I recently reviewed the latest entry into this series, and I blasted it pretty hard. Then, when my anger cooled, I wished that I could edit my review..Show More » a bit, but Audible does not offer us a way to do that. So this review is, in part, my apology to Mr. Weber.
“On Basilisk Station” is the first book in a very large series. The series has given me a great deal of pleasure over the years. The main character in this series is Honor Harrington. Please note that her initials are HH. Weber has said that his inspiration for this series is the Horatio Hornblower series. (I recommend that series as well. Thanks to Audible for finally getting it. The Hornblower series was also the inspiration for the original Star Trek TV series, according to Gene Roddenberry.)
In this book we see Honor Harrington as a young(ish) star ship captain. Her country is small, consisting of the people of three planets all in the same star system. They are being threatened by a very large and corrupt star nation consisting of many star systems. Many of the events--at least in the early part of the series--parallel broad events in the conflict between England and France in the early 1800s. (Napoleonic wars) The Hornblower series was about English sailing ships helping their country to fend off Napoleon. This series is about Manticoran star ships protecting their country.
I hope what I have said so far doesn’t make Weber sound like a cheap hack copying a better writer. Hornblower was the “inspiration” for Honor, but the plots, characters and story arcs are all Weber’s.
We have various levels of peril in these tales - peril to Honor’s family and career, to her life and the lives of those she commands, and very real peril to her country. We have a large company of characters; people (on both sides of the conflict) that are honorable and whom we grow to love, as well as people (on both sides of the conflict) who are venal, evil. Many writers become so fond of their characters that they can never kill off the good guys. Weber does--on a regular basis. It takes some getting used to.
AND Weber writes amazingly good action scenes.
There are now more than 20 books in this series, I think (the main series has 13 books, but there are also a couple of spinoff series and at least five anthologies of short stories in the Honorverse). Many people say that the first three books in the series are the best. I would agree that the first three are among the best, but I do have some favorites that occur later in the series. There are also five or six compilations of short stories in this series. I have reviewed a number of them. Many of them provide tidbits of information that will help you understand events in the next full-length novel. There is no question, however, that later books in the series are too wordy and have too few action scenes.
So here is the bottom line: I recommend this series. It is one of my favorites. But each person will have to decide whether they will read the next book in the series. My son stopped reading them at about book 9 or 10. I quit once, then started again, and I think I may have quit completely now. But don’t let poor books late in the series stop you from starting the series. You would miss out on some great stuff.
The second book in the series introduces the planet Grayson, and its misogynistic people. But not as misogynistic as the Masadans! Honor once again sa..Show More »ves the day, several times, and manages to make some powerful enemies as well as some good friends. The narrator did an excellent job, even with all the different characters she has to voice.
This is the third book in this series, and is building more about the leading character Honor Harrington. At times the story slows down with explaini..Show More »ng details about the society or Naval ships but I guess when you are creating it all from your imagination you need to give people some understanding to build on. If you like stories with strong women roles this is a book for you.
STORY (military sci-fi) - Field of Dishonor is Book 4 in the series. Unfortunately, it lacks the interplanetary battle scenes we have come to expect..Show More », but there's no lack of excitement. Pavel Young's hatred of Honor escalates personally and politically until she is forced into a very dangerous lose-lose situation. This is the major story line of the book, and it's very, very good.
There is more character development than in the first three books. It slows the pace a bit, but it's enjoyable. Honor faces great sadness and is severely tested, but she remains true to who she is. She becomes more "real" and I like her more with each book.
The story finishes at a nice "pausing point," but it's definitely not an end. A preview of the next book follows.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator is female, has a pleasant voice and does a good job.
OVERALL - You should listen to this series in order. There's some minor violence, a small amount of very mild sex and a sprinkling of cursing. The politics are fairly complicated so it's not an easy listen. Probably should be over about age 18 to understand and enjoy.
House of Lords voted to exclude countess Harrington, and used it's political power to ruin her career, despite House o..Show More »f Commons support she was beached,put on half pay, her ship (NIKE) was passed on.
Instead of sitting and waiting for new assignment, which probably would never come, she decided to take care of business on Grayson, her Stadthold is growing, her investment was good, but you can't change everyone on the planet in just a few years.
It is not very far from "religious fanatic" to "terrorist".
The War continues, revolution in Peoples Republic of Heaven(PRH) doesn't' help the case, though the government policy changed, it's still singing the same tune, obvious reference to USSR and People Republic of China .
11 Prize Super Dreadnoughts given as a gift to Grayson by Admiral Alexander are almost fixed, PRH is getting ready for new offensive.
Grayson's understand, when god gives you lemons, you need to make Lemonade.
So they offered Grayson Space Navy (GSN) commission to the most experienced officer in the star system.
The next book in the series is "Honor among Enemies"
This series has been very enjoyable to listen too. These books are somewhat uplifting - I guess that's the fantasy part of a galactic war - but - Th..Show More »e good guys are good and the bad guys are bad, however, they may or may not be enemies.
There is a couple improvements that Audible could make on most of these series of books - like the honor harrington series. First, I'd like to know what book in a series I'm buying without having to research the series, book 1,2,3, etc. You can't go by audible's release date, they tend to release some of the latest books first, look at "War of Honor" in this series. The easiest way I have found to identify the series order is to Google them. Googling the series brings up the author's comments in Amazon which usually will tell you the series order.
The following is the order of the Harrington series:
1) On Basilisk Station
2) The Honor of the Queen
3) The Short Victorious War
4) Field of Dishonour
5) Flag in Exile
6) Honor among Enemies
7) In Enemy Hands
8) Echoes of Honor
9) Ashes of Victory
10) War of Honor
11) At All Costs
12) Mission of Honor (forthcoming)
My second recommendation for improvements was to do with getting comments/reviews on the books in Audible. I believe that Amazon is the parent company to Audible, so why not have Audible reviews "hot link" to the Amazon reviews of the same book, especially where there are no reviews in Audible. This would eliminate someone from having to copy the title, going to Amazon and searching their books for reviews and comments. Sorry, for straying a little, but I hope it helps.
Just a note about my high 5-star ratings - I usually only rate books that I really enjoy, hence high ratings in all my rating history. Maybe I will change in the future, but since I have so many books, maybe not. JWP
I am now completely satisfied with Allison Johnson's reading of this series and have been for several books. The story is classic Weber and a wonderfu..Show More »l story.
the downside: AUDIBLE decided to pause production of the Honor Harrington series with this book, my problem with this is this book is a cliff hanger, if audible wanted to pause the series they should have done so with the previous book as from this book on you could reasonably argue that the remaining books are really one very long book, at the very least Echoes of Honor should be done so as not to leave people hanging on a MAJOR cliff hanger
I am enjoying this series can hardly stand to put the story down. Echoes of Honor kept me holding on by my finger tips as she takes two years to esca..Show More »pe the prison island. Her leadership ability bringing all the various people that have been in prison from various planets was interesting to watch. The battle scenes were great. Honor is beginning to remind me of Admiral H. Nelson of the British Navy. First the lost of an eye, now an arm what next? Allyson Johnson does a great job reading the series. She is Honor to me now. Can not wait to start the next book in the series.
I could not put this book down. Honor comes back from 2 years at a prison camp and rebuilds her life. She is moving from an battle action person, exc..Show More »ept at the end of the book to flag command. The interaction with her Mother and the increasing role with the Queen is interesting. Enjoyed the parts with the tree cats. Nemitz injury and all the cats learning to communicate by other than telepathy was great. The ending makes me want to start on the next book in the series right away.
If, like me, you have enjoyed the series tremendously; if, like me, you have enjoyed the depth of the background stories in which surrounds even the m..Show More »inor characters; and if, like me, you wouldn't mind adding a few more books to the series if it will give you a greater depth and a fuller experience into the Honorverse; then I have some good news for you.
Before you start At All Costs, there are two other spinoff series you should be aware of. Each of these series consists of two books: Crown of Slaves and Torch of Freedom; and The Shadow of Saganami and Storm from the Shadows. While these two series do not deal directly with Honor Harrington, they do explain a lot of the back stories you will encounter in the primary series. And, to be honest, it is a bit refreshing to focus on someone besides the honorable Countess Harrington for a while.
The chronological order of the books is as follows: Crown of Slaves -> The Shadow of Saganami -> At All Costs -> Storm from the Shadows -> Torch of Freedom -> Mission of Honor -> A Rising Thunder.
It isn't a big deal with Crown of Slaves and The Shadow of Saganami, because both are somewhat separate from the main storyline of At All Costs, so the order isn't extremely crucial. But you will want to listen to Storm from the Shadows, Torch of Freedom, and Mission of Honor in that order, as there are some major revelations you will want to learn about in order.
I hope this will help you as you make your way through the series. Good listening.
This is a series that will Hold You. If you want to give your brain and body a rest and go some place of wonder with many folks that become almost fr..Show More »iends this is It. It is loaded with adventure, humor, love,war without being dark. I am waiting for March for next book. I am 69 and I do not do that very often. Go for this series.
Overall, this book is a nice continuation of the story. The story arc allows for an interesting mix of action, politics, and character development. ..Show More »Having said that, the author seems to be developing some annoying habits if you have followed his writing style from book 1.
There is far too much filler material. For example there are long boring sequences where he describes conversations between humans and tree cats, where he describes in detail the tree cat's hand movements as they use sign language. Describing hand and finger position and the motion of the gestures as the tree cat spells a word letter by letter is excruciating. Imaging watching a closed-captioned broadcast with someone speaking in your ear who explains with as much detail as they can, what the person signing is doing. This would test anyone's patience. Normally a translator would simply tell you that the person is signing followed by the translation. Five minute descriptions of hand gestures is massive overkill and I found myself using the fast-forward key frequently, lest I fall asleep.
Ditto the author's annoying tendency to have us attend entire religious services where he takes us through a complete religious service with lengthy scripture readings and pastoral comments, rather than simply giving us the first few lines like any author who wants to keep us engaged would do, followed by a synopsis of what was said so we can get back to the story. Again, making us sit through complete sermons is massive overkill and again, thanks for the fast-forward button. I probably skipped 20-30 minutes of this novel.
Lastly, the author has for the last 2 books picked up the annoying habit of everyone's lip twitching and tightening whenever they are surprised. That never happens to me so I can't relate to it. And since it happens over and over and over, it gets irritating. There are other ways to depict surprise in writing but the author seems to be getting lazy.
I still like the story a lot but each novel seems to move more slowly and there are several bad habits the author is picking up that make me pinch my nose and press on. Since this story is not entirely self-contained and ends abruptly with several important things dangling, I'm sure there will be another soon. I just hope negatives don't get worse or I will probably tune out.