The Tuloriad

This book’s underlying premise isn’t really my thing. The escape of the remnants of the Posleen works for me, and I think holds together. However, I’m unconvinced by a religious mission setting out after the Posleen to convert them to one of the Earth religions. That just seems a bit far fetched to me. However, this book is rescued by the insights into the Posleen’s history that it offers. Its worth wading through the other stuff that isn’t all that interesting just to find out a bit more about how the characters ended up in this state.

[isbn: 9781439134092]

Yellow Eyes

This book is pretty preachy (if you’re not a republican your wrong and you’re what’s wrong with the universe), and long. The story also centers around haunted warships, which is a bit of a leap for this series. On the other hand, its a good read if you can put up with those bits. Overall ok, but not the best in the series.

[isbn: 9781416555711]

Watch on the Rhine

If you knew you were in deep trouble, had the technology to rejuvenate any soldier you wanted, and happened to be a late nineties Germany desperate for cannon fodder, would you return the SS to service? A harsh reality is that they’re some of the only soldiers you have left with real combat experience, even if their politics is abhorrent. This book has an interesting underlying concept, but to a certain extent its ruined by the politics of the authors — any concern for anything other that military strength is dismissed as another example of rampant nimbyism. However, the book tells a good story and made me think about some stuff I wouldn’t have otherwise thought about, while being entertaining. So, overall a success I guess.

[isbn: 9781416521204]

Cally’s War

Let’s be honest, this book has not reviewed well over the years. However, I had a long flight, and figured I’d give it a go. It wasn’t actually all that bad, and was certainly massively better than some other share cropped books I have read. The writing is competent and the plotting reasonable. I think the biggest problem is that the start of the book would be quite shocking to some people (it certainly bothered me), and Cally’s character is so out of line with where I wanted her to be 40 years after the last book. I can see how it would be possible for her to end up like she is in this book, but it was a disappointment to me. The pretty much constant shagging is distracting from the rest of the plot too.

Overall, I am left wanting to know more about the Darhel plot, and the book did help further that story line, if only a little. I don’t regret reading the book, even though it isn’t the strongest in the series.

[isbn: 141652052X;9781416520528]

Hell’s Faire

The final book in the Earth based Posleen war series. This should really have been part of the previous book (When the Devil Dances), but that would have made it a 1,100 page book. I’ve seen some complaints that these two books needed editing, but I feel that’s not totally fair. They didn’t feel padded, and I’m not sure what’ you’d leave out of them. Sure, there are characters who are introduced in reasonable detail in order to then die, but isn’t war like that? I like that you couldn’t really guarantee that all the good guys would survive for once.

The remainder of the books in this universe are share cropped. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

[isbn: 0743488423]

When the Devil Dances

The humans are still getting their arse kicked, and it seems like the Posleen might be learning something approximating reasonable tactics. If this book was just that, then it would be a disappointing addition to the series (A Hymn Before Battle and Gust Front come before this book). However, there is also some interesting science fiction happening here. It seems there is some sort of conspiracy to control the humans, and there is certainly some dodgy human experimentation going on. Overall, a good book apart from the cliff hanger at the end — I would be annoyed if I couldn’t just pick up the next book straight away.

[isbn: 0743436024]

Gust Front

This is the sequel to A Hymn Before Battle, and its a better book to be honest. That’s fair enough given Hymn was Ringo’s first book. This book spends less time on the politics of incompetent officers (although there is a bit of that), and introduces a little bit more of the political intrigue running in the Federation. The combat sequences are pretty well done too. Overall its good to see Ringo developing as an author and I enjoyed this book.

[isbn: 0743435257]

Polar City Blues

My first Katharine Kerr science fiction novel. There is a lot happening in this book: an inversion between the expected racism in our society; multiple alien species; political intrigue; murder; disease; and a first contact with a new alien species. The book could have included fewer plot elements and still have been excellent. Regardless, this book is quite good, and very unexpected from what I consider to be a fantasy author.

[isbn: 0553285041]

A Hymn Before Battle

This is an interesting book in that it lays down a reasonably believable scenario and then doesn’t really resolve it. Its obviously setting up for a series, and while the local micro plot is resolved, there is clearly a larger story arc that wants telling here. The book isn’t happy or uplifting, it is downright depressing in places. Regardless, I still finding myself hanging out for the next one in the series.

[isbn: 0671318411]