Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Heris Serrano, Elizabeth Moon

Title: Heris Serrano
Author: Elizabeth Moon
Rating: Good

Malabar reviewed this book some time back. As I mentioned in a follow up to her review, it's really a combined reprint of three other novels:
  • Hunting Party
  • Winning Colors
  • Sporting Chance
That said, these novels follow right on each other's heels, and make no allowances for those who've not read the former books. You need to read them in order to have them make total sense. Calling them a single novel isn't really out of the question as a result.

They all feature Captain Heris Serrano, who's been drummed out of the space service and has taken up employment as a captain of Lady Cecilia de Marktos's yacht. There are other major characters as well - relatives of Cecilia and friends of the same. We follow their adventures over 1041 pages.

The cover of my copy calls these books space opera. At times that title fits, but at times I wondered. Moon gets lost in the intricacies of horses and horse people a lot in these pages, and that aspect just wasn't all that interesting to me. I have a few other quibbles with these books as well.

They contain a lot of jargon relating to FTL space travel & communication, but after a while it seemed it had all been made up for convenience in telling the story, rather than trying to create a believable technological background. That got a bit annoying.

Also, there are too many coincidences here. Too many people that just happen to be present when needed, and events that are very unlikely happening at exactly the right time. It interfered with the willing suspension of disbelief in places.

However, against those issues, there are some positives. Moon does cover some interesting ground in the area of what impact extended life times (via that old SF staple, rejuvenation) would have on society. She also manages to inject the right amount of humor into the book, and the story can be very engaging at points.

In the end, I'm happy I read them, though at times in the process I wondered if I should bother. They won't be on my reread list, but they were a nice diversion. A bit fluffy, perhaps, but a diversion.