I admit to bias - I will pick up a David Weber book without glancing at the dust jacket to see what its about. Off Armageddon Reef does not disappoint. Set in a completely different universe from his other books, its a study from multiple political, scientific and religiuos viewpoints of the emergence of a medival/renaissance level society to industrial age sophistication, set against religous strictures forbidding the change - with good reason - but flawed execution. The characters are well drawn - even the bad guys aren't all bad.
As always with David Weber, you have to be willing to sit through detailed descriptions of how the technical stuff works. If you are the type that skips that part to get to the action, you may find yourself hitting fast forward occasionally. I found that listening to the descriptions was actually easier than reading them and ended up listening and Not skipping over the technical stuff.
Lirael takes too long to grow the character into adulthood. But its a necessary read betwewen Sabriel and Abhorsen. Listen and move on - Abhorssen is better - moves faster and all the plot lines started here resolve.
I really enjoyed the narrators voices - gives the book a tone resembling a play. This is also a good book. Well thought out plot, no obvious resolutions; yes, good triumphs over evil but not without death and destruction of some of my favorite people along the way. Without giving away the plot, the characters have a chance to grow up and do take that chance, but not without some backsliding along the way to make things interesting.
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