Book Review: Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Ghost Ship (Liaden Universe, #14, Theo Waitley, #3)Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee

My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Theo Wait­ley has met her father’s Clan and been Seen by the Delm of Kor­val now, at the end of both I Dare and Salta­tion. She does not, how­ever, con­sider her­self of Kor­val — she is a Wait­ley, as is rea­son­able for a young woman raised in a matri­lin­eal cul­ture. She did, how­ever, take two issues to the Delm for solv­ing, and one has been resolved: she has been reunited with her miss­ing father.

How­ever, she also car­ries the Captain’s key to the sen­tient ship Bechimo, and that ship is look­ing for her. The Delm chose to put that issue aside, trust­ing that it would solve itself, given enough time. How much time, though, and in what manner?

In the mean­time, she acts as courier for Uncle, one obvi­ously known to the Clan and not as an ally — although not nec­es­sar­ily as an enemy, either. As his courier, she flies his ship, Arin’s Toss, which is hunted by his ene­mies, includ­ing the Depart­ment of the Interior.

Theo acquits her­self as well as any child of Kor­val could in meet­ing her chal­lenges. She con­tin­ues to expe­ri­ence more than the usual num­ber of them, though, because of her Ter­ran rear­ing and Liaden appear­ance. It seems to me that a father as duti­ful as Jen Sar Kiladi (or Daav yos’Phellium) would have given her more prepa­ra­tion to encounter Liaden society.

Ghost Ship cer­tainly isn’t lim­ited to Theo’s story. We rejoin Val Con and preg­nant Miri as they move to Sure­bleak, and check in with Daav as he set­tles in to being Daav again after his long sojourn as Kiladi. There are also appear­ances by Pat Rin, Natesa, Quin, Padi, Shan, and other fam­ily mem­bers. Def­i­nitely an ensem­ble cast this time out, and just as absorb­ing as fans have come to expect.

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Book Review: Saltation by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

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Saltation (Theo Waitley, #2) (Liaden Universe, #13)Salta­tion (Theo Wait­ley, #2) by Sharon Lee

My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Salta­tion (Theo Wait­ley, #2) is good enough that I fin­ished Fledg­ling (Theo Wait­ley, #1), then read it in one sit­ting. It sim­ply has the sort of momen­tum that doesn’t allow for good stop­ping points — some­thing that is true of many of the Liaden Uni­verse novels.

At the end of Fledg­ling, Theo was spon­sored into pilot school by Scout Cho sig’Radia. Salta­tion begins with her time there, just as polit­i­cally naïve as ever, but a much more con­fi­dent per­son than she was at the begin­ning of Fledg­ling. Many of the char­ac­ters from Fledg­ling reap­pear, includ­ing Win Ton, Kamele, and Jen Sar. There are new char­ac­ters too, though, such as Kara ven’Arith and Orn Ald yos’Senchul (who, by the way, also appear in a free story, Landed Alien, that has just been released at the Baen web site and should be read after Saltation).

Theo is a legal adult now, but a very young one, and she has plenty of grow­ing up left to do. That said, this is a young ADULT novel, not a children’s book — while it isn’t dis­cussed specif­i­cally, Theo does take a lover.

She con­tin­ues to flex and stretch into an admirable hero­ine. She isn’t per­fect, by any means, being some­times short-​​tempered and not under­stand­ing social cues eas­ily. She’s some­one read­ers can relate to, though, and that is impor­tant. We were brought up con­cur­rent with the end of I Dare, which was vastly sat­is­fy­ing. I will go right on with read­ing Ghost Ship, because I def­i­nitely want to know more!

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Review: Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

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Fledgling (Theo Waitley, #1) (Liaden Universe, #12)Fledg­ling (Theo Wait­ley, #1) by Sharon Lee

My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

I half-​​listened to part of this book as Sam Chupp pod­cast it, chap­ter by chap­ter. For some rea­son, it just didn’t catch my fancy back then. I think I didn’t let it catch my fancy, because of know­ing that I would have to wait for each chap­ter to be released. Now, though, hav­ing it all fin­ished and edited, it’s clearly a pol­ished Lee and Miller novel of the Liaden Uni­verse, and I love those.

It’s also some­thing of a young adult novel, but don’t let that put you off. Theo is an inter­est­ing char­ac­ter who begins grow­ing up in Fledg­ling (Theo Wait­ley, #1). She’s 14, and she has never been off Del­gado, a Safe World. Her own world is made up entirely of the Uni­ver­sity and acad­e­mia, with both par­ents being pro­fes­sors. The fact that her par­ents live out­side the Wall, in a house rather than in Uni­ver­sity hous­ing, is unusual.

As the book opens she has to deal with major life changes. For the sake of her career, her mother, Kamele, has cho­sen to leave her father’s house and move back to the Uni­ver­sity with Theo. Del­gado is a matri­ar­chal soci­ety, and Theo is expected to stop acknowl­edg­ing her father as any­one but Pro­fes­sor Jen Sar Kiladi.

To make mat­ters worse, Theo is con­sid­ered “phys­i­cally chal­lenged,” with too-​​fast reflexes that cause fre­quent acci­dents. The Uni­ver­sity wants Kamele to agree to drug Theo “for her own good,” but the sup­pos­edly safe drugs have unac­cept­able and per­ma­nent cog­ni­tive effects. (Those famil­iar with the Liaden Uni­verse nov­els will rec­og­nize Theo’s “prob­lems” as com­ing of grow­ing into pilot reflexes.) Kamele’s career sit­u­a­tion has polit­i­cal ram­i­fi­ca­tions that blow back onto poor Theo as well, which the girl doesn’t need.

Theo deals with all of the above and more in believ­able and admirable ways. She stretches and shows her­self to be grow­ing into a remark­able young lady, fit to be the sub­ject of a Liaden Uni­verse novel. I’m glad I have Salta­tion (Theo Wait­ley, #2) on hand, because I look for­ward to see­ing more of who she grows up to be.

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Book Review: Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong

Thirteen (Women of the Otherworld, #13)Thir­teen by Kel­ley Arm­strong

My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Well, Arm­strong def­i­nitely closed the series with a bang. I enjoyed this vol­ume so much that I’m tempted to go back and re-​​read the entire series just to have more right now.

All the char­ac­ters we’ve got­ten to know are back: Clay, Elena, Jaime and Jeremy, Hope and Karl, Paige and Lucas, Eve and Kristof, Adam, Sean, Bryce, and Beni­cio. Savan­nah, how­ever, is the cen­ter of this novel while the oth­ers weave in and out of the action.

Savan­nah Levine was a child when she was intro­duced in one of the ear­li­est books of the series, Stolen. She is def­i­nitely a full adult now, capa­ble of hold­ing her own with or with­out spells. She is also an incred­i­ble nexus of influ­ence — and those who want to use or influ­ence her just don’t take “no” for an answer no mat­ter how force­fully she says it.

The Super­nat­ural Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment (SLM) wants to use Savan­nah in their quest to bring super­nat­u­rals into the open, but she isn’t inter­ested. She’s been fight­ing their agents since Wak­ing the Witch, but some of the plots their pri­mary mem­bers are asso­ci­ated in go all the way back to Stolen. These are the peo­ple who killed Eve, so why would Savan­nah help them?

Arm­strong has done a mas­ter­ful job of weav­ing lit­tle threads together from all the dif­fer­ent books so that they wind up in one neat pack­age. I was enthralled from the first word through the last, but sat­is­fied with where she left the char­ac­ters. I look for­ward to read­ing any new sto­ries she chooses to tell in the Oth­er­world, but I can see that this round is fin­ished. Kudos to her for a job well done.

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Book Review: Mouse and Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

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Mouse and DragonMouse and Dragon by Sharon Lee

My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

I’m so pleased that Lee and Miller decided to give us the story of Daav and Ael­liana after Pilots Choice. (Ear­lier they had claimed that there was noth­ing to tell there.)

The story is a lovely one, def­i­nitely roman­tic, told almost entirely from Aelliana’s point of view. Those who have read the other Liaden nov­els know how it will end, but the details are well worth read­ing. It fills in some details that are help­ful to know lead­ing up to Fledg­ling (Theo Wait­ley, #1).

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