Elizabeth Moon is an American Science Fiction and Fantasy writer. Her novel the Speed of Dark won the 2003 Nebula Award. Before she was a writer she was in the United States Marine Core. Elizabeth started with Fantasy but her sci-fi has a military feel and given her past it’s not surprising.
The review is going to be for the series, it will not be in-depth as I do not want to give away any spoilers if you haven’t read this series already you need to. The series comprises the following:
- Trading In Danger
- Moving Target
- Engaging The Enemy
- Command Decision
- Victory Conditions
The series centers around the main protagonist and heroine Kylara Vatta, she attends the Spaceforce Academy on her home planet of Slotter Key, but in her final year is disgraced when she trusts the wrong person. Sent back to her wealthy family who run an interstellar shipping company she is placed in the captain’s chair of one of the old and knackered ships. Ky is sent on one last mission before the ship is scrapped. Although she knows that the captaincy is more to get her away from the embarrassment and limelight, she is determined to make something of herself to redeem herself in the eyes of her family.
Ky is a very likable character and I found myself being sympathetic to her situation and really rooting for her throughout the entire series. Ky is always trying to do the right thing and this doesn’t always help her in her journey.
The stories are very fast-paced action and really pull you in. They build the action in each book and at the same time build the overall story through the five books. Because Elizabeth comes from a military background you can certainly feel this in the books, whether it’s talking about refitting ships due to damage and stress, supplies and logistics, and how command structures work. Some people may be put off by this but for me, it held a level of realism and world-building that just added to the story. If there is anything I would say I would want to be done differently I would say fleshing out some of the side characters, in some of the books they have big parts, and then as the series builds to the inevitable climax some of them have fallen by the wayside and I felt like they could have benefitted from bigger parts in the final book.
I found it hard to put these books down on the first read and powered through the entire series. I decided recently to read them again. As I own, (but have not read) the two books in the sequel series Vatta’s Peace. The re-read went the same, the books had lost nothing for me and I flew through them. Thoroughly enjoying the adventure and living through everything with Ky again.
If you like military-type science fiction you will like these books I am sure. They reminded me of the David Feintuch series the Seafort Saga, another brilliant series that I am due a re-read.