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Lots of people talking
on 19 March 2013
And very little of what they say is interesting. This has been a problem of a lot of Weber's books of late, partly I suspect because he doesn't have an editor with the gumption to sit him down and tell him to cut the excess fat. Shadow of Freedom as a Novella is pretty good, not quite as good as the early Honorverse stories, but not bad. Note I say the Novella, not the novel. I say this because there is an awful, horrible in fact, lot of conversation and counter-conversation where things that the reader already knows are repeated by myriad characters. It doesn't help that there are at least two plot-lines that go absolutely no-where, one which starts as a single chapter and then is never mentioned again, and one which gets three of four chapters and is left hanging in waiting for the next book. The end result is a story that feels like not a lot happens. Which is where the novella comment comes in, because I'm fairly certain that if Weber had been able to cut some of his bad habits when it comes to constant exposition via essentially meaningless dialogue that Shadow of Freedom could have been completed, as a story, in a hundred and fifty pages. Maybe less.
It doesn't help, as well, that everything going on in the novel is happening after, or at least only just after the characters in Shadow of Freedom have found out what happened. Which leads to a lot of bits and pieces where events that previously played out to the reader as actual story are transformed into info-dumps.
Anyway, at this stage I think Shadow of Freedom is the last Honorverse book I'm going to buy Hardback, and it may well be the last one I buy new. I like the universe, I like some of the characters, and I wanted to like this book. But frankly with both this and the Safehold series I can't see any real improvement in how Weber is writing, and until someone gets through to him the maxim of showing and not telling, and he gets an editor willing to take him to task for all the excess fat on his stories, there isn't much point in wasting money on a mediocre story or a series that seems to be grinding to a slow and unremittingly dull pace.