The third installment of Tanya Huff’s Valor series chronicles Sergeant Torin Kerr’s exploits on a "training planet" - a simulated world created to provide instruction for new recruits. Nevertheless, when a group of robotic drones start behaving aggressively, Kerr finds herself confronting a very real danger which threatens the stability of the interplanetary confederation. Dexterous character actress Marguerite Gavin adds vitality and uniqueness to Huff’s captivating network of relationships between humans, aliens and drones. The Audie Award-nominated performer breathes relentless urgency into Huff’s quick-clipped dialogue and riveting action sequences.
So, of course, she'd jumped at the chance to go to Crucible---the Marine Corps training planet---as a temporary aide to Major Svensson. The major had been reduced to little more than a brain and a spinal cord in his last combat, and he and his doctor were anxious to field-test his newly regrown body. It should have been an easy 20-day run. After all, Crucible was only set up to simulate battle situations so that recruits could be trained safely. But they were barely on-planet when someone started blasting the training scenarios to smithereens. Suddenly, Kerr found herself not only responsible for the major and his doctor but caught in a desperate fight to keep a platoon of Marine recruits alive until someone could discover what was happening on Crucible.
©2008 Tanya Huff; (P)2009 Tantor
And fun. A few authors, like Heinlein, are able to create characters and tell stories that pull you in. You feel like you are part of another reality. Stories like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, or the more recent Old Man's War by John Scalzi are all examples. You find yourself caring about the characters AND the world in which they live. Tanya Huff is another such author. Like Heinlein's Starship Troopers, it is about warfare in faraway places but it doesn't glorify war. I happened on a paperback with Huff's first two books in this series, and was delighted to find the whole series on audio. Good stories, good narrator, a lot of action. They could really be listened to in any order, but I recommend starting at the beginning, Valor's Choice, to avoid the spoilers.
What I really like about Huff's military Sci Fi is that at heart, it is all about the characters. Heroine Torrin Kerr can be tough as nails and yet still be interesting, likeable, and not a cipher. I look forward to each book and seeing what the characters will do and how they will react. Especially, the sly humor and observations by Kerr herself.
Story: Torrin is assisting recruits on a training planet - a way to keep her safely away from the glare of the press after the events of the last novel. But then, the company finds they are being fired upon with real and very deadly ammo. As the body count starts racking up, Kerr is going to have to find a way to save her raw recruits from complete annihilation.
While each book has a story arc, there is an overall series arc that continues to be defined with each new novel. By this third book, it is becoming obvious that the unusual situations in which Kerr finds herself are all related to the mysterious alien ship. But as always, she will have to use her wits, guts, and force of will in order to save as many lives as possible.
I've been listening to the Audible version of these books and greatly enjoyed the narration. What originally felt a bit flat in the first book I now recognize as Kerr's dry wit. And the narrator is so wonderfully dead on with the aliens like Prezit and civilians such as Craig, I hope she will always narrate this series.
Every book in the series is an immediate preorder - I'm up to date on five volumes so far and have enjoyed each one. Even when Kerr eventually gets out of the military, the story is just as good.
But I have a 'nit' on pronunciation: a toque (two'k) is winter headgear, and has nothing to do with smoking pot (toke). It comes up often enough in this story be a bit annoying unless you expect/overlook it.
I have always enjoyed military fiction, and sci-fi, this is a great mix of both, Torin is a great non-com and in her head at least a wonderful smart-ass. As a women I am used to military fiction being mostly about men, nice to have a female lead character. I like the way the Corp learned to incorporate different species and sexes. A great read in the middle of a great series
Ranks right about in the middle of the sci-fi pack. Which given how far down some authors have gone, is not bad. Good listen.
I like books that develop characters through a series of books. This one is not one you have to have read the previous books to jump right into. She gives you the pertinent parts of the previous books but still leaves you wanting to read the previous books. Each of them can stand alone. This one is no different.
Tone and inflection are used to differentiate between alien species in the book quite well so you can almost see them through the audio. She does a good job of conveying emotion as well.
I take long drives. I like a book that makes me loath to remove the earbuds. This was no exception.
As the plot develops, you can hear the suspicions of the situation develop in the Gunney's mind. They develop along with you and in some cases the both of you are right. and in others you are wrong. Being able to hear ahead of the plot does not impair the book and hearing your own sarcasm reflected in the voice of the characters is quite enjoyable. If you don't like sarcasm, avoid it but if sarcasm is a while vocabulary for you, you'll love this book. She hits the sarcasm of the military right on the head.
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