June 30th, 2009

Book review: Storm from the Shadows

Today's book review is Storm from the Shadows by David Weber.

This is the latest in the Honor Harrington universe, a fairly direct sequel to The Shadow of Saganami, but it would probably be fairly understandable to anyone generally familiar with the universe.  It ends in a sadistic multiple cliffhanger (that is, rather than bringing the multiple plot lines together for a conclusion, Weber winds each one up to a dramatically tense moment, and we hit the last page).

This book should serve as a real test of whether you're an addict or not.  The overall story arc has clearly jumped the shark.  The scope of the main villain's plot is mostly revealed, and it strains credibility badly.  Further, the effectiveness of the villain's Machiavellian maneuvering completely shatters believability.  Many, many people who have risen to positions of real authority end up doing just what the villain's script says, in a way that makes it clear that it's only happening because it's what the author's script said.  The good guys, who are supposed to be smart, start putting the pieces together more because the story says it's time than because it's clear that they should understand now.  There are far too many new technological twists for such a well established universe, they seem too pat, and we the readers are just led around by the nose as the author tells us just how the different bits of tech will interact in battles, and the actual details feel like they're being massaged to fit where the story is supposed to go, instead of driving the story there.  And then there's the point where the book stops, which as I mentioned in my opening paragraph is about as completely the polar opposite of an ending as anyone could ever manage to write.

However, the metaphysical literary opiates that infuse the series are still present; despite all the above complaints (and the fact that I was warned about the ending before I picked it up), I couldn't keep myself from starting it, I couldn't keep myself from reading it, and only my crummy memory and inability to stay focused on anything will keep me from exploding from frustration as I wait to see how the mess shakes out.

6 out of 10.  If you're not already addicted, it's almost certainly too weak to hook you.  But if you are already addicted, you know you have to read it anyway.  And the next couple, too.

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