As mentioned in last week’s post, I got Rachel Bach (Aaron)’s military sf/space opera last year on the strength of her Eli Monpress books, and, in my quest to get through my TBR shelf in order, read them this month.
They’re not as easy to fall into as the Monpress books; Devi Morris, the main character, isn’t as charming or delightful as Eli Monpress. Then again, she’s not supposed to be, so frankly that speaks to Aaron’s strengths as a writer. Book one found its footing after a few chapters, and carried on well up until the end, when Aaron pulled out a plot device so appalling that I still can’t believe she used it. Not “oh my god I can’t believe she did that to this character,” but “oh my god I can’t believe she used such an incredibly annoying trope, how plot devicey can you GET.”
In Aaron’s defense, the world setup allowed for the unbelieveable trope, with it being at least nominally set up beforehand. That didn’t, however, really make it particularly forgiveable. I started the second book immediately anyway, but with a bad taste in my mouth. The unbelieveable trope was resolved about a quarter of the way through the second book, but it took until about halfway through for the book to really feel like it had recovered and was kicking back into action.
Fortunately, when it kicked back in, it did so with a vengeance. Arguably, in fact, the main plot for the whole trilogy really kicked in halfway through book two, and it went rollicking on to the end of the books in excellent form. I had a theory about how one aspect was going to turn out and was proven wrong, which faintly surprises and probably pleases me for its lack of predictability. (Only probably because I’m still trying to decide if I think her resolution was more satisfying or mine was. :))
I really, *really* wish she’d found a different way to deal with the issue that prompted the Unbelieveable Trope, because that came very close to being a deal-breaker. However, as anybody who is reading this will now go into the books forearmed, I can as a whole recommend the trilogy, because despite the Unbelieveable Trope they’re really pretty good books.