While I am a big science fiction guy, and a history guy, military science fiction is a new genre to me. David Weber’s Honorverse series grabbed my attention because a very short version of this book was recently featured in 2015’s Free Comic Book Day. I liked the story, so I downloaded the first book of the series for free on Kindle.
Weber’s Honorverse series chronicles the exploits of Honor Harington, a naval officer in the future, in space. Honor is a natural leader – brilliant, gutsy, and an intuitive reader of people. (My understanding is that she is sort of based on Horatio Hornblower. I am not a Horndawg or whatever Horatio fans are called, so I can’t speak to that.)
Here is what I enjoyed about the book – Honor herself, the political intrigue, and the military strategy. Honor takes care of business, which I like. She is a very sympathetic protagonist because she is simultaneously a military hero and very human. I would gladly serve on one of her ships. While she is a great captain, she is a piece in a much larger game. Weber’s political world is difficult to follow at first because there is so much history and so many moving pieces. However, once you understanding the key players, the dance in which they participate is interesting if not rich. Finally, I enjoyed the tactical play by plays of key battles in the book. It was kind of like watching soccer – it’s not necessarily a high scoring game but you appreciate the strategy and the tactics. When someone does “score” (which the book makes clear isn’t fun in war), it matters.
Here is what I didn’t enjoy – the immediate complexity of the world and the lack of depth of many players. The first third of the book features a lot of conversations between myriad grizzled old characters whom I could not distinguish. Basically, everyone was a Brian Cox or Chris Cooper paint-by-the-numbers aristocrat or bureaucrat. I couldn’t keep them all straight. The story would’ve been fine with some streamlining.
Overall, I had fun reading book one in the series. I will definitely jump back into the series via my local public library. There are so many in the series that renting the books will be a lot more economical than buying. Well done, Honor and David Weber!