Unexpectedly pulled from battle, Torin finds herself in an underground POW camp that shouldn't exist, where her fellow marine prisoners seem to have lost all will to escape. Now Torin must fight her way not only out of the prison but also past the growing compulsion to sit down and give up---not realizing that her escape could mean the end of the war.
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©2008 Tanya Huff; (P)2009 Tantor
"As a heroine, Kerr shines. She is cut from the same mold as Ellen Ripley of the Alien films.... Like her heroine, Huff delivers the goods." (Science Fiction Weekly)
It seems like "a strong female lead" is something that most writers are trying to give their audience these days, and yet, so many of them just manage to provide irritating, not-thinking, "even if it makes more sense to have the male lead to do this task, I'm going to do it, because I'm female and RAWR," Marysues. Huff delivers an ACTUAL strong female lead.
Kerr is a Marine. No two ways about it, in this character we enter the mind and spirit of what it means to be a Marine. Maybe my high school experience with Marine JROTC makes me appreciate this series more than I would otherwise, but every time I put down one of these books, I always feel like shouting "Oorah!" If you want to know why it is men and women don the uniform and serve, read this series.
Obviously, I love the main character. But there are other characters in this series who are equally great. If you like character-driven books, read this series.
But what about the plot, you say? It's a fast book, and the action scenes are in-your-face and might jump out at any moment - just like in a real battle. So, saying that, sometimes the transitions are a bit muddled and it's hard to follow when "down time" and "action time" changed. That's about the *only* thing that I can say is wrong with the plot. Otherwise, it's everything one could ask for in a sci-mil story.
My only regret about reading this series? Is that it's coming so close to the end. This is one that's going to be hard to replace.
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.
I have really enjoyed all of the Valor books. This fourth book is just as good as the previous - proving that everyone is expendable, Torin is always going to get the short end of the stick, and never count the Gunnery Sergeant as dead until you see her body. The conclusion of this novel closes the story arc that began with the second novel dealing with the plastic alien life form. Fortunately, it is not the last book in the series.
Story: Torin is fighting a battle with her squad when her company is bombed. When she wakes up, she is in an underground prison alone. As she explores the caverns, she will find a complex group of tunnels in which prisoners from both sides of the war are kept. Some of those prisoners will rise above the situation, some will fall horribly, but all soon realize that there is simply no way out. That is, until Kerr decides to fight back and Craig Ryder (with Presit's help) refuses to believe she's dead and goes after her.
There were a lot of interesting and complex dynamics going on in this book. All of the book pretty much takes place underground without weapons or regular supplies. Torrin first has to figure out her situation then she will have to overthrow mini dictatorships and save ally and enemy alike before they all destroy each other. There were quite a few twists and turns and I never knew where the story would go at any time. Of course, at the same time Kerr is trying to figure out her prison, Ryder is trying to figure out if she's dead - not accepting that the flattened area she had been fighting in had no biological residue. Having Craig try to reach her added a great dimension to the story since he brought along Presit - and any book with Presit is going to have that wonderful humor and banter.
This is going to be one of my favorite series. I have listened to all book on Audible and although I thought the narrator was a bit stiff in the beginning, I really warmed up to her narration by this book.
Really enjoyed the entire series. There was enough tragedy vs accomplishments to keep you involved. Quite a bit of sadness, that is if you invest in the characters, which I do. It makes the story come to life for me. More SIFY than fantasy.
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Probably better than two stars. The performance was good. I just couldn't stay focused on the story. I guess it just wasn't for me.
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