Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2020-03-21 20:06:28 UTC
I enjoyed the first two books of this series quite a bit, and this
one not so much. I'm trying to figure out why, and here's what I
come up with:
There's a whiff of "retcon", in which things we thought to be true
turn out to be so. For instance, the first two books gave the
impression that Mardukans were almost completely unknown in the
Empire, but this book makes the point that a good number travel and
work as "enforcers". Likewise, the second book gave the impression
that the Empress had been overthrown in a secret coup. In this
book, apparently everyone above the grade of frycook knows this has
happened, including government personages who really should care.
Finally, Roger is made to exhibit unstablity and tyranical impulses
never hinted at before. There is some handwaving to justify it by
"what he's been through", but it doesn't ring true.
Some plot elements seem to have been introduced simply for padding
or shock value. For instance, the whole 'kidnapping of the love
interest' subplot falls completely limp, and whole 'empress is
controlled by rape' scenario seems unnecessary and implausible.
The space battles are overwhelmed by Weber's infodumps. There are
literally whole pages you can skip. It's important that Weber know
the ins and outs of what all the ships and missles are capable of,
but _we_ don't have to know every last detail. Some explanation
like "he'll be there because that's the only place he can be
effective" is all we really need to know.
Finally, (and firstly) the book begins with a faux historical
write-up on Roger that gives away way too much. That starts the
book on a false note, and reminds us that no matter what happens
for the next couple of hundred pages that a) Roger makes it to the
throne and b) He's dead now anyway.