Top critical review
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Closure for the series...
on 30 May 2010
I have been waiting for this book ever since the previous episode was devoured by me. Finally it came out, but I had to order it through the UK Amazon site (I am from the Netherlands myself). I guess that shows you how eager I was to get my hands on it. I have read the previous 5 books several times through, loving the pace, the setups and the development of the main and supporting characters of the story. Sure, there were some less strong parts and a lot stronger parts in the series, but in general it is one of my most favorite series out there.
So, now book 6, 'Victorious'. I read it in just one single day and, to be brutally honest, was left with a feeling that it fell short of the mark. Jack Campbell had a few too many loose ends to tie up and not enough pages to do it in, it seems. Though everything is still pretty well thought out and seems to fit, it just doesn't have the polished and well set up feeling of the previous books. It is, mostly due to the characters and your knowledge of the previous books so you can 'flesh it out' yourself, still a very enjoyable book, but not quite up to the standard of the previous ones.
In this book Black Jack Geary effortlessly manages to slip through the political minefield of the Alliance leadership politics, gets more of a fleet than before through some reinforcements, returns to Syndic space, defeats the last remnants of the Syndic fleet, goes on charging off to the other end of Syndic space to defeat the aliens that seem to be pressing inwards now that the Syndic defense fleet has been decimated. In the meantime he gets 2 new politicians aboard, a captain in the fleet that is behaving in a weird fashion and a seemingly honorable Syndic. At the end of the book all these loose ends are tied up, but not in a very satisfying way. It's all too.. Shallow, no depth, no 'body' to it. The two new politicians could have sparked off delicious dialogues, but they are hidden behind our trusted and well known ex-lover politician. The new captain that could have formed a delicious plot turn just seems to evaporate into thin air when he commits suicide after completely fumbling an attack. The aliens intentions are foiled and driven off with not much effort either, before which the only solid thing that remains in the book is the desperate chess play by the Syndics in their home system. That's the main fight that works and is properly fleshed out.
The conclusion is that this is a decent book to read, especially if you've read the rest of the series. Considered on it's own, it's much less of a good story though. It lacks the body and content of the previous books though. The writer had enough story lines and intrigues to properly fill at least 2 more books, in my view and should have done so. In this book he unfortunately tried to condense too much story into too few pages.....
All that said: if you have read the rest of the books, it's a must read. If not.... Start from the top :)