Into the Fire by Elizabeth Moon

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Mad Mountain Man
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This is a difficult book for me to review. I thought it largely fell apart about halfway through, but I gather Moon suffered some sort of serious concussion during the writing of this book (She makes an unspecific reference to it in the acknowledgements at the end) and it may be that that caused a shift in the cohesion of the book.

Into the Fire is the second in the Vatta’s Peace series. In the aftermath of the events in Cold Welcome, there are unexplained lost pieces of evidence and missing survivors from Miksland, whilst Ky and Rafe have their own problems distracting them.

The first half of this book was very good, rather more cerebral than the previous book, with a greater emphasis on politics and family relationships and much less action. Some might not like this but I found I preferred it; it felt much less YA than the previous book and it still built up to some good action. However, it then all started to loose cohesion and lacked plausibility. For example, two ships known to be carrying enemy forces are tracked sailing towards the Port Major harbour giving everyone plenty of time to prepare but, instead of tackling them either at sea or as they are docking and trying to land their troops, they wait and set up an elaborate ambush plan that had so many possible failure points and would have resulted in far more civilian collateral damage. Tactically, I simply could not see any good reason for this. And there were many other equally odd decisions/actions/plans. It all felt very disjointed and just plain odd. Totally different to the much tighter and better first half.

In the acknowledgements Moon states “This book was written under difficult circumstances, mostly physical…with my slowness or clumsiness…Things are improving.” But ultimately, and sadly, this is irrelevant to how any book must stand on its own when being read. So, it is difficult; I found the first half a very good solid four stars but the second half a poor three stars. I believe there is another book coming eventually and I may give that a go.



3/5 stars
 

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