Review: Against the Odds, by Elizabeth Moon

Unexpectedly the last of Elizabeth Moon‘s Serrano Legacy/Familias Regnant books, Against the Odds, left me feeling… sad.

As with most series with a planned-for ending (at least I guess it was; it feels that way when, in this concluding book, most threads come together) the last part made for an exhilarating ride, making me read read read on. Not that there were any real surprises, as what happen is well founded in the previous parts of the story… even if you, back then, didn’t think this was important beyond general world-building, or could ever guess that this or that character would reoccur three or four books later. But the pace was up, things kept happening, one thing leading to the other… and suddenly it was 1 AM on a workday and sleep was to get shorted once more.

The backside is we don’t really see very much of any character – rather snippets, building on what have previously occurred. This isn’t to automatically say character development is zero. Some of the characters makes remarkable journeys towards maturity and identity, culminating here, and others gets added depth, a dark angle that suddenly change not only their lives… but there’s no real close contact, no delving on a single set of characters, the way I have grown used to from previous instalments.

For most characters the ending must be viewed as a good old “lived happily ever after” ending, what ever constituted “ever after” for that particular character. But for some the ending is more ambivalent, and for others… well, I did say I felt sad, didn’t I? Had I read such an ending as the concluding chapter 20 years ago I might had thought it pompous. Today, when all too many people that I have known are dead and gone, it speaks to my own need to name absent friends for which to raise a salute.
Which makes me sad.

But what ever could be said about this particular book it’s a worthy ending to a series that’s ideal as in-between palate-cleansing reading, without being brainless.


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