So the day after I finished reading A Beautiful Friendship, I then started and finished Fire Season (Young Adult Science Fiction 287 pages) by David Weber. I think it was Thursday of last week that I read it. As with A Beautiful Friendship, this was actually the second time I’d read the book. And it was also just as good the second time as it was during my first reading.
Fire Season was another brain candy book for me, where I couldn’t put it down and it encouraged me to spend my lunch break reading instead of eating and then to not leave for work when I should have. There are times when I am grumpy about books that encourage me to be irresponsible, but it’s not quite grumpiness. It’s a little bit of awe and wonder and beauty for being able to be so wrapped up in another world and another life, to allow my imagination to let me experience true friendship and to pretend that I could live in a world with fantastic technology and wonderful explorations.
The gravity belts were particularly interesting for me because it’s a constant, but subtle reminder that Sphinx is not Earth. I think I like the way that subtleness is achieved, too. It’s something that the characters seem to fully accept as just the way the world is. It’s not over-emphasized and it’s not understated. It’s something they understand and work with every day. I think that’s one of the big draws of this series for me. The technology is there and it’s used by the characters in the correct fashion, but it’s not so intense and technical that it makes it hard for me to pay attention. The tone and the narration really gives the story a feeling of authenticity, as though this is their world and they are sharing it with us. It doesn’t feel forced. And even better, it’s not so technical that my eyes glaze over and I stop paying attention. That tends to happen every now and then in the Honor Harrington series, so I’m really glad it’s not happening in this series.
I liked the introduction of the new characters and I honestly felt as though I could tell the difference between the character even without their dialogue tags because they were all very different characters. I really enjoy reading stories that have unique characters in them, not just cookie-cutter paper cutouts. Dr. Whittaker was such an annoying jerk that I wanted to magically appear inside the story just so I could beat him senseless with a very thick, very heavy book. I liked how Anders and Carl were different people, just as Jessica and Christine were completely different characters. In fact, the secondary characters in this book were just as fascinating to me as Stephanie. I think that says a lot about how much I’m enjoying the world and characters in this series.
One of the other key things I’ve been noticing and enjoying in this series is that the story is trimmed down to its bare necessities. There are gaps of time that I’m sure the author would have dearly loved going into vivid and descriptive detail about, but that doesn’t happen. I felt like I got the perfect mix of how much information I needed and how much information I wanted. So while there are a good number of places that could have been expanded, I feel the story is stronger by not having done so. This is one of the things I am still working on learning as an author is to tell just the right amount of information at the right times.
I guess one of the other things I really enjoy about this series is how the potential romantic element is dealt with. It’s hinted at, but not in a huge way. And it’s approached just like most went through adolescent romantic interests – with confusion. It’s not cut and dry and it’s not simple and I think that adds quite a bit of realism to the emotional content of this story.
Overall, this is another book that I was sad to finish because I don’t have any more books to read in the series. I am very happy that I own both books in this series and will buy the next one (if/when there is a next one) when it comes out.