But while they continue to move forward with their diabolical plan, they have made two critical mistakes.Their first mistake was killing Kylara Vatta's family.Their second mistake was leaving her alive.
Now Kylara is going to make them pay. But with a "fleet" consisting of only three ships - including her flagship, the Vanguard, a souped-up merchant cruiser - Kylara needs allies, and fast. Because even though she possesses the same coveted communication technology as the enemy, she has nowhere near their numbers or firepower.
Meanwhile, as Kylara's cousin Stella tries to bring together the shattered pieces of the family trading empire, new treachery is unfolding at ISC headquarters, where undercover agent Rafael Dunbarger, estranged son of the corporation's CEO, is trying to learn why the damaged network is not being repaired. What he discovers will send shock waves across the galaxy and crashing into Kylara's newly christened Space Defense Force at the worst possible moment.
©2008 Elizabeth Moon; (P)2008 Tantor
"Strong female leads, terrific action and complications aplenty: should grab existing fans and win new converts." (Kirkus)
Kat at FanLit
Originally posted at FanLit.
Command Decision is the fourth installment in Elizabeth Moon’s VATTA’S WAR series. Things are starting to look up for Kylara Vatta, her cousin Stella, and their Aunt Grace. Ky, who has proven herself a skilled military commander and is gaining respect, still has to deal with a lot of bureaucratic silliness, but she sees more action in this book. Stella has (thankfully) rebounded from her pity party and is now the capable CEO of Vatta Enterprises. Young Toby turns out to be a genius with the on-board ansibles and is able to provide engineering skills. Grace has destroyed the corrupt Slotter Key government and put herself in a high-level position.
However, the pirates who destroyed the Vatta family are still a major threat to the entire universe — they’re knocking out ansibles and taking over planetary governments and nobody is doing anything about it. That’s because 1. There is no interstellar space navy to deal with the pirates and 2. ISC forbids planets to fix their own ansibles. Thus there is no communication between the different planetary systems, which means governments can’t get information about what’s happening on other planets and they can’t coordinate efforts to mount an effective defense.
Ky, realizing this problem, hopes to gather enough allies to destroy the pirates. They need to strategize and get themselves equipped with excellent weapons and communications systems, so in Command Decision expect the usual rounds of meetings, video conferences, equipment installations, etc. There are also a few exciting military engagements. Elizabeth Moon adds some levity by bringing Ky a rich flamboyant ship captain who’s living out his romantic dream of being a space hero even to the point of dressing and speaking the part. Kudos to Moon for not taking this subplot in the direction I thought she was going to take it.
Rafe, whose father is the head of ISC, is also worried about the broken ansibles. Why hasn’t ISC repaired them yet? And why hasn’t he heard from his family? When he goes to his home planet to find out what’s going on, he gets a really nasty surprise. This storyline is prominent in this book and most readers will appreciate getting to know Rafe better.
Command Decision delivers what I was expecting from this series. On the positive side that’s strong heroines, likeable secondary characters, unpredictable plot, ethical dilemmas and big things (the universe) at stake. Weaknesses are some contrived plot elements, weak world-building, and repetitive narrative and dialog. For example, it is common for us to witness a series of events and then to hear one of the characters tell the events to another character and possibly even a third character. (One time this came in handy when I realized my mind was wandering and I had missed something, but before I could rewind the audiobook one of the characters called another and recapped the events I missed.) Taking out this repetition could have made the series a book shorter and, therefore, better.
At the end of Command Decision we see things winding up for what I hope will be a spectacular finish. I’m moving on to the final episode, Victory Conditions, and expect to be entertained.
Okay, the plot elements I hated have become more numerous and prominent. The need to follow Stella’s former love to the world that serves as the heart of Interstellar Communications Corporation in order to discover the truth behind the conspiracy and the fate of his family is drawn out in an attempt to make him more respectable. The plotting of Aunt Grace Vatta on Slotter Key makes for an odd detour at times. But ultimately, the book delivers on its promise of a destiny realized as the Space Defense Force gets a name, a mission and ultimately a mandate.
Somewhat tempering this success however is the ultimate realization that combat in this universe and at this author’s hands will not be the intricate ballet of hard military scifi goodness that might have been possible given the restrictions that prevailed at the beginning. Like Honor Harrington, Ky Vatta soon gets her hands on FTL communications and with short range FTL jumping gets to real-time information gathering without the ponderous, and more steadily paced, technological development of David Weber’s heroine.
So there will be no dazzling tactical sweeps such as those that occupied the adventures of The Lost Fleet. Instead we get snapshots of destruction and drama that satisfy but do not engage.
This is the fourth volume in the five volume Vatta's War series, and if you've gotten this far, you already know that the narrator is frankly awful, and there's way too much angst and navel gazing in the story, and too little actual war. This book _is_ better on the level of action, with the ISC / Raef story line actually making some sense. Though, again, too much (stupid) discourse and too little actual action for this genre. Don't get me wrong, I actually like to follow the inner thoughts of our protagonists in a story, but these people can't seem to every do the right thing for the right reasons, and seem to be way more than normally obtuse about the people they interact with.
Overall, if you've decided to stick it out and finish the series, I can understand. I'm doing it. But only because I've already bought the 5 books.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I must say I have become hooked on this series. Moon has this book broke up into section on Ky Vatta, Rafe and Aunt Grace and only a small amount about Stella. This one has more to do with Rafe than any other books in the series so far. Rafe went off to find out about his family and found they had been kidnapped. He rescues them and takes over as CEO of the communications company. Ky is still trying to get her fleet together. She did have some battle action. Book has suspense, action and humor as well as strong female characters. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
I have been enjoying Vatta's War. The characters are compelling and interesting with black, white and shades of gray. The story moves along well with also enough detail to give an idea of what life on a space freighter might well be. Just as with Moon's other books I've listened to, The Paks series, there is wonderful detail of day to day life that takes into account the little things in life. Some might find this tedious but I find it intriguing, giving fullness not only to the characters but the setting.
I have read reviews that mention the narrator and how grating her voice is. I personally don't find her voice that bad. Some of the voices she uses are more irritating than others but in general her voice is pleasant enough. The thing that is really getting to me is not entirely her fault. The editor or director (or what ever staff is responsible for that on a production like this) should be catching all of her mispronounced words. Query she pronounces to rhyme with worry as opposed to queer - ry. That word is used over and over again and it became quite annoying. Then there was "rev - a - lent." I wish I could have kept a log of all the mispronounced words but I'm driving when I listen and I just can't keep track. It starts to become comical and mars the overall experience of the book. Would I suggest one not to listen to these recordings? No. But I would suggest better direction for this actor in the future to correct this problem.
The series started slowly for me. I had to force myself to keep on through
the first part of Book 1. With book 3 and now this one, I find myself engrossed in the characters and the crafty plot which brings them together. I rated this book a 5 because it is an engrossing SF read with plenty of action. The space battles are marvelous faire. I am as engaged with Kyara Vatta as I was with Paksenarrion in Moon's first series The Deed Of Paksenarrion. What's better, other characters, like Raf, Stella, AuntGrace et al. are equally engrossing. This said, maybe the book is just too good to be real...none of the good main characters have been taken out (yet anyway), as one would find in George R.r. Martin's books, for example. But I really don't mind. There is a place for the good guys to win..and to keep on winning after taking some lumps. Moon's military background is especially useful in making the series plot realistic. There really is such a thing as the "fog" of war. The bonus in this book? The character Ransom, a rich and glorybound young man every bit as swashbuckling as Errol Flynn might have been. Ransom is not comic relief, but he does illustrate Kai's ability to weave an effective fighting force from "found" material. Only one notable flaw, and that maybe by design. Moon's universe is peopled only by humans, as different as they might be, but humans nonetheless. I find myself reading this book at lunch hour and every break I can find. Now, to me, that's a 5 by my most important measure...engagement with the book. .
The fourth book was fantastic and met all of our expectations. However, the narrator appears unacquainted with science fiction or military vocabulary. The most glaring and distracting was the pronunciation of "ensign" as "en-sign". What the hell is an en-sign? I don't blame the narrator, it is the editors job to review and EDIT!
We look forward to the fifth book.
This book had good surprises and a strong charter development with action, Sabatage and back stabing
When They attacked the Vatta Family the Pirates made a mistake. They left the 3 most Dangerous members Alive. As the Ladies of Vatta and their allies rally. The Plot grows Bigger. The Story still Moves at a rapid pace and The Narrator still uses the Inflection change for the characters. If you followed the story from the beginning it still what you've come to expect. and it's worth waiting for the Final volumes(?)
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