Storm lacks even teacup

Storm from the shadows by David Weber is a disappointing book. I’m a great fan of the series, and recommend the earlier titles highly to those who enjoy operatic sci-fi mixed with some CS Forrester.

This book, though, is meant to reorient the series from the war that’s been going on for the first ten books, onto a new battlefront where the old rival states are allies against an outside threat.  The problem is that this reorientation is accomplished through interminable staff meetings. There are literally dozens of characters, all talking through the tiny permutations of the end of the war, and the events which may spark a fresh one. Sometimes three groups will each jaw about the same thing, from their own perspective.

There’s no central character. There’s no single driving plot, and the three main subplots end on cliffhangers or are to be resolved in the next novel.

It just drones on and on and on. It has one good battle, then a fish-in-a-barrel ambush which utterly lacks tension.

Mission of Honour.  It’s always sad to get to a point where there’s a series you’ve loved and its lost you.  For me, Mission of Honor is that point.

It’s sad, because I really loved the early books in this series, but the space battles so far have been completely lacking in tension or adrenaline.  In the first one, the good guys use their superior weapons to toast the bad guys from far outside the effective range of the bad guys’ weapons.  In the second one, the villains ambush the heroes, and destroy them without a defensive shot being fired. Neither of these are particularly interesting ways to frame a battle. It’s ship combat without any actual combat, much as a mugger hitting someone over the head from behind isn’t much of a boxing match.  No cleverness, no tactics, just single decisive shots by whomever has the best technology, like some of the more boring and breakable space empire computer games.

Now, in terms of the setup for the second half of the series, sure, the first battle sparks a new war, and the second one cripples the defensive capability of the heroic side, which frames the resources they will have available in that war. It’s meant to parallel the U-boat war, I presume. As part of the arc, I do see their point.  They are, however, unnecessarily dull to read.  Actually, I listened to both in audiobook, where you can’t just skip over the pages and pages and pages of staff meetings and the many, many deaths of characters introduced specifically so you could feel the poignancy of watching them die.

So long. So slow. So tedious. So entirely unrelated to the sell text on the back. It’s a pity.  It was a great series, but it’s hit a point for me where I’m not going to read the next book unless some of the online reviewers I trust say “Well, it’s better now.”  It’s also convinced me to skip the new Safehold novel, because the series had many of the same problems for me.