Top critical review
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Not the finest HH book but necessary
on 1 July 2010
Lets get the bad out of the way first. This is not the best Honor Harrington by a long way. The complexity and multiple story lines of the Honorverse have really come home to roost - and not in a good way. The major flaw with this book is that in order to tie off lots of interacting plot lines between the main HH series and the 2 spinoff series - Saganami Island and Wages of Sin, events from those 2 series have to be rehashed and take up probably 1/3-1/2 of the book. Anyone who has read Storm from the Shadows or Torch of Freedom will be overfamiliar with much of the background exposition. Certainly Storm from the Shadows and Mission could have been merged and lost a few hundred pages in the process. It also suffers from having far too many characters to track as a result.
Its quite unfortunate - the 300+ pages involving Honor and the core Oyster Bay plot are vintage Weber, the rest drag the score down.
However you can see why Weber was forced into this approach - the Honorverse has become too sprawling and complex, hopefully this is the end of his attempt to introduce a bit more segration into the Main and Sub series. If you read any Weber interviews part of this stems from Weber planning to finish the HH series with a Nelson-like Death for Honor during At All Costs, but deciding not to go ahead thus having to come up with a different way of putting a full stop in this section of the series.
This book is meant to be a closing chapter in the Havenite Wars and to sow the seeds of a new start. The book accomplishes this well with an excellent mix of Diplomacy and Action. In particular the ending of the book - though a kind of cliff hanger is handled very well indeed giving a sense of satisfaction whilst still making the reader eager for the next installment.
It still confirms Weber as at or near the top of the Space Opera tree - just not quite firing on all cylinders. A Weber 3 star review should be considered a 4 star review for most others - his previous high standard affect my overall judgement of him.