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Thursday, August 29, 2013

On Basilisk Station by David Weber

On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington, #1)On Basilisk Station by David Weber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  Honor Harrington in trouble: Having made him look the fool, she's been exiled to Basilisk Station in disgrace and set up for ruin by a superior who hates her. Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship's humiliating posting to an out-of-the-way picket station. The aborigines of the system's only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens. Parliament isn't sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling, the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called "Republic" of Haven is Up to Something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser with an armament that doesn't work to police the entire star system. But the people out to get her have made one mistake. They've made her mad.

This was July's bookgroup selection and my second time reading it.

The question that begs to be asked is, Did Star Trek ruin "battle" scenes?  Can one have a scifi battle scene on a ship that does not involve the Captain calling the engine room and asking for a status on the failing engines and having the person in said engine room, respond back, "She's giving everything she's got!"  and the Captian demanding "Dammit! I need more power!" and the poor engineer going, "Okay! I'll do what I can!"  as the ship lurches and shakes from the impact of being hit?

Okay, rant aside, this was a decent "intro" book.  By intro book I am referring to a book that sets up the universe and as I have recently learned, this has become a very established .  As I noted, this was my second time reading this and I might be looking at this a bit more critically than I would a first read.

I felt the character building was pretty good.  Our heroine, Honor, is slowly climbing the ranks in the Navy, has a back bone, and yet you see glimpses of doubt and fear.  We are given to understand she is not one of the "privileged" lord-lings automatically given rank.

I thought the premise of the book, the point that instigated the plot, was rather weak.  Honor is assigned to the HMS Fearless, a ship that has been refitted with some alternate weaponry not appropriate to the size and class of ship, and then participates in battle training exercises.  Her ship fails miserably and she is banished to the outskirts of the system with a crew that now despises her for their when they all knew it was the new weaponry.

Right.  A bit implausible that the Captain would be thrown under the proverbial train for a weapon's system that everyone knew would fail anyway.

My other criticism of the book was the overly long expository explanations.  The "world building" aspect so to speak.  If the author knew at the time that this was more than a single book, he could have spread out the descriptive narrative.  I found my self skipping pages to get back to the meat of the book.

Overall, a well written military science fiction book.  Recommended.

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