I started reading Trade Secret, sequel to Balance of Trade, and realised I could remember essentially nothing of the former. Not surprising, maybe: I read it exactly 10 years ago. So I grabbed Balance of Trade back off the shelf, and read it again, and enjoyed it again.
Trade Secret takes up the story without pause. Jethri, now a qualified Trader, continues to makes friend and enemies, as do his old family. The dark secret underlying Jethri’s ancestry, and the reason his mother seems to hate him, is revealed. And there is lots of to-ing and fro-ing, as Jethri tries to recover some stolen property, with the help of a Scout.
I didn’t like this as much as the previous one. It’s still a good story, fleshing out the Liaden universe, with Jethri gaining interesting skills (oh, surprise, he’s now a pilot), but it suffers from fragmentation, because of the several points of view. This makes the pace rather slow, as several different plots merge and mesh and converge, and I don’t find the other characters as interesting.
This feels somewhat like the slow middle movement of a trilogy, manoeuvering the plot ready for the finale in book three. Maybe in another 10 years Lee and Miller will write the next Jethri book, and I’ll review it?
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley. I haven't read that many Liaden Universe books but this one was pretty good - it does actually help if you have read Balance Of Trade first though. I found this to be an enjoyable read but I think for someone new to the universe it would have been quite confusing with a lot of the customs unexplained in detail (most of which you get to understand from the previous book). I wouldn't recommend this to anyone just starting out on the books but I do recommend the books as a whole - the Liaden Universe is wonderful!
For those who seek closure, this book does that. It is, however, convoluted at times and completely omits two of my favourite characters, the twins Meisha and Miandra, It does bring this part of Jethri's story to a close whilst leaving the door open for other stories. I enjoyed reading this.... But I still prefer Korval!