This series is the first I’ve read from Elizabeth Moon, and admittedly it’s aimed at a Young Adult segment of which I’m no longer a part of. Still, I think it was a very entertaining and worthwhile read, perfect for those days when you feel you need something that isn’t too hard a chew.
The books hold a high quality throughout, with each book connecting to the other, even when the story doesn’t really come together until the very end, and I get the general impression that either she’s a meticulous writer, or has a good editor. Or perhaps both? ;-)
This contributes to the reading experience. Consistency is nor easy to achieve over a series as long as this – seven books, all in all. And despite the general lightness this is, in the end, no shallow bubblegum.
One of the hidden aspects of the series is that it manages to depict a broad variety of cultures having a common root on Old Earth, ie with us as we is today, yet show how utterly different all those cultures are. It is easy to overlook but it’s also a reminder that no, just because we’re Homo Sapiens, all of us, it doesn’t mean we’re identical twins.
And what would happen to society if our Cult of Youth Eternal got help from Medicine, with the advent of rejuvenation drugs?
Certainly, rejuv is not the only theme but the exploration of our preoccupation with youth and the hunt for youth eternal is the main thread, and the series offers a close up examination of the consequences that follow. When this is done in a series aimed at young people it’s even more interesting, and it’s in that perspective the very ending, the closing chapter, should be seen – that you can’t have it all and that loss needn’t be the end of the world.
What does bother me a bit is the military ethos permeating the books. At times it feels like covert marketing promoting a military lifestyle. Over all this is something I can look past, especially as I don’t think she’s making it look overly glamorous – people actually DO die, sometimes, and there are selfish villains in flag rank ;-)
I think this is a series worth the time it takes reading all seven books. Perhaps not revolutionary literature but well written, entertaining and food for thought none the less, if you stop for it. Highly recommended for palate-cleansing, for anyone reading in the science fiction genre.
The series consists of –
#1 Hunting Party
#2 Sporting Chance
#3 Winning Colours
#4 Once A Hero
#5 Rules of Engagement
#6 Change of Command
#7 Against the Odds
EDITED (a couple of days later) TO ADD – On a fast reread I found that I’ll have to retract a statement from this post, namely the one where I say Moon had a good editor for these books. The second book – Sporting Chance – has more editing errors than most books that I’ve read, and given the quality of some that is no mean feat. The Guerni Republic gets named Golan, and sometimes the two names show in consecutive paragraphs, referring to the same place, and it doesn’t stop there.
All in all, though, this doesn’t change my verdict on the series – as a whole it stands to scrutiny and that is what matters.