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Nothing says "I Love You, Dear" like screaming lower back pain!

Sometimes Wrong but rarely in doubt!

31 January 2009

Honor of the Clan

John Ringo and Julie Cochrane
ISBN 1-4165-5591-9
Rating: Buy, Paperback, Used

Mrs. Bugbear isn't a big fan of John Ringo. It might have something to do with having to pry my nose out his books to get me to take out the garbage. Maybe it's the conversations where I ask her what she said, about five to ten minutes after she stopped talking and fed the dog herself. Thank the Lord she has a streak of tolerance a mile wide in her nature or I'd still be single.

While Mrs Bugbear may not be a fan of Ringo, I am. For one large reason, the man has a truly prodigious output. His first work A Hymn before Battle was released in 2000. Ten years and thirty or so books later out comes Honor of the Clan. Julie Cochrane seems to be an up and comer that Baen Books has paired with Ringo for a trilogy. Honor of the Clan is the third book in the trilogy which also includes Cally's War and Sister Time. I understand that Baen may be publishing a solo book by Cochrane but I don't see it on Baen's publishing schedule as of this posting.

The Cally books are subset of the Posleen Universe books, a series that began with A Hymn before Battle. The Cally series follows the adventures of Cally O'Neal, the daughter of the main protaganist in A Hymn before Battle, Mike "Ironman" O'Neal.

I prefer the Mike O'Neal books to the Cally O'Neal books for the simple reason that Ringo writes more to his strengths in the Mike books. Strengths which seem to be battles and lakes of blood and gore. By comparison the more up close and personal violence of Cally O'Neal seems to fall a bit flatter. The Cally books are more dominated by intrigue and the spiritual growth of the assassin, Cally. Despite that preference I still quite enjoyed the first two Cally books and to a lesser extent the third.

Possible Spoilers Below, read at your own risk.

Cally is a member of a family group that has come to be called the Clan O'Neal by the subversive galactic organization the Bane Sidhe. The book begins with the discovery of the Clan O'Neal by the galactics who assign none other than her own father to destroy the clan. Like the prior Cally books it's not fast-paced but as Honor of the Clan is more about intrigue than battle that's not necessarily bad. I was interested enough in the book to keep reading but part of that was Cally who is an appealing character despite her vocation.

Ringo's books generally should be sold wrapped in plastic so the Sci-Fi section in the bookstore doesn't look like a crime scene. Given his proclivity for blood and gore you shouldn't be surprised to see characters die (many characters) and Honor of the Clan is no exception. For some reason one of the many many deaths detracted from my enjoyment of the book. I knew it was coming from very early in the book, I even can see why it was necessary to plot advancement. I just don't feel it was handled well, that is to say Cochrane and Ringo could have done more with the death and with the aftermath. For me it was kind of a glaring flaw in the book. Of course it may factor into the forthcoming Mike O'Neal book Eye of the Storm to be released in July. Honor of the Clan is still strong on characters and storyline which seems to be characteristic of many of the books published by Baen.

So I've rated this one a Buy, PaperBack, Used for the simple reason that I had a sense of dissatisfaction or disaffection when I finished reading it. Used PaperBack is still far far better rating than Burn, Seek Damages from Author for MENTAL ANGUISH that I would assign to all but the most brilliantly written undead romance novels.

I've been looking forward to the next Mike O'Neal book since I finished Hell's Faire the first time. Now if Weber and Ringo would get off their collective firmaments and get the next Prince Roger book written all would right with the Universe.

I guess I better go clean up the blood under the Ringo and Kratman books again, I've read them so often that Mrs. Bugbear's starting to think I'm a serial killer rather than a bibliophile.

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