RogerBW's Blog

The Lost Fleet: Valiant, Jack Campbell 08 July 2014

Fourth of a six-book series. In the distant future, a long-frozen space-navy captain tries to lead his fleet home.

More of the same but a slight improvement after book three.

We get less of the explodey spaceships this time, though they're still there, and more of the fleet's internal politics; it becomes clear that at long last someone among Geary's enemies is vaguely competent at running a conspiracy and silencing people who might blab.

I was slightly disappointed to see that the good guys' wild speculation about the mysterious aliens' history with the Syndics turned out to be exactly right. There are heroes who always make the right decision based on the information available, and then there are heroes who could flip coins and still be correct every time; Geary and his faction now seem to be in the latter category.

It's now clear that the hypernet system cannot have been even slightly understood by any of the politicians on either side who authorised huge amounts to be spent on its construction. It's as daft as a confessed homoeopath being put in charge of pharmacy policy.

Characterisation is still a lick of paint and, if you're lucky, a single character trait. There's a bit of background detail but one certainly doesn't feel that anyone here is an actual person. The romance angle continues to feel like soap-operatic maundering and angst, with characters shifting as needed to keep up the vague impression of tension; it's the most annoying feature of the series, for me.

With Courageous, this is clearly a middle volume that can't be allowed to advance to plot too far, and I hope for better in the final two books. This is definitely not a series to read at one gulp; one should intersperse other books, or it'll become wearing.

Followed by Relentless.

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See also:
The Lost Fleet: Dauntless, Jack Campbell
The Lost Fleet: Fearless, Jack Campbell
The Lost Fleet: Courageous, Jack Campbell
The Lost Fleet: Relentless, Jack Campbell
The Lost Fleet: Victorious, Jack Campbell

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