun, goofy horror-comedy? You bet it is. So long as you’re not taking it seriously, Freaky is a fantastic film. They knew what they were aiming for when they made this movie and they hit the mark. This obviously isn’t for everyone, but if you like these kinds of movies the way I do it’ll scratch that itch.

December 27, 2020

The Burning White (Lightbringer #5)

Published Post author

The Burning White Book Cover The Burning White
Lightbringer
Brent Weeks
Fantasy
Orbit
October 22, 2019
Hardcover
992

In this stunning conclusion to the epic New York Times bestselling Lightbringer series, kingdoms clash as Kip struggles to escape his family's shadow in order to protect the land and people he loves.

Gavin Guile, once the most powerful man the world had ever seen, has been laid low. He's lost his magic, and now he is on a suicide mission. Failure will condemn the woman he loves. Success will condemn his entire empire.
As the White King springs his great traps and the Chromeria itself is threatened by treason and siege, Kip Guile must gather his forces, rally his allies, and scramble to return for one impossible final stand.

The long-awaited epic conclusion of Brent Weeks's New York Times bestselling Lightbringer series.

 

Like the rest of the Lightbringer series, opinions seem pretty mixed on The Burning White. I, for one, liked it but did not find it perfect. On the positive side, this book was just a strong ending to the series. Strong enough to be satisfying. Endings are often the hardest part of any book/series (coughStephen Kingcough). And while I wouldn’t say The Burning White has a perfect ending, it is satisfactory. Now the flipside of that (and the reason most people seem to have a beef with this book) is a deus ex machina. More on that later.

So, let’s start with the good. And I can’t possibly do the whole book justice in my little review here because of how long it is, but here goes. There are a ton of storylines continuing here from The Blood Mirror. Kip and his crew, Gavin, Karris, Andross, Teia, and more all have things going on. And by the end, the way it all resolves feels good! No one is quite done with their character development when The Burning White starts and they’re all different people by the end of it. This war is a horrible thing, and everyone is forced to make choices affecting their lives and the lives of countless others because of it. Even Andross, magnificent bastard that he is, isn’t the same by the end. Everyone puts their blood, sweat, and tears into ending the war and their world is forever changed once the dust settles.

And then, there’s the elephant in the room: the deus ex machina. I am not using that term in any way figuratively; the story very suddenly goes full theology. Which, conceptually, there isn’t really anything wrong with. But it kind of comes out of left field. It’s one thing to expect a character to get help from God. Something like finding a magic object left lying around or talking to god and getting information are good tools to use here. It’s another thing when God shows up, in person, and starts fixing problems for the characters. And I think a big part of the issue here for many readers is that God, being God, can just kind of do whatever regardless of how the magic system works. Fantasy fans love a well-made magic system, which the Lightbringer series has, and hate seeing that stuff broken.

Now, while the deus ex machina seemed like a bit of a cop-out, it wasn’t a dealbreaker for me. I’m willing to let it slide for the same reasons I’m willing to let the issues I had with the first book slide; the rest of this series is really good. I have yet to find a single book, let alone a whole series, that I would truly call perfect. But the Lightbringer series comes closer than most. Just remember that this is fiction and that it is written by an infallible human being just like every other book out there. Reading is fun, but you have to keep these things in mind and take them with a grain of salt. And if this isn’t for you, well…not every book is for everybody. I, for one, felt the good outweighed the bad by a wide margin.

December 20, 2020

The Crystal Shard (Icewind Dale Trilogy #1/The Legend of Drizzt #4)

Published Post author

The Crystal Shard Book Cover The Crystal Shard
The Legend of Drizzt
R.A. Salvatore
Fantasy
Wizards of the Coast
January 1, 1988
Paperback
344

Akar Kessel, weak-willed apprentice mage, starts events that find a magical device, the crystal shard. Dwarf Bruenor rescues barbarian Wulfgar from the ruins of Ten-Towns, for 5 years of service - and friendship. With help from renegade dark elf Drizzt, Wulfgar becomes a warrior with brawn and brains. Can the trio stave off the crystal shard forces?

 

So, for the uninitiated, The Crystal Shard is the 1st published book in the Legend of Drizzt series but the 4th chronologically. One of the key characters in this book, Wulfgar, was originally intended to be the main character of this trilogy. But Drizzt being skilled, dark, and mysterious made him the more popular character, so the series focused on him later. I can’t help but think grimdark stories becoming more popular in the late 80s/early 90s played a role there. Not that Drizzt himself is really grimdark, but the drow being…well, drow, make his stories swing more that way.

Anyway, I read The Crystal Shard chronologically, after already picking up Drizzt’s prequel trilogy. So, the whole “dark, mysterious elf” thing was a bit lost on me since I knew his backstory already. That being said, I think it actually helped to read the books that way because Drizzt doesn’t get much characterization. But then, he has about the same amount of character development as the rest of the cast. If you’ve ever played D&D or just like fantasy, picture a stereotypical barbarian, dwarf, etc. and you have the characters.

Now, as far as plot goes The Crystal Shard isn’t bad. It isn’t great either, but it’s a fairly standard fantasy adventure for its era. Think about 80s fantasy stories like Beastmaster or He-Man and you’ll have a general picture here. An aspiring evil overlord comes conquering and a group of unexpected heroes must band together to stop him. And while the party does finish the quest, enough plot threads are left loose to keep things open for the next book.

The only thing that bugged me about The Crystal Shard, as someone who runs D&D games, is how randomly the monsters were used. Granted, this story was written way back in the day when the rules of D&D were very different from the version of the game I learned to play just a few years back. But monsters seem to be as weak or strong as the plot requires at any given time. Characters might struggle against weaker monsters in one scene, then solo something that should require the whole group to take down in the next. Also granted, it’s not like characters in a novel have levels because this isn’t a game setting. And some of their magic items are pretty kickass anyway, so that helps justify it.

Anyway, it would be a stretch to call this great literature. If anything, it is very much a product of its time. But if you like fantasy, and especially if you like D&D, you could do a lot worse. And if the quality of Drizzt’s backstory is any indication (since that trilogy was written later), Salvatore’s books do get better as time goes on.

December 13, 2020

Distant Thunders (Destroyermen #4)

Published Post author

Distant Thunders Book Cover Distant Thunders
Destroyermen
Taylor Anderson
Sci-fi
Roc
June 1, 2010
Paperback
432

After the battle in which the men of the destroyer Walker and their Lemurian allies repelled the savage Grik, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Reddy is shocked by the arrival of a strange ship captained by one Commodore Jenks of the New Britain Imperial Navy-an island-nation populated by the descendants of British East Indiamen swept through the rift centuries before.

With the Walker undergoing repairs, Reddy already has a great deal on his hands. For the Grik will return, and Reddy will need all hands on deck to fight them off when they next attack. But Jenks' uncertain loyalties make Reddy question whether he can trust the man.

As tension between the Allies and the Imperials mount, Reddy will come to realize that his suspicions are not misplaced-and that a greater danger than the Grik is closer than he ever suspected...

 

It’s a pretty big staple in any war series that more factions get involved as the conflict goes on. Up to this point, the Destroyermen series was in a weird place because there were no other factions. It’s not that they were there but neutral, they just did not exist. For the first few books, it seemed like the Lemurians and Grik were the only ‘people’ in this world. But that was pretty blatantly proven wrong at the end of Maelstrom. Now we know that not all of the humans who came before were slaughtered by the Grik and some of their descendants have their own New Britain. And this lets us get away from the simple ‘Lemurians good, Grik bad’ black-and-white morality since it’s no secret that human morality is all over the place.

So, there is less action in Distant Thunders. Given the massive battle at the end of the last book, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the protagonists need some time to recover. But while that battle was won, the war is far from over. In the meantime, we’re going to get to know the new characters from the Empire of New Britain Isles. Largely making Distant Thunders less about action and more about worldbuilding.

There is a lot that can be said about the introduction of new human characters, particularly human antagonists. First off, it removes the simple ‘kill them before they kill us’ type of conflict. Here we have antagonists that can be spoken to and (potentially) reasoned with. It opens up so many more narrative options to have villains who aren’t largely hordes of mindless, rampaging monsters. But the villains being human does not necessarily make them less wicked. Easier to understand or even relate to, perhaps, but certainly not in the right.

All this also gives us the first hint that there is more to this world than the Lemurians and Grik. Captain Reddy and his crew are clearly not the first “otherworlders” to have a profound influence on this new world. Plus, it’s interesting to see how a society like the Empire has evolved and progressed when on their own. They have been in this world for many, many years but are basically still just Great Britain. Their technology has lagged behind a bit since, again, they were on their own, but wow are they British. “Spot of tea” and all that.

Anyway, this next little story arc is still very much ongoing by the end of Distant Thunders. Pretty obvious where it is headed next but the journey there could still unfold in many different ways.

December 6, 2020

Solomon Kane

Published Post author

Poster for the movie ""

Solomon Kane

Fight evil... With evil.

20091 h 44 min
Overview

A nomadic 16th century warrior, condemned to hell for his brutal past, seeks redemption by renouncing violence, but finds some things are worth burning for as he fights to free a young Puritan woman from the grip of evil.

Metadata
Director M.J. Bassett
Runtime 1 h 44 min
Release Date 16 September 2009
Details
Movie Media VoD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

 

I consider myself a fan of pulp magazine pre-superhero superhero characters. Older characters like Zorro, John Carter, and Conan who were all basically superheroes before superheroes were a thing. Heck, a lot of early superheroes were based on the earlier pulp magazine heroes. But while a lot of these old characters have gotten movies, not many of them have gotten good movies. Even the ones that are good are niche enough to be cult classics rather than cinematic masterpieces. That being said, Solomon Kane, a character I had never heard of before randomly stumbling across this film, was just as solid as any other good pulp magazine movie.

So, an objectively good movie in this sub-genre is going to be something like the 80s Conan the Barbarian or The Mask of Zorro. This is the bar we’re comparing Solomon Kane to here. And it met that bar in general quality while still being its own thing. Now one thing to keep in mind is that this was supposed to be the first entry in a trilogy. Unfortunately, it made less than $20 million on a $40 million budget so that didn’t happen. Given the intentions, it should come as no surprise that Solomon Kane the movie is Solomon Kane the character’s origin story.

Let’s compare Kane here to other pulp magazine characters. For starters, this is a much darker story. It is full of witchcraft and black magic representing the forces of evil Kane is fighting. But despite that, Kane’s status as a hero is not cut and dry. By the start of the movie, Kane’s already a badass; he knows how to fight. But he has committed acts of evil himself and his past haunts him. He comes to terms with the fact that evil can be used to fight evil but struggles as he questions the weight that such actions will place on his soul.

All these struggles make the film slow and it is great. The characters have time to breathe and do character development instead of jumping from one action sequence to another non-stop. Kane spends most of the movie fighting his inner demons as much as the external ones. By the end, Kane has become the man the world needs him to be and the man he needs himself to be. The day gets saved and the battle is won, but the war is far from over as Kane’s journey begins. Damn shame we’ll never get that sequel.

November 29, 2020

The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer #4)

Published Post author

The Blood Mirror Book Cover The Blood Mirror
Lightbringer
Brent Weeks
Fantasy
Orbit
October 25, 2016
Paperback
704

Stripped of both magical and political power, the people he once ruled told he's dead, and now imprisoned in his own magical dungeon, former Emperor Gavin Guile has no prospect of escape. But the world faces a calamity greater than the Seven Satrapies has ever seen... and only he can save it.

As the armies of the White King defeat the Chromeria and old gods are born anew, the fate of worlds will come down to one question: Who is the Lightbringer?

 

In a lot of fantasy series, the 2nd-to-last book is usually the weakest one. Most of the time, it’s more of a preamble for the final book than its own thing. That was not 100% the case with The Blood Mirror. While it does heavily focus on setting up the 5th and final book, it’s not boring. There’s not as much pause in the drama and action as expected. Yes, (some) characters focus mainly on making plans and putting them in motion but there’s a war on; everything can’t just go on pause. And with the characters as scattered as they are at this point, who’s where and doing what is a major element in The Blood Mirror.

So, we’ll start with arguably the main character, Kip. Clearly the person who’s had the most character development in this series. He’s gone from a smart but unwise village boy to an accomplished military leader. And it actually works. His plot (mostly) doesn’t feel contrived and it very easily could have. Of course, now he has Tisis to balance him out a bit and she steps up a lot after being relatively undeveloped in the last book. Their relationship seems kind of forced but fits everything else well enough that it can be looked over.

Gavin…well, if you remember how he spent the last book it’s more of the same here. His contributions to the story are more about the past than the present. This helps but considering where Gavin started, the shift in his role has been almost the opposite of Kip’s. Maybe that was the point.

Karris, like Gavin, is delegated to “keep doing what you were doing” in The Blood Mirror. Her storyline marches forward at a slow and steady pace. Although she does get a few cool moments, namely the points where she interacts with Teia.

And on that note, Teia. Oh, my goodness, poor Teia. Her storyline has probably become my favorite in this series. It’s so refreshing to see a character brought in after book 1 who becomes central to everything. The things she has done and keeps doing have far greater consequences than this young woman could have ever imagined. Consequences that will change her forever as she further explores the web she’s caught in.

Polar opposite to Teia, even more so than how Gavin sort of reflects Kip, is Liv. She really seemed like the female lead way back in book 1. And it kind of feels like Brent Weeks just suddenly decided, “Nah” and popped Teia in as Liv’s replacement. Liv’s whole Join The Dark Side story would feel a lot more impactful if she’d actually done stuff before switching teams.

Anyway, everyone spends the whole book moving their pieces into place for their final game. And no one is going to play fair. With one book left, it’ll be fun to see who’s left standing and who ultimately wins by the end.

November 22, 2020

The Short Victorious War (Honor Harrington #3)

Published Post author

The Short Victorious War Book Cover The Short Victorious War
Honor Harrington
David Weber
Sci-fi
Baen
April 1, 1994
Paperback
376

The proles are revolting.
The families who rule the People's Republic of Haven are in trouble. The treasury's empty, the Proles are restless, and civil war is imminent.

But the ruling class knows what they need to keep in power; another short, victorious war to unite the people and fill the treasury once more. It's a card they've played often in the last half-century, always successfully, and all that stands in their way is the Star Kingdom of Manticore and its threadbare allies.

Only this time the Peeps face something different. This time they're up against Captain Honor Harrington and a Royal Manticoran Navy that's prepared to give them a war that's far from short...and anything but victorious.

 

I’ll preface this review by saying I’m a sucker for space operas. If I wasn’t, this would probably only be a 3-star book.

So, in any military series there comes a point where the books start to be less about the main characters and more about the conflict. The Short Victorious War is only book 3 is a very long series (and that’s not even taking all the spin-offs into account), but we already see hints of it here. Now, Honor is still the main character. But there is not as much focus on her here as in the last two books. The reason is that this is where the war actually starts. There were military conflicts in the previous books, but there wasn’t an active state of war. This is where that kicks off, so the book leads into “the conflict is the main focus” territory kind of by necessity.

Aside from the shift of tone, this book is very much your dictionary definition of space opera. Honor is the epitome of a badass, which we know from books 1 & 2. So, we know what to expect from her in that regard. That same sentiment is true in pretty much all other regards to her personality. And the story. Basically, if you’re familiar with how space operas play out, there are no great surprises here. Characters and plot all head in the direction you would expect.

Another big thing for David Weber is the worldbuilding. My god, there’s a lot of worldbuilding. Every piece of sci-fi technology and military protocol gets explained. Which I, personally, love. I’m totally into that stuff. But for readers who aren’t, it seems like it can get repetitive fast. If you just want to see the good guys win and don’t care too much for a detailed explanation into the why and how, that aspect of The Short Victorious War is probably going to be a turn-off.

Like the previous books, there is a lot of borrowing from real-world history. Manticore is very much just Space Britain. Haven is Space France. And the vast distances of space, coupled with how the sci-fi tech works, essentially turns spaceships into old wooden navies in terms of function. And that’s fine. They say history repeats itself so it’s not really that much of a stretch.

In conclusion, The Short Victorious War is a solid entry in a great series for lovers of military sci-fi. And space operas (especially space operas). I’ve heard kind of mixed things about where the series ends up further down the line, but so far it seems solid so I’ll keep reading.

November 15, 2020