Book Review: Dragon Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Book Reviews, Reading | Posted on 20-08-2012

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Dragon ShipDrag­on Ship by Sharon Lee
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller con­tin­ue to please with this lat­est install­ment in the Liaden Uni­verse series. Theo Wait­ley, now First Pilot on the sen­tient ship Bechi­mo, is in the process of decid­ing whether she’s going to bond with the ship per­ma­nent­ly as its Cap­tain. She and the Bechi­mo are being pur­sued, togeth­er and sep­a­rate­ly, by the Depart­ment of the Inte­ri­or. Despite that fact, she goes out to estab­lish a new trade route for Clan Kor­val, with for­mer Jun­tavas Boss Clarence O’Berin sit­ting as Co-pilot.

Theo’s for­mer lover Win Ton is con­fined in Bechi­mo’s restruc­tur­ing facil­i­ty, some­thing a step beyond the autodoc, where he is being rebuilt cell by cell after being tor­tured by the Depart­ment of the Inte­ri­or in its pur­suit of the Bechi­mo. There’s no guar­an­tee that Win Ton will sur­vive the process, or what shape he’ll be in when it is com­plet­ed.

They aren’t far into the route when they receive a dis­tress sig­nal from space sta­tion Codres­cu, in orbit around Eylot, the plan­et where Theo began train­ing as a Pilot. The polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion on Eylot has come to a head, and all Pilots there are in dan­ger. Codres­cu has put out an emer­gency call for help, so Theo takes Bechi­mo to the res­cue — despite the fact that she has good rea­son to nev­er want to see that sys­tem again.

Theo is a very young woman, but grow­ing by leaps and bounds. She makes any deci­sion that does­n’t rely on social intel­li­gence very well, guid­ed by good basic instincts and oth­er types of intel­li­gence. Her social skills still leave much to be desired, but she’s slow­ly improv­ing those and she knows she has a weak­ness in that area.

It is always a joy to read a Liaden nov­el, but watch­ing Theo grow up adds a new dimen­sion of plea­sure to the read­ing. While I’ve paused to read and re-read some of the chap­books in order to put off the time before I ran out of new mate­r­i­al, the time is here now. I’m back to the same old com­plaint: I want more, now! Please?

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Book Review: Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Book Reviews, Reading | Posted on 19-08-2012

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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

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Book Reviews, Reading | Posted on 18-08-2012

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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 naive 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

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Book Reviews, Reading | Posted on 17-08-2012

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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: Mouse and Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Book Reviews, Reading | Posted on 15-08-2012

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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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Liaden Reading: Great Migration Duology

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 01-05-2008

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I final­ly got a chance to read both vol­umes of the Great Migra­tion Duol­o­gy by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Crys­tal Sol­dier and Crys­tal Drag­on. Crystal Soldier

I read Crys­tal Sol­dier a few years ago, right after it came out. I’d for­got­ten some details, so I re-read it before start­ing Crys­tal Drag­on. CS was good, but CD was mar­velous. I can’t do it jus­tice, but if you’ve read any­thing set in the Liaden Uni­verse, you want to read these. If you haven’t, they’re a love­ly place to start. Despite the fact that I knew one thing had to hap­pen, I cried. There are very few books that get to me on that lev­el.Crystal Dragon

The whole series is sci­ence fic­tion with a nice touch of romance. They don’t get mushy, and this duol­o­gy in par­tic­u­lar is far from “soft,” but the rela­tion­ships feel right. There are some fan­ta­sy ele­ments that dis­al­low a “hard SF” label, but that’s fine. They nev­er claimed to be hard sci­ence fic­tion.

Now I hope to get hold of both vol­umes of the Liaden Uni­verse Com­pan­ion. I have all but the last two chap­books, so I think I have all the sto­ries, but it would be nice to have them all togeth­er.

Disappointed!

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 06-01-2008

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(I’m hear­ing Gary Old­man in The Fifth Ele­ment when I read the sub­ject there. Yes, I prob­a­bly could have found a sound clip and includ­ed it, but I’m count­ing on your imag­i­na­tions and mem­o­ries here.)

Well, I final­ly got around to read­ing the rest of Fledg­ling, the Liaden Uni­verse nov­el pub­lished by seri­al­ly by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller in 2007 using the sto­ry­teller’s bowl con­cept.1 Sam has record­ed the final chap­ters for pod­cast­ing and is edit­ing the record­ing this week.