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Kylara Vatta's life as a trader ship captain gets more than a little "interesting" as her family is destroyed, and her own life and ship are attacked by powerful enemies. The overall plot moves forward at a quick pace as the violence against the Vattas escalates and intensifies. The interaction between Ky and Stella is not particularly healthy, and is, IMO, one of the weaker elements of this series.
The reader, Cynthia Holloway, is still by far not my favourite reader, but she does seem better in this and later books in the series. I've given the performance a 3 out of 5. It adds nothing to the series, but isn't an annoying distraction either. Overall, this book is a 4 out of 5, and with a better reader would be a 5 out of 5.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Originally posted at FanLit.
After being kicked out of the officer’s academy, getting dumped by her fiancé, and taking a position as a captain in her father’s shipping empire, Kylara Vatta is not living the life she planned. She barely escaped the events in Trading in Danger and was considering severing ties with Vatta Transport until tragedy struck. An unknown enemy has declared war on Vatta Transportation, bombed their buildings and killed most of the family. But Ky has no time to grieve. The enemy is after her, too, and she has no idea what to do or, more importantly, who to trust. As she learns in this installment, Marque and Reprisal, even family members can be enemies. (I so wanted to use the phrase “traitor trader” there, but I spared you.)
Marque and Reprisal picks up right where Trading in Danger left off and those who were pleased with the first installment of VATTA’S WAR will likely be pleased with this one. Ky desperately needs some allies which gives Elizabeth Moon the opportunity to freshen up the story with several new characters: Stella Vatta, Ky’s sexy blonde cousin with the bad reputation who turns out to be smarter than most people would guess; Rafe, Stella’s ex-lover who has deep secrets of his own; Toby Vatta, a 14 year old cousin who’s now an orphan; Martin, Ky’s newly hired bodyguard; An entire fleet of interstellar mercenaries; Jim, a young stowaway; and a puppy.
Ky and the crew deal with a series of misfortunes which keeps the story moving quickly. As Ky learns that the real world doesn’t follow her ethical code, she’s just beginning to adapt, though she’s not quite sure where the line she doesn’t want to cross is or whether perhaps she’s already crossed it. There’s plenty of death and destruction in this story so far and it’s clear that Ky has a lot of fighting left to do, both physical and emotional, to recuperate from the mess she’s in, to get revenge on her family’s unknown enemies, and to rebuild Vatta Enterprises.
The greatest strength of this series is that it’s emotionally compelling, unpredictable, and often exciting (the climactic fight scene in Marque and Reprisal is awesome). There are some definite issues that will turn some readers off: a few long slightly technical sections where Ky and her crew are prepping the ship and getting armed, repetitive dialog as Ky goes over the plans or history with each new character, too frequent reminders that Ky is worried about her possible killer instinct, a lack of distinctive flavor for the different planets and ports we visit, a few plot devices that seem contrived (especially the little twist at the end of this book), and I suspect that Ky’s unwillingness to think about her dead family has more to do with Moon’s reluctance to write about it than Ky’s reluctance to think about it. But even so, I’m enjoying the story well enough to forgive these flaws.
I’m listening to the audio production narrated by Cynthia Holloway. As soon as I finished Marque and Reprisal I spent one of my precious Audible credits to download the third VATTA’S WAR novel, Engaging the Enemy. I’m really rooting for Kylara Vatta, but I’m kind of scared of her, too.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This would be my third 'reading' of the Vatta's War books. A feisty heroine, interesting characters, and a nicely developing story line. You probably have to read [listen] to all five books to get the most pleasure and, in truth, some of the later ones do seem a little contrived in the plot lines but are still enjoyable. This book, the second in the series, continues the development of the 'last' Vatta. Unfortunately the narration leaves a lot to be desired. The main problem seems to be the narrator's inability to recognise full stops, paragraphs, and even chapter, changes. Her voice remains the same throughout the reading with just minor adjustments for characters. The latter is fine but one has to really pick up on the fact that the story has moved to another location or facet. There is no change of emphasis to let the listener identify a sentence ending, etc., so you will not realise that from the narration. In truth, the story is so interesting that, whilst the narration detracts, it is not so bad as to make the book unlistenable. Compare the narration to the Honor Harrington books and the problems become obvious.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful