Monday, June 30, 2008

At All Costs

This book has been hanging around my house for a while. I bought it on a B&N binge a while ago. But every time I started it it just seemed too annoying, like the end of an Orson Scott Card series. The end of his series always feel strained, like he didn't really want to write it but the fans were bugging him and his publishers made him do it. But I've been having summer-itis lately and can't seem to get myself into anything serious, even if I check them out from the library with the best of intentions. I am also a victim of short-attention span fever, not my own, but my children's'. I can't go more than half an hour without someone wanting something, unless they are doing something they shouldn't. In that case I have a dilemma, leave them alone, so I can have some peace, or be a responsible mother and go stop whatever it is. The first option has been what I've done more and more, especially if its just computer time infractions. So a good space opera was just what my brain was wanting.
This turned out to be better than I was expecting, once I got past the initial set up pages. The political situation was something of a moral dilemma but in huge political terms. What if both sides don't want to be at war, it is the result of misunderstanding, but neither can find the political strength and will necessary to admit the fault? That is the basis for the book and it made for gripping reading as you go between battles and then to the leaders who are agonizing over what is the right thing to do. As an individual it is easy to say, you just have to bite the bullet and do what it takes to stop things. As difficult as it is for some to be humble and admit fault, this book made a good point about how difficult it is for even bigger organizations to do the same thing.
The biggest complaint I have is that this thorny situation wasn't resolved by the end of the book. You'd think in almost 900 pages a good resolution would be possible, if not easy. The current trend for huge novels gets exasperating at times. This book also had the first polygamous marriage I have ever read in science fiction. It was an unusual solution to a situation that most books would have ended with an affair, but in these Honor Harrington books, they take vows and honor too seriously for that. I like that about military science fiction, especially David Weber.

At All Costs. David Weber. Baen. 2005

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