Posts Tagged ‘Tanya Huff’

Since the book I am reading right now has got quite a healthy number of pages I think The Better Part of Valour will be the last book completed on 2014. I am not going to go on and on about the other books because I need something to write about in the Top 5 post’s introduction but I just wanted to thank you for the reads, the comments, the faves and the follows, we are getting near the year’s milestone


The Better Part of Valour, by Tanya Huff, tells us the story of Staff Sergeatn Torin Kerr, an efficient and heroic soldier who is assigned to a dangerous mission under the orders of a uselss, arrogant, would-be-hero after she gets on the bad side of her superior. The mission. To explore a recently discovered space ship which design has never been seen before. What starts as a routinary mission will soon become a living nightmare as they struggle to survive the dangerous structure and to get everyone out alive.

The Better Part of Valour has got  some positive points, one of them being the setting. Ms Huff knows her busines when it comes to trapping the reader in a carefully designed setting. In one hand she manages to create an enthrilling galactic civilization in which the most “advanced” races used those which they consider more savage (among them the Humans) to wage war for them, the races are amazingly different and the bureocratic and social aparatus manages to be interesting as she describes de different cultures and believes. (Though I must admit that some of these races remind me to those of Mass Effect’s, but hey, Mass Effect is awesome [No, I am not going to talk about its ending])

On the other hand, the military aparatus is precise and dinamic, up to the point that I investigated if she had served in the military at some point (she is canadian, so she is too nice for that). Her decriptions of the relationships between military personel and the complexity of the chain of comand stroke me as realistic and interestind, and she manages to show us this without boring the reader. The result is a realistic (as far as I can tell, never served in the military myself) and fast paced story which provides for several hours of enjoyment

Sadly, while the setting has been amazingly well worked, the characters are not as complex nor interesting, the only character which stands out is Torin, who sadly feels underdeveloped during the story. She has got some basic conflicting qualities such as her social akwarness with everyone who isn’t military mixed with her undying loyalty to those who earn it and her coldness when it comes to yielding satisfactory results, but beyind that she fills a role and her actions become greatly predictable as the novel advance. She is a likeable character, that’s for sure, but by the ending it feels as if her potential hasn’t been used as much as it could.

The res of the crew fares mauch worst. The platoon’s soldiers lack personality and are so underdeveloped that in most cases can’t be told apart. Other characters are just there as the embodiment of a role: the undeserving comanding officer, the annoying journalyst whose death every reader wishes, the pain in the ass general, and several unnecesary secondary characters who made you wonder what’s their role in all of this.

If Torin is predictable, this guys are worse. The lack of flexibility on their nature and of development makes it very difficult not to guess the exact ations these characters will have done by the end of the novel. Some of this events are forced (Ryder overcoming his fears in such a fashion didn’t make much sense) while others earn the prize to the biggest clichés of the year, like the “mandatory” love story.

Over all this novel doesn’t go beyond enjoyable. It gives you hours of entertainment and makes up for a nice read while you are in a waiting room or in pulic transportation, but if you are looking for a rich, character driven, science fiction story you will have to look elsewhere.


¡Hasta la Próxima!