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4.2 out of 5 stars30
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 1 September 2009
In my opinion the best of the series by a good margin. I'm not always a Moon fan - some of her other series seem to me too narrowly focused on a female teenage market (tiresome family, handsome suitors, underrated heroines and so on) but the Vatta series has a good balance of technical interest and nuanced characters: nobody's perfect, and only the pirate chief is undeveloped.

This volume has several interesting twists: new developments in ansible technology, the daredevil romantic pilot from a schizophrenic culture shifting personality at a crucial moment, divisions and rivalries imperilling the alliance, and a satisfying final space battle. There are also quite a few loose ends (e.g. the shadowy adviser in volume 4 turns out to be nobody in particular): as in real life, not every detail is significant and you have to guess which will matter.

It could have done with a little more editing - the occasional repetition of phrasing, the uneven character of Rafe (sometimes a daredevil Rhett Butler type, sometimes just a foil for heroine Ky).

So should you buy it? To enjoy it you really need to read the full series (and I do recommend that if you want light fast-paced SF with some three-dimensional characters), but if you've got to volume 4 I'd certainly recommend getting this to round it off.
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on 25 September 2010
I can't imagine reading just this book in the series. The story is much longer and the action doesn't seem to stop. The hero develops over the whole series. To me it only makes sense as part of the whole.

The story line is a bit of James Clavell's Taipan set in space. There is the corporation under attack, the enemy is space pirates, the authorities are tools of one side or the other there are politics and high adventure. But! Problem solving is typical for women fantasy writers. The hero is still the hero but relationships play a much bigger role. There is competition and rivalry between the characters but it is mainly based (and blamed) on lack of communication. Conflict is so easy to solve (as long as the characters are on the same side). It makes the books very readable. We have come across it with authors like Anne McCaffrey and even J. K Rowling.

Part of the story are all sorts of sub plots which I call tips of ice bergs. One gets to see a new character just for a brief period and is left to wonder what happens to them. Some of the activities lead to nothing apparent in the story. At the end of the book I wanted to read on but had nowhere to go. So I wondered, what happened with all these loose ends and with those characters with so much potential. This is the genius of it: the mind is free to imagine further. What a subtle replacement for suspending disbelieve. Of course, this is not just a trick of Elisabeth Moon, but apart from the plot twists it adds hugely to the readability.

This book concludes the series (So what's the next series?). It ends just before the complete clear up of the pirates with only the beginnings of the future for the hero's family's corporation - good news all round for the good side. This shouldn't be surprising. But the way to get there is what the books are all about.

My recommendation: If you enjoy sci-fi, adventure and a gripping read buy not just this book but the whole series.
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on 22 June 2016
If you have read books 1 to 4, then you will feel obliged to read this 5th and final book to complete the story, but be warned that it is the weakest in the series.

The storyline is obvious and its ultimate conclusion is too well signposted. There are no big surprises, no plot twists and far too much filler material. of little consequence. The lead characters meander along doing not very much, and get little in the way of development. There are several missed opportunities where secondary characters should have been given more time to progress their story arc to their natural conclusion. I just simply wanted more from the book than it gave me.

I could not shake the feeling that this was a book that the author wanted to get finished as quickly as possible and then move on to something new. That said, there is a lot in the book to like and there is just enough momentum from previous books and for me to give it a three star review.
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on 9 September 2008
Put simply: the series of books were worth reading; they were fun and enjoyable with some good characters, and one or two especially interesting ones.

The series as a whole was let down by being too contrived. Every work of fiction is, of course, but it is the writer's job to make it believeable within the world it exists - occasionally I would find myself thinking - 'that's awefully convenient', or 'I expect that is going to happen'. As someone else put much less verbose - predictable. And it spoilt the fun.

Apart from the predictability of the ending, it was as good as book four, and a reasonably good end to the series; however, I believe there were a few too many loose ends. So whilst it finished the series, it didn't complete it.

The possibility of a follow-on series can't be discounted. I would certainly consider buying them, but I would likely wait until some or all of the series were available if that did happen.
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on 22 February 2010
I wont give my version of the story but ...

Really great fun, good story well told. Nothing to make you think hard about new ideas. Easy to get started (some books take an age and a real struggle to get into - not this series). Then difficult to put down.

However, think of the series as a single large book and read them in the correct order. One excellent aspect about the series is that, unlike some multi-book series, the start of each book assumes you have read the previous book and does not spend ages recapping the story so far. Personally I hate it when you read the 2nd/3rd/4th book and you have to plough through loads of recapping the book before. In this series each book just continues directly from the end of the previous one making all 5 books like one book but split for convenience. So read them in the right order.
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on 21 February 2013
for the sake of the very excellent first 4 volumes read this one too, but it feels rushed sometimes and drawn out at others. Not a bad book by all means but not the class the volumes 1-4 are in.
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on 12 February 2011
A great conclusion to the story with all story threads concluded in a fun and satisfying way.

As per the Product Description, Admiral Vatta goes out to do battle with some advantages and experience. Ky still has to learn through her mistakes and is exceedingly lucky in at least a couple of areas in how she survives.

If you have got this far in the story, you probably don't need this review to help you make your decision. If you are still wondering if to start - well you will know by the end of book 1 if it if for you; if you like Anne McCaffrey books then you will like this from one of her co-authors of her books.
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on 12 March 2012
Moon writes a taut, exciting novel whether fantasy or sf. It is always a shame to see a good series finish, but at the same time many authors appear unable to let a good earner end and you end up with a limping series of 'add-ons'. There is always the possibility of a next generation series as there appear to be plenty of loose ends in this universe, so who knows?

Good enjoyable book but I do wish publishers would be more honest with their pricing given all the savings of the ebook format to all concerned and the fact that--scandalously--you cannot dispose of an item even after paying to own it!
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on 1 May 2015
I got hooked on Elizabeth Moons writing a few years back she has a knack for telling multiple tales running around a familiar theme which goes all over the place or in this case galaxy and weaving in and of out over a four five on more series of books. And when the last page has been written all the tales link up and closes the book. I think she's an underrated writer and hope that she keeps writing
I will one will keep on reading
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on 23 May 2014
as per the previous 4 books, i thoroughly enjoyed this one.
Unlike some other reviewers of books in this series, im not really bothered about how unlikely it is that the main character would be the way she is - this is fiction and a momentary escape from your humdrum normality and as such is engrossing and entertaining. I would not hesitate to recommend this series of books to anyone interested in Scifi.
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