Saturday, June 28, 2014

Book Review: On Basilisk Station by David Weber

Some time ago a friend suggested David Weber's Honor Harrington series to me, and was even kind enough to let me borrow the first book. If I say one thing about this series, over anything else, it's that I can't believe I waited this long to read it. I'm not even certain I've heard of it before, though I have a feeling it must have been in the same section as all of those Star Wars EU novels I devoured in high school...

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And speaking of those Star Wars EU novels - if you liked them, you should really give Honor Harrington a try. I do have some gripes with On Basilisk Station, but they're all minor ones; I liked it a lot as a whole, and the few things that bothered me rarely took away from the reading experience, which is good.

First, it's far too common when writing about women to focus way too much on their physical appearance. Female authors do this as much as male authors, but that doesn't change the fact that Weber spent way more time reflecting on your appearance (both from her own perspective and that of other characters) than he would have if she'd been a male character.

On that note, the author comparing Honor's eyes to molten whatever and rich dark whatever blah blah blah etc. etc. was more than a little bit trying at times ;) Mostly it felt like he was simply trying too hard with the similes and metaphors...but it was more an annoyance than something that would make me dislike the novel or stop reading it.


While Weber was generally very good about spacing out his descriptions of the technology and science of his world, there were a couple of sections where these descriptions did go on for pages and pages. That type of information really does need to be given in small doses in order to keep the attention of [most] readers.

The buildup to the 'real action' in On Basilisk Station was perhaps a bit slow at times, but not unbearable; the problem is that once that 'real' action began, things were happening so fast that it was almost impossible to keep track of who was who and what was happening where - especially as Weber has a bit of a habit of throwing in new characters and then either never revisiting them, or not doing so for a hundred pages or more.

Once the Big Event is over, though, the novel pretty much ends immediately. There's a quick summary of everything that happened after said Big Event, and some minor details are left open so that Weber can continue the series, but I would have liked more than just that brief summary to close out this particular chapter of Honor's story.

All of that is really just me being a bit too picky - again, I really did enjoy On Basilisk Station - as science fiction novels go, it's one of the best I've read in a long time and I'm already itching to devour more of Honor Harrington's story. 4/5 stars.
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