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Kris Longknife: Redoubtable (Kris Longknife Series Book 8) Kindle Edition
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1. Sexism in various forms (Kris's self-doubts about her physical attributes), "girl to girl" talk (Kris, Vicky, Abby)
2. Inane dialogue between so-called adults (Abby, Vicky, patronising Jack, Kris) appropriate for 14-year olds Oh, people keep saying things "dryly".
3. Shameless padding by involving essentially irrelevant characters, e.g. Cara
4. Infantile dialogue with infantile (and unfortunately even more numerous) AIs ("Nelly" and her "children").
5. Inane puerile "humour". Ch. 33 (the "!panic party" is a particularly good example (also illustrating again the author's ingrained sexism).
This series could only be redeemed by eliminating Jack, Abby, Cara and Nelly.. . Or by shutting them up.
As it is, this series has descended to teenager level (well below YA). The plot, overall, isn't too bad, but the execution and the general tone make this the worst instalment yet.
The first 100 pages of the next one ("Daring") showed no improvement. Same inane dialogue. The scientists regularly referred to as "boffins", both in direct and indirect speech. Jack still patronising, ditto Abby ("little girl”, “pretty little head” on p.78)
Mr Shepherd's fundamental problem is that he cannot cope with genuinely powerful female protagonists. So he belittles them (jocularly, of course). Male insecurity, clearly.
End of the journey for this reader. Recycling the rest of the series (unfortunately bought on the strength of the first three books which, ironically, were quite decent - but then he falls into that humorously sexist rut.)
This book finds newly promoted Lieutenant Commander Longknife picking up on unfinished business with the rival Peterwald clan. Being in pursuit of very unpleasant pirates, she's not going to let a little thing like pursuit into Peterwald territory slow her down. Readers of the previous book will know that once Kris has a target she will not be stopped until justice is served up.
Darker than the previous books, dealing with slavery and slaughter nonetheless this is up to the usual standard, easy to read, funny in parts, sobering in others and engaging without insulting the intelligence. The Peterwald territory has very obvious parallels with Russia and the old USSR. Kris' gang of irreverent, but loyal stalwarts are there, both human and computer; complaining, but carrying out orders and keeping her alive. Peterwald heiress and once-foe Vicky has a large role and is now Kris' firm friend; Kris being responsible for her brother's death a few books ago does not spoil this relationship, dealt with in such a way as to illustrate how very grim and deadly being a Peterwald can be.
OK maybe in the Longknife universe, the ever growing Longknife band is a bit too easy going, efficient, comradely and firm but fair (unless you don't surrender when asked) for some tastes; maybe some might prefer a few more dark rivalries and tensions within her group, but to be honest I am comfortable with this universe, and there are many other good authors serving up alternatives. By the way I never worry about the science in these books, it's three hundred years in the future, so who knows?
So if you've read the previous you will not be disappointed in the standard.
Still, others love Kris Longknife so it may be your cup of tea but I will stick to David Weber (Honor Harrington), Chris Bunch (Sten, Halo and Shadow Warrior), William C Deitz (Legion of the Damned), Stephen Kent (Clone Empire) and Ian Douglas (Star Carrier).
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