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SPOILERS==Shadow of Victory Comments, Queries and Opinions

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SPOILERS==Shadow of Victory Comments, Queries and Opinions
Post by Hutch   » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:23 am

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Hopefully this can be a central thread for all SOV comments, so we don't end up with half a dozen different threads for all the opinions this book will generate. However, that is of course up to my fellow humble readers.

I finished about 1/3 of the novel last evening, and one word comes to mind after thinking about it:

Spackle (if you are unfamiliar with the term, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spackling_paste)

One-third of the way through and we still haven't reached PD 1922 yet. Everything so far has been set earlier than the events that ended the books A Rising Thunder, Shadow of Freedom, and Cauldron of Ghosts. And while I would not object if there was good and sufficient reasons for this, as I'll note below, I don't see it.

Now I will say, it's damn fine spackle...The writing is solid and mostly better than the previous three books mentioned above (IMHO), the characters are real and I do care about them, and I read until after midnight, so it kept my attention....but...


SPOILER WARNING!! SPOILER WARNING!! LAST CHANCE!!!


* We know from Storm from the Shadows what the aftermath in Monica was and about Therkhov's abrupt return to Talbott--do we really need 20+ pages about it now?

* We know the results from Shadow of Freedom on what happens on Mobius and Loomis, but we get large sections devoted to how Firebrand met with and developed contacts there well prior to the revolutions. Again, nice written, but we know how those stories end already.

* And while RFC develops two new planetary systems ripe for rebellion in this book, he also goes back and fills in all the detail of not only the two systems that have already had their revolutions, but also the 'first contacts' for two systems that that were left hanging in Shadow of Freedom on the cusp of rebellion (Seraphim and Swallow)...nope, we have to go back and see how it all started.

* Showing Damien Harahap 'conversion' to the MAlignment in the first chapter is interesting but then we spend parts of several chapters on him meeting on Mesa with other characters all the way back to Green Pines (Torch of Freedom) just to show how he is added to the outer layer of the Onion, and trying to show him working on SIX different worlds doing basically the same thing is, well, perhaps a wee bit excessive (YMMV). The MWW may have dropped a few Chekhov's Guns in the telling, but I'll have to see.

* The only two things that made me say (ala Anton) "Well, that's a thing." is the appearance of some intelligent thinking in the OFS Intelligence Agencies and the appearance of one of the new Maya Sector Battlecruisers (and I would have really loved more detail on that ship).

But in general, in the first third of the book we're treading ground that in most reader's minds (at least those of us who have devoured all of RFC's work through the years) has already been dealt with in previous books. All this has done is fill in bits and pieces with more descriptions of the backstory and added two more planets when we already had two planets (Swallow and Seraphim) described in Shadow of Freedom and ready to go forward in this book.

So: Spackle.

Which doesn't mean I didn't read 1/3 of it to midnight and got up at 5am today to finish it, because it is a very good read, but I'd rather it had started with a SEM force hypering into Seraphim and/or Swallow..which may yet happen, but still way down the road in this book.

More after I have finished reading.

IMHO as always. YMMV.
***********************************************
No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.

What? Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here! Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! -LT. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5
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Re: SPOILERS==Shadow of Victory Comments, Queries and Opinio
Post by Hans   » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:49 am

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Hutch wrote:I finished about 1/3 of the novel last evening, and one word comes to mind after thinking about it:

Spackle (if you are unfamiliar with the term, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spackling_paste)

One-third of the way through and we still haven't reached PD 1922 yet. Everything so far has been set earlier than the events that ended the books A Rising Thunder, Shadow of Freedom, and Cauldron of Ghosts. And while I would not object if there was good and sufficient reasons for this, as I'll note below, I don't see it.


The same with me, at some point i was bored about Damien H. running from world to world setting up something.


SPOILER WARNING!! SPOILER WARNING!! LAST CHANCE!!!

* We know from Storm from the Shadows what the aftermath in Monica was and about Therkhov's abrupt return to Talbott--do we really need 20+ pages about it now?

* We know the results from Shadow of Freedom on what happens on Mobius and Loomis, but we get large sections devoted to how Firebrand met with and developed contacts there well prior to the revolutions. Again, nice written, but we know how those stories end already.

Again i agree


* And while RFC develops two new planetary systems ripe for rebellion in this book, he also goes back and fills in all the detail of not only the two systems that have already had their revolutions, but also the 'first contacts' for two systems that that were left hanging in Shadow of Freedom on the cusp of rebellion (Seraphim and Swallow)...nope, we have to go back and see how it all started.

* Showing Damien Harahap 'conversion' to the MAlignment in the first chapter is interesting but then we spend parts of several chapters on him meeting on Mesa with other characters all the way back to Green Pines (Torch of Freedom) just to show how he is added to the outer layer of the Onion, and trying to show him working on SIX different worlds doing basically the same thing is, well, perhaps a wee bit excessive (YMMV). The MWW may have dropped a few Chekhov's Guns in the telling, but I'll have to see.

I see nothing at Harahap what makes him and his actions so interesting.
Again i totally agree. I don't see the story behind. it feels like a couple of short stories. Whenever i read Damien H. i changed over to 'express reading mode'
He filled up with details which are not necessary.

To sum it up - i'm pretty disappointed.
I got to edit something: I'm just at chapter 30. And there is still hope the story is developing.
Last edited by Hans on Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SPOILERS==Shadow of Victory Comments, Queries and Opinio
Post by Star Knight   » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:00 am

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Reading chapter 23 atm...
I enjoy the stuff about RMN very much. Which is like not even a fifth of the book at the moment.
The rest... well, i personally never like Firebrand that much and no matter how good all those OFS controlled hellholes are crafted, it gets old fast.

I pretty much agree with all you wrote Hutch. Spackle is exactly the right term for it. Basically all of this stuff belongs into the earlier books.
And most of it is just not necessary, no matter how well it is written.

I just hope we get at least some plot development going in the second half. I mean, it looks like the Earc ends about the time of Oyster Bay, thats six months before Tenth Fleet arrives at Mesa.
At the rate this is going, thats more than enough time and stuff to fill the rest of the book.
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Re: SPOILERS==Shadow of Victory Comments, Queries and Opinio
Post by Direwolf18   » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:22 am

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I have finished the book, so my comments below are spoilers:








Ok so in many ways I agree with Hutch about the first half of the book. Yes it was all very well written, that being said (almost) all of it is set in the past. We can split that content into three categories:


1. Fleshing out stuff that has already happened (IE the additional scenes at Monica).

2. Backstory of how Firebrand got to be setting up these rebellions and why said countries are rebelling.

3. Entirely new content.

I am now going to take those points in reverse. Most of category 3, also applied to category two. One of the issues I had is the Polish world and the Czeck world. Normally with a RFC book I can get overwhelmed with all the new faces and places, he kicked it up to 11 this time. All the credit in the world to him to making it authentic, but in some ways he made it to authentic, for my first pass at least. I know we have some Polish and Czech speakers on the forums, so please dont take this the wrong way. But I couldn't even pronounce the names, there were so many funny characters I wasn't really sure where to start. As such my eye kinda glazed over and I pushed on through those parts, further decreasing my understanding of what was going on. A personal failing I admit, but I will have to have a printed out cheat sheet of who/what/where to give those parts the reading they deserve.

As for the rest of Category 2 stuff, it was definitely interesting additional backstory of all the worlds we have seen before like Swallow, Mobius, Loomis, etc. This is all stuff explaining why life on those worlds sucks, why they wanted to rebel, and how Mesa Alignment made first contact. Plus of course this covered Mr. Firebrands promotion and decision trees that led to him leading this operation around Talbot. While all of it is interesting, I would be lying if I didn't say I wasn't impatient to get to the good part of the book.

Now for the fleshed out scene part. In many ways this is my favorite part of the first half the book, because if involves my beloved Manties, and all characters I know. That being said I felt like most of it could have been in either Shadow of Saganami or Storm from the shadows. This also includes the transition point of when I started getting really interested in the book, the second half. Once Sinead Terekhov enters the scene things start picking up very quickly.

While the next almost quarter of the book still takes places before the ending of Shadow of Freedom, it offers enough different perspective of events, including the heart wrenching aftermath of the Yawata Strike, that I don't feel wishing the story would move on like I did at times in the first half. Seeing things from Sineads, character was great. I had always felt that for such an important person in Aivars life, we really don't see anything of her or know what her character is even like. Now we do and she is fantastic.

Looking at the time I have to get to work so I will say that I kinda think RFC wrote part of it to deliberately see how loud of a squeeing noise he could get out of Roseheather. Because there are several parts I am sure if we listen quietly we could hear her glee from hundreds of miles away.
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Re: SPOILERS==Shadow of Victory Comments, Queries and Opinio
Post by Annachie   » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:55 am

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I'm about 7 chapters in, and I suspect that this book should have been written about 3 years ago. If that makes sense.

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Re: SPOILERS==Shadow of Victory Comments, Queries and Opinio
Post by Frankjg   » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:38 am

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I found the book to be good overall. A little disappointed that it ended where it did. But understandable given the huge area and number of events this book covers. Tied several different areas together to show the scale of the Mesan plans.

Very Good job MWW. 2 big thumbs up.
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Re: SPOILERS==Shadow of Victory Comments, Queries and Opinio
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:43 am

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The MWW has gotten me curious about what's going to happen to "Firebrand"?

While I liked him more that others did, it is "fitting" that he gets caught on the planet, has to do his best to help the rebels and then the Real Manties show up. :twisted:

Then there are those Mesan "nano-bugs" in him.

Will he be able to tell the Manties what he does know?
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Re: SPOILERS==Shadow of Victory Comments, Queries and Opinio
Post by Hutch   » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:41 am

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Well, 2/3 of the way through, and while we still haven't caught up with the end-points of the last three novels, it is in sight and the pace and interest has picked up, so hopefully the last third will give me the 'reveals' I'm looking for.

(I have not read Direwolf's commnets yet, since I have not finished the book).

Pressing on.
***********************************************
No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.

What? Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here! Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! -LT. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5
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Re: SPOILERS==Shadow of Victory Comments, Queries and Opinio
Post by jgnfld   » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:44 am

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Forgive me for saying this, as I have loved David's work (well except for Out of the Dark) for so many years now. But having just read the book I simply have to come out and say it: I am at a complete loss to know how to feel when well over 300K words advance a plot not so much as a full day and still leaves lose ends galore just hanging around. At the moment I am utterly appalled.

Maybe that feeling will change, I don't know.
Last edited by jgnfld on Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SPOILERS==Shadow of Victory Comments, Queries and Opinio
Post by Dauntless   » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:25 am

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the book was good, though i do agree that a lot of the early sections rightly belonged in an earlier book.

the shanegians in Maya were great but I would have liked info about Sharpshooter and her sisters. not to mention info/vague specs on what the SD(P) will look like when delivered.

seeing Tourville was good and i can definitely see sparks between him and Mike Henke.

what happened at Messa was also intresting and the epilog really makes me wonder if a certain someone is actually going to dig for the truth.

Ginger's command was very intresting to see in light of various threads revolving around Modular ships.
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