There is a time for grief and a time for revenge. This is decidedly the latter. Placing her cousin Stella in command of the trading vessel Gary Tobai, Ky embarks aboard the captured pirate ship Fair Kaleen on a twofold mission: to salvage the family business and to punish those responsible for the killings...before they strike again. Since the network providing instantaneous communication between star systems has been sabotaged, news is hard to come by and available information impossible to trust. But as she travels from system to system, with Stella a step behind, Ky pieces together the clues and discovers a conspiracy of terrifying scope, breathtaking audacity, and utter ruthlessness.
The only hope the independent systems and merchants have against this powerful enemy is to band together. Unfortunately, because she commands a ship known to belong to a notorious pirate - her own relative Osman Vatta, whom she killed for his part in her parents' deaths - Ky is met with suspicion, if not outright hostility. Rumors swirl about her intent and even her very identity. Soon, even Stella begins to question her cousin's decisions and her authority to make them.
Meanwhile, the conspiracy Ky hunts is hunting her in turn, with agents insinuated into every space station, every planetary government, every arm of the military, and every merchant house - including her own. Before she can take the fight to the enemy, Kylara must survive a deadly minefield of deception and betrayal.
©2008 Elizabeth Moon; (P)2008 Tantor
The Vatta's War quintet continues with volume three in the series. The reader, Cynthia Holloway is never a pleasure to listen to, and the reading is less than inspired. But the real problem is that this space opera just hasn't stood the test of time as well as one might have hoped. It's not _bad_, just not as good as it could be. WAY too much angst and anguish and just plain stupidity, and too little decisiveness from the main characters. The one good story arc, that of Grace and Mac Roberts, is too peripheral to carry the weakness of Stella and even Ky. Overall, I'll finish the books, since I bought them. But I can't imagine re-reading them, ever.
I really enjoy Elizabeth Moon's books but the narrator makes it very difficult to appreciate this one. The narration is flat, poorly paced, and the little variation in tone that exists makes every character (as well as the rest of the text) sound arrogant, angry, or snide. I hope that I can get past the narration to finish the book. This is one of the few audiobooks that I regret having bought.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I enjoyed the first two books in this series and I thought this book would be the battles but that only happened at the end of the book. The book goes back and forth between Kylara, Sara and Grace. Lots of suspense, legal trial, Ky had to prove she is Ky and the communication to her home planet is still out. Some one is trying to Kill Grace. This book sets up for the next book that looks like it will have the battles. The narrator is poor.
I have downloaded approx 130 audible books, I have seldom felt compelled to write a review. However, this narrator is so hard to listen to, this is the first book I cannot get past 1/2 hour. Just the way every word is given the same inflection, the 'he said', 'she said' becomes irritating. If audible gave refunds this would be my first request. Sorry if this is overly harsh, but it is.. that bad.
While I enjoyed part one and two in the series, in this book I was extremely annoyed with the repeating description of Stella's stubborness and her hurt feelings. Instead of creating a more intense listening experience, the author got me more and more annoyed and I fast forwarded the rest of the book.
I am not sure if I will read the other books, for now I am a bit tired of this. Pity. It felt to me as if the author was pushed to do this, it doesn't fit the book.
Of all the many books I have listened too over the years (I started listening when they were just on tape), Cynthia, for this book, has the worst voice I have ever endured. She sounds like she is trying to portray a hard military female (very cliped, flat and emotionless). She has no noticeable voice change between characters. I agree with the one reviewer who said the series is now ruined for her. I need to start checking the reviews before I buy. I would try to return the book it it was allowed. Wonder if she was approved by the author?
I would give this audible book a 5 star if not for the narrator. I've read up to book 4 of this series on paperback and now after listening to this narrator I can't bring myself to read the rest of the series due to me hearing the narrator voice in my head whenever I read the series. Be worn if you have read this book and want an audible copy, don't buy it or ruins your enjoyment of the series too.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
“I do not intend survival. I intend victory.”
Engaging the Enemy is the third book in Elizabeth Moon’s VATTA’S WAR saga. Young captain Kylara Vatta, her beautiful cousin Stella Vatta, and their elderly Aunt Grace continue their quest for revenge on the people who destroyed the Vatta shipping empire and most of the Vatta family. They are just beginning to realize the extent of the vast conspiracy which brought the Vattas down — it involves space pirates, a disgruntled renegade cousin, a traitorous ship captain, and the government of their home planet, Slotter Key.
While Ky and Stella are out in space dodging assassination attempts and looking for allies, they have to deal with mercenaries, ship captains from different cultures, and more than one planet’s ridiculous system of government. Finally Moon begins to show us the cultural distinctions between the different planets we visit. Some of this is pretty amusing and reminds me a little of Jack Vance’s ability to highlight silly human behaviors by emphasizing a particular inane behavior in one of his created cultures. Elizabeth Moon does something similar here. Mostly she’s making fun of bureaucracy and it adds a nice bit of levity to her story.
Ky is getting stronger and growing into her role as the commander of an interplanetary military force. She’s still worried about her discovery that she enjoys killing bad guys and we, along with her cousin Stella, are starting to worry a little, too. There are some moral dilemmas for Ky — on more than one occasion she has to decide whether it’s ethical to kill or torture one person for the greater good. Ky doesn’t think about this for very long before making her decisions — does that make her morally inferior or superior?
Aunt Gracie is probably Elizabeth Moon’s best character in this series. Because the enemies have brought down the ansibles that allow for interplanetary communications, she’s out of touch with Ky and Stella. Here we see her scheming in the background, targeting the president of Slotter Key. Her story takes less space than Ky’s but it’s always exciting. Elderly Aunt Grace may not be involved in space battles, but she kicks butt nonetheless.
Stella, on the other hand, is weak in this installment. She has so much potential to be a great strong character, but so far Moon doesn’t seem to be sure what Stella’s purpose is. In the previous books she seemed to be a hero in her own right, but this time Moon seems to be using her to make Ky look better in contrast. Too bad. Why can’t Stella be awesome, too? I hope she’ll be back on track in the next book.
Most of the plot of Engaging the Enemy focuses on Ky meeting and strategizing with potential allies, equipping her ships, hiring crew, worrying about her relationship to her home planet, and trying to decide what her role is in the struggle for revenge. Too much of this is tedious and repetitive. I’ve mentioned in a review of an earlier book in this series that I enjoy the focus on trading and transportation logistics, so I feel a little forgiving about this, but many readers will think it’s just plain boring. There’s not much action from Ky’s storyline until the very end of the book when there’s a trial, a surprising revelation about the Vatta family, and a major military engagement.
Despite the deceptive title of the book, there isn’t a lot of action in Engaging the Enemy. However, the story advances and there are welcome revelations and some good character development. I’m rating Engaging the Enemy a little lower than the previous installments just because there’s less action, some of the plot elements feel like they’re there just to add drama, and there’s too much boring red tape. Still, somehow Elizabeth Moon keeps me reading and there’s no way I’m giving up on the Vatta family now. Go Vatta!
Another Elizabeth Moon page turner. It has elements of identity theft, bureaucratic wrangling mixed with cultural differences, inept leadership, family relationships, ever present pirates and space combat. That humans haven't changed in the time it took to develop interstellar travel is a testament to the author's imagination. In the end, our heroine, Ky Vada, lives to see another adventure in the next book.
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