Wednesday, November 11, 2009

With the Lightnings by David Drake

*sigh* Disappointment. I do like military sci/fi, honest. Witness my near fangirl love for the Old Man's War universe and Robert Buettner's Orphanage series...but With the Lightnings, I just can not love. The characters are okay but there are way to many paragraphs that end with something along the lines of "it was a matter of honor and Daniel Leary was nothing without his honor!" I put quotations on it but it is not a direct quotation, or maybe it is..I don't remember. I noticed in the Pub Weekly review that his name is listed as Cassian Daniels but it's Daniel Leary in the book. I have no idea why there is a discrepancy.

The book is described as a space opera and I'll go one step further and say space soap opera. Just too many episodes of pat drama where I could imagine a tight close-up of a face twisted with confusion and self doubt, some music swelling in the background. I also notice in this PW review the phrase "crisply delineated space-age equipment." I found it just as coherent as one of Tristan Tzara's cutup poems. I blame my inability to understand complex math and science reasoning. I struggled to finish as this book just did not resonate with me.

I'll let Amazon take it from here via Publisher's Weekly since they seemed to enjoy it more than I did.

From Publishers Weekly
Veteran military SF author Drake (the Hammer's Slammers series) launches an unlikely pair of star warriors at the far-future and evil Alliance of Free Stars, which is locked in mortal combat with the Republic of Cinnabar over the wealthy trading world of Kostroma. Cheeky young Cinnabaran Lt. Cassian Daniels has quarreled with his powerful and merciless father, who has tossed him out and left him to his own slim devices. Spunky young librarian Adele Mundy is the sole survivor of her Cinnabar clan, which was wiped out in a conspiracy led by the elder Daniels. After some colorful initial posturing, Cassian and Adele pool their familial pride and anti-totalitarian views in Cassian's impromptu first command, a scratch crew trapped ashore in an Alliance coup. Together they outwit (Cassian's doing) and outshoot (Adele's forte) the bad guys. Updating dashing Horatio Hornblower tactics and vintage John Wayne heroics with crisply delineated space-age equipment, a convincing extraterrestrial setting and formidably battle-hardened female NCOs, Drake gives a familiar plot a full measure of appealing derring-do. This surely shouldn't, and probably won't, be Cassian and Adele's last adventure together.

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