Today's book review is Schism by Catherine Asaro.
This is the latest installment in Asaro's Skolian Empire series. Chronologically, it fits into the middle of the overall story, as it covers the beginning of Soz' military career. Because an older Soz is the hero of several of the earlier-written books, we're not really worried that she'll either get killed or wash out of the military, but the previous books haven't told us much about what happens in this space of time, so it's not too badly constrained.
As this series evolves, I'm finding more problems with it. The characters have always been larger than life, but as they become more extremely so, they get harder to empathize with. Events that drive the plot are becoming contrived to a slightly annoying degree. In this book, Asaro devotes enough attention to genetics to make her lack of understanding of the subject painfully clear. And despite the fact that she is a trained physicist, she injects hints of time travel into the plot which aren't even necessary. Yet for some reason I am still very drawn to the story; I enjoy the world she's created and I want to find out how things turn out.
Overall, I'd have to say that you shouldn't start reading the series with this book; if you've read others in the series, this one isn't quite as good but it has the same feel and you'll probably feel about the same as you did about the previous books. Definitely flawed, but still a good read; 7 out of 10.