Valor's Choice *
I don't know what to say about this cover. I think this is the first cover, or at least it's the cover of the single novel. The novel I have was in a double book volume, two novels in one book - titled A Confederation of Valor. The cover of that one is .....blah. This one at least shows a bit of what the Silviss look like...sort of. it's hard to see. But poses of the humans just look off somehow. The uniforms are interesting...and they're supposed to be black to accommadate the different coloring of all the species in the Marines. Well, good thing I was LOOKIN' for the novel, had already made up my mind to get the space novels written by Tanya Huff. Judging this or the other edition by its cover, I wouldn't have picked the book up.
I've read fantasy by Tanya Huff - The Summoning, The Second Summoning and enjoyed her fantasy novels quite a bit. Until Valor's Choice though, I've never read science Fiction by Tanya Huff. I was pleased with how much I enjoyed her take on space travel, warring between species, etc.
The main character of Valor's Choice is a marine staff sargeant Toren Kerr. She's a career marine, not totally in charge, and not totally subordinate either. It's nice to read about a character who isn't at the top of her field. This character is very capable at her job, which seems to be keeping her direct superior alive (if he's a good superior officer) and her troops in line.
Toren's troop has just come in from a battle where they had heavy casualties and have been recuperating when they're sent (out of rotation) on a theoretically easy assignment. To be an honor guard for a group of diplomats, on a diplomatic mission to get a recently discovered planet's inhabitants to sign on as allies to the federation. The federation seems to be in a constant war with the "Others", a particularly bloodthirsty species of warring enemies. But of course, things don't go according to plan...
The diplomatic mission goes wrong when they're shot down, and they end up holing up in the middle of a preserve with attacking natives....
The narration of the novel is pure Tanya Huff. She has a dry wit and humor that's fun to read. I don't "get" all the though process's that her characters arrive at, but that never gets to me as a reader, I just keep reading figure I'll understand it later (vague enough for your?) Just like dealing with other people in real life, I don't always understand how people come to their conclusions, but that's not always necessary. All the characters have distinct personalities, and there are a wide variety of characters. Some have sarcastic humor, some are stiff individuals, and some are downright pains in the asses. Huff has a way of mimimcking real life with her character's personalities. I enjoy it. I like the banter between characters, and the situations they get into.
If you have any attraction to military, or enjoy reading battles and skirmishes, then you'll enjoy this book. And of course, there is a great futuristic feel to it, space ships, healing tanks, regeneration of limbs, etc, and yet there are also real consenquences. with all the futuristic gadgets available people still die in battle.
I had fun reading about Toren and her troop, the situation they found themselves in and the battle they fought. I'm looking forward to reading more of these characters. Tanya Huff's writing is as professional as they get - she's had years of writing experience, and it shows. She writes a strong novel, with great characters and dialog. A joy to read.
I have started reading the next in the series, The Better Part of Valor.
*audio excerpt available, click on title above