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I recently reviewed the latest entry into this series, and I blasted it pretty hard. Then, when my anger cooled, I wished that I could edit my review a bit, but Audible does not offer us a way to do that. So this review is, in part, my apology to Mr. Weber.
“On Basilisk Station” is the first book in a very large series. The series has given me a great deal of pleasure over the years. The main character in this series is Honor Harrington. Please note that her initials are HH. Weber has said that his inspiration for this series is the Horatio Hornblower series. (I recommend that series as well. Thanks to Audible for finally getting it. The Hornblower series was also the inspiration for the original Star Trek TV series, according to Gene Roddenberry.)
In this book we see Honor Harrington as a young(ish) star ship captain. Her country is small, consisting of the people of three planets all in the same star system. They are being threatened by a very large and corrupt star nation consisting of many star systems. Many of the events--at least in the early part of the series--parallel broad events in the conflict between England and France in the early 1800s. (Napoleonic wars) The Hornblower series was about English sailing ships helping their country to fend off Napoleon. This series is about Manticoran star ships protecting their country.
I hope what I have said so far doesn’t make Weber sound like a cheap hack copying a better writer. Hornblower was the “inspiration” for Honor, but the plots, characters and story arcs are all Weber’s.
We have various levels of peril in these tales - peril to Honor’s family and career, to her life and the lives of those she commands, and very real peril to her country. We have a large company of characters; people (on both sides of the conflict) that are honorable and whom we grow to love, as well as people (on both sides of the conflict) who are venal, evil. Many writers become so fond of their characters that they can never kill off the good guys. Weber does--on a regular basis. It takes some getting used to.
AND Weber writes amazingly good action scenes.
There are now more than 20 books in this series, I think (the main series has 13 books, but there are also a couple of spinoff series and at least five anthologies of short stories in the Honorverse). Many people say that the first three books in the series are the best. I would agree that the first three are among the best, but I do have some favorites that occur later in the series. There are also five or six compilations of short stories in this series. I have reviewed a number of them. Many of them provide tidbits of information that will help you understand events in the next full-length novel. There is no question, however, that later books in the series are too wordy and have too few action scenes.
So here is the bottom line: I recommend this series. It is one of my favorites. But each person will have to decide whether they will read the next book in the series. My son stopped reading them at about book 9 or 10. I quit once, then started again, and I think I may have quit completely now. But don’t let poor books late in the series stop you from starting the series. You would miss out on some great stuff.
46 of 49 people found this review helpful
I've been a fan of David Weber's Honor Harrington series for years. It's great to finally have unabridged audio versions of them. My only caveat is that the narrator is difficult to understand at times. Her voice is a good choice for Honor, but her interpretation is very different than my own has been (in my head) during my many re-readings of this book.
22 of 24 people found this review helpful
If you're a scifi fan and haven't read any of the Honor Harrington novels then give this a try. The heroine is a captain in the Manticoran Space Navy and this book follows her adventures with a new ship and a difficult posting. It has politics, combat and intrigue along with a broad range of characters from Admirals and Ships Captains to Missile Technician Horace Harkness and Ensign Scotty Tremaine.
The author David Weber has freely admitted his admiration for the Hornblower novels of CS Forester and his own books are similar in many ways. The long range space combats bear an obvious resemblance to the maeuvering and broadside duels of Nelson's day and there is plenty of character driven narrative as characters ponder on duty, personal difficulties and honour. Most of all they are entertaining dramas with life aboard ship set against both a local/tactical situation and a galactic strategic/political situation. Even more impressive is that the quasi-science behind ships and weapons takes a backseat to the story and action. It exists without dominating the novel.
For fans of the series do not despair. This is a good production of the book. The reader does an admirable job of conveying different characters so that one knows who is who without a flurry of different distracting accents. She even manages Nimitz's occasional 'bleeks' without descending into farce. Once or twice her pronunciation differs from that I have always used in my head but not so much that it detracted from the story. In many ways the best compliment that I can pay an actor reading one of my favourite books is that I enjoyed it as much as when I read the book myself.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
I have read all the HH books both as paperbacks and e-books. I tend to re-read when a new book appears so have read the early ones several times. This time I decided to try an audio book. It was a good choice. I think this is the most enjoyable of ways to 'read'. The early HH books are far, far, better than the later ones which tend to get tied up in explanation of political shenanigans here and there. HH's progress is logical and well deserved and the situations believable. Of course Weber owes much to Hornblower and Napoleonic history but isnt that the sign of a competent author that he can relate both to a futuristic situation. HH is a believable heroine. The reading is pleasant, the female voice relaxing, and the characterisation of various voices is well done without being too much. All in all, a very enjoyable experience - one that makes me want to listen to the whole series but with some reservations about the later ones.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I listened to this audio book having read the paper book multiple times. The pronunciations in this book were distracting. Frequently voice tones were off. A young ensign with a gravelly baritone that sound like an old man.
A good, enjoyable sci-fi adventure. The space battles and setting were enthralling and it was easy to visualise the technology described. Weber clearly tries to envision a future where race and sex are no barriers to progress, and he mostly succeeds.
The two odd things I noted was having a colonial sub plot but not having a pov character of the native, pre space flight alien people. The other is having an amazing, tough female protagonist, but have her suffer from low self esteem, which is frankly just boring