As I work to get back to a more normal schedule, I’m hoping to be able to post a book review every Monday, a movie review every Friday, and hopefully something writerly on Wednesdays. That should help get me more focused on everything that goes into ideas, world-building, and writing stories in general. To that end, over the weekend, I read the next Honor Harrington novel, A Rising Thunder (Science Fiction 458 pages) by David Weber.
This entire series continues to astound me with the sheer depth and reality of the world-building involved. I am not a politically minded person and even the idea of interstellar politics and policies for multiple different star nations makes me confused, but Weber is managing them and adding intricacies and intrigues that would never occur to me on any level. It’s both fascinating and mind-boggling and I am certain his work area is covered in detailed character files, political agendas, policies, technical manuals for his space craft, and vast amounts of other information I can’t even fathom. I respect that hugely.
In some ways, the timeline of these books keeps gettings me a confused. I expected this novel to pick up where the previous one left off, with the imminent invasion of the Solarian League into Manticore and the new alliance between the Star Empire of Manticore and the Republic of Haven knocking the snot out of the arrogant Solarian League. At the end of the last book, I sort of giggled with the idea that “someone’s gonna get it” (if you can imagine that being sung slightly off-key, with a mischievous glint in my eye). But that’s not how this novel started out. In fact, the Solarian League ships didn’t show up in Manticore space until about two-thirds of the way through the book.
So what happened between the end of the last book and when the Solarian League ships finally decided to show up?
Politics. Lots and lots and lots of politics. The interesting part about this entire series is that it’s not brain candy for me. I have to actually work to read these books. It takes a lot of brain power to devote energy to figuring who all these characters are that keep getting mentioned and whether I think I’ll need the information later. Sometimes, I’m lazy and I only pay attention to names that come up in more than one chapter. This entire series has so many freaking people in, just like a real galaxy would, that I don’t often feel like devoting my own resources to caring hugely about which person went where and what they did when they arrived where they were going. My brain is full of other stuff related to my own stories and my own life that filling it up with an entire galaxy and all the backstabbing and politics and individual secretaries that go with that can get to be a bit much. The readers are given enough of the little details to be able to build a bigger picture of what might be going on throughout the galaxy. Since I see mostly over-arching trends and big picture things, that works well for me. But man, reading through all those details gets pretty tedious sometimes.
I believe in one of my more recent reviews of Weber‘s work, I was a bit annoyed about finding editing mistakes and that there were so many that I noticed them and they tossed me out of the story. I did see a couple here and there, but this time it wasn’t words that spellcheck could have found. I guess it’s just how I see text when I read. I’ve had a few critique partners in the past who mentioned that I’m pretty good at spotting all the nit-picky little spelling errors. My point here, though, is that if my brain wasn’t wired to notice these things, I probably wouldn’t have found them in this book, which is a marked improvement from the review I wrote about the terrible editing job from one of the earlier books. Maybe I notice them more in these books because Weber‘s attention to detail and the depth which he builds his galaxy forces me to pay so much attention to everything that I read that I can’t help but notice every single word on the page.
I’m enjoying the way the treecats are subtly moving through things and how, throughout the whole series, something so small has had such a key and pivotal role. Nimitz has saved Honor’s life multiple times, and even the lives of important political figures from other star systems. Because of the actions Honor has taken to protect him and because of his actions to protect her, the treecats as a whole have started changing their entire policies. It’s an interesting mix and in some ways shows that even small things can have a huge impact. That’s food for thought.
Overall, I would say this was a good addition to the series, but there really wasn’t too much action in it. Not that all stories have to be all action all the time, but in a storyline like this, the action helps to give my brain a much-needed break from all that back-stabbing political crap it has to sort through. But that’s just my opinion.