Friday, December 19, 2008

REVIEW: Command Decision by Elizabeth Moon

Command Decision by Elizabeth Moon book four in the Vatta Wars series
Ballantine Books
hc 384 pp

I have always made it known that my favorite recreational reading category is science. I always go a bit further and say that, given the choice, I prefer hard science fiction. Something built on extrapolated science. As always in the very next breath, I break that rule by listing the type of science fiction that I often find myself moth fluttering towards. I really liked Dune, Dragon Riders and of late Elizabeth Moon's Vatta War series. I hear the "but waits' already. Because even to the neophyte, these are a clear cut representation of main line science fiction. But in my mind at least, these series are more of a space opera, bordering on fantasy. Now before you pass out from blowing a gasket, let me explain. These books are high on action and low on science. Most of the science is quasi at best and totally made up impossible for the most part. So what separates them from true fantasy? Well in each example, the milieu is set early on and then scrupulously adhered to. Whether it's huge lizards that can fly and communicate telepathically to FTL and faster than light communication with ansibles. They all work and fail within the rules the author sets. True fantasy will quite often make the rules up as they go.

So how does this apply to Moon's fourth in her Vatta series? Well honestly to put it, and the rest of the books in the series, solidly in the space opera class. Is that a bad thing? Not in my book no. Strong characters, epic battles, truly evil villains, as campy as it sounds, done right and you have a book that can not be put down. And that is the genius of Moon's Vatta Wars series and the fourth in the series Command Decision.

Kylara 'Ky' Vatta is back once again, bent on finding the villains responsible for killing her parents and destroying her home world. Towards this end she works toward building her own space fleet to take on the pirates and beat them at their own game. The sub plots themselves are worked out in more detail as well. Ky's cousin Stella tries to rebuild the family empire, the mysterious Rafael 'Rafe' Dunbarger uncovers a conspiracy that may explain how the Ansible network was so thoroughly destroyed and involving people that could destroy his father's company and ultimately his family itself.

Add in some thoroughly despicable people both pirate and station owners alike and you have an adventure laden novel and and worthy addition to the Vatta series. I am totally honest when I say that I can not wait to start reading the next book in the series.

I give this volume a must read for fans of the Vatta series that haven't picked up the fourth in the series. It's worth it.

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