Brothers in Valor (Man of War #3)

Brothers in Valor Book Cover Brothers in Valor
Man of War
H. Paul Honsinger
Sci-fi
47North
June 30, 2015
Paperback
382

Sometimes Captain Max Robichaux fights by the book—and sometimes he throws the book away. This makes him one of the Union Space Navy’s rising stars. It’s also what has kept him and his green crew alive…thus far.

When Max and his ship—the twenty-fourth-century space destroyer USS Cumberland—are boxed in by eight enemy battleships, the odds are against them at a million to one. It takes all their skill and guts just to escape…and surviving won’t get easier. Sent on a covert mission behind enemy lines, Max and his crew are poised to strike a blow so hard that, if successful, it could turn the tide of the war. But if they fail, it will cost them their lives…and the lives of every human in the galaxy.

 

This review will contain spoilers for the previous two books.

Brothers in Valor really ramps up the action compared to the previous Man of War novels. The first book had a fair amount of world building and character development, with little bits of action in-between. The second novel used that pre-established information and focused more on fighting, just adding more lore as needed. This third book is closer to full-on war with Robichaux and his crew jumping from one battle to the next. The near-constant warfare does make this book feel shorter; and it is shorter too, with a noticeably lower page count than the other two.

Character development was a bit weaker here than in the previous books. Robichaux still gets developed further as the central character, but other crew members are not as at the forefront. Dr. Sahin, for example, felt more like a plot device than a character in Brothers in Valor. He serves the role of inexperienced military personnel, asking questions that the readers need answered in context. But for character development, he does not do a lot this time around. The same is true for most of the rest of the crew. There is one chapter though that takes place from a Krag commander’s point of view. This gives a lot of insight into the culture and the way they think, making it one of the best chapters of the book.

With so many battles, the overall plot of this series does not advance too much either. The way Brothers in Valor is lain out is almost like the season finale of a television show. We have had slower developments leading here and now we are at the big action scene at the end. Because despite this being the end of the trilogy, it does not end the story as a whole. This wraps up the current story arc, but there will still be more to come.

While some elements in Brothers in Valor are weaker than in its predecessors, the action is top notch. Since the Cumberland tends of operate independently, many of the previous battles in the series were skirmishes. This is where we get into full-on war; the turning point that could decide the final outcome for all humanity. We do get a climax but only for this first portion of a much larger story. With Honsinger working on another trilogy, I cannot wait to see where Robichaux and his crew go next.

August 12, 2018

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