Friday, August 22, 2014

Theirs Not to Reason Why: Hardship review



This week I decided to review Theirs Not to Reason Why: Hardship by Jean Johnson. When the book begins, Ia, who becomes known to history as Bloody Mary has just destroyed her ship and arrived on the planet Dabin which is being invaded by the Salik, a race which view most sentient species as a convenient food source. Ia, who has the ability to see every possible future, knows that she only has a limited amount of time to arrange the defeat of the Salik force on Dabin before the Salik blockade of the world is broken and she and her command must leave to carry out the next phase of her plan to prevent the Milky Way galaxy and its inhabitants from being wiped out in a few centuries. Unfortunately the general in command of the Terran Army forces on Dabin refuses to corporate with the battle plans she gives him despite knowing that she can see the future, and orders the units flanking the position of her encampment to hold position no matter what while a Salik strike force attacks Ia’s unit driving it into a long retreat. Afterwards Ia discovers that the general is being influenced by one of the Feyori, energy beings who view the entire galaxy as their game board and its inhabitants as little more then game pieces, that oppose the Feyori faction allied with her. She confronts the Feyori on the Timeplains and makes it clear that they can no longer be neutral regarding her--they will either help her or be destroyed by her.
I give the book a 6 out of 10. The book is significantly shorter than any other in the series so far and suffers for it in my opinion. Namely there is a distinct shortage of battle sequences. The entire book is told from Ia’s prospective. While this can work well in a war story where the character is involved in the frontline action here Ia spends most of her time strategizing rather than fighting or leading from the front. I do enjoy some strategic planning in stories but I still feel that the story would have been better served if more of the period she spent at the forefront of the fighting had been shown in detail or if it had shown more of the battles against the Salik from the prospective of the soldiers fighting the battles with less of the book spent watching versions of Ia from multiple points in time powwowing to relay all of the data and messages she needs to send in order to prevent the fall of Dabin and the later possible destruction of the galaxy or engaged in similar activities.


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