Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Review for "Trading In Danger" by Elizabeth Moon

This is not an Indie e-book, but as another example of the reviews that I do, I thought I would post this one anyway.

Story Overview:

Some time in the future, humans have expanded across the galaxy and have settled many words. Each world is self governing and there is little unity between them. Ky, the protagonist, is a member of a very wealthy family of traders whose attempts to escape that way of life and join the military are ended by a rash decision to help a subordinate. As she returns home in disgrace her family have a plan for her, to command one of their ships on a long term trading mission. Ky accepts and finds that the life that she so tried to leave behind still runs through her blood, yet the life she tried to make for herself away from home is still very close.

Cover Page: 10/20

The British version, of a non-descriptive ship looks pretty but does little to stand out against the vast majority of other titles that also have the same style of picture on the front. It does little to attract the imagination and excite the mind. On the plus side the ship does look more realistic than ships from other space operas.

Character (and their development): 15/20

The whole story is centered around Ky and her coming to terms of who she is and dealing with the crisis that comes aboard her ship. While there are supporting characters, in this book they are little more than guides to help her down the track and have little if any development. Ky herself develops little within the book, but where she does develop is excellent portrayed and well written. I would however liked to have seen a few more memorable characters, it was hard to tell some of them apart by the end.

Storyline: 20/20

This is where the book really does excel itself. Starting right off in the action, Ky is brilliant thrown from one piece of action to the next. Her emotion is played so well that she alone could carry the story and that she becomes someone who develops from being a reactive character to a proactive character. Unlike some science fiction stories this story could be based (with some minor changes) in any time period, making it seem more real and tangible, not easy for a space opera.

There is a strong sense of that submarine feel as they are stuck on the ship for days on end without anything to do but duty, eat and sleep. How the main character deals with this is brilliant portrayed and did make me wonder how I would be able to cope. The big crisis towards the end of the book is well written and is satisfyingly done so that it takes it time to resolve and yet is not too drawn out.

However I do feel that the end of the book was  too drawn out and I was wondering at times when it was going to end. It does feel the author debated for a while whether this would be a single or a series of books, with the latter winning.

Style: 15/20

This is something that is the trouble of traditionally published authors. The style is rather similar to the next. Although this makes it easy for any reader to pick up and enjoy, it doesn't create any freshness from the style or any differentiation from any other author. So all I can really say about the style is that is traditional and nothing special.

Spelling and Grammar: 19/20

Most people would expect a book that has been written by a traditional published author, seen by an agent, edited by an editor or three and proof read by others would be completely free from errors. However consider that you are talking about a book that could be 100,000 words or more. Even with all those people an odd word here and there would be easily missed. And that is all that the author does here, an odd word. So in all a nearly perfect write.

Conclusion: 79/100

Despite the score which is not particularly high, I actually recommend the book very highly. the score is compelling and the main protagonist is excellent. However what it lacks is depth of the universe. If you like books where there is only one prominent character than this is a must buy, but if you like books with lots of characters then perhaps this book isn't for you. However I would like to add at this point that books 2-5 in the series did go a long way to expand the character list and would receive a much better score in this area.

Buy Trading in Danger (Vatta's War) at amazon.co.uk
Buy Trading in Danger (Vatta's War) at amazon.com

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