Series Perspective: David Weber’s Honorverse

  1. On Basilisk Station
  2. The Honor of the Queen
  3. The Short Victorious War
  4. Field of Dishonor
  5. Flag in Exile
  6. Honor Among Enemies
  7. In Enemy Hands
  8. Echoes of Honor
  9. Ashes of Victory
  10. War of Honor
  11. At All Costs

It has been a little over a year since I started this series and it has been, on the whole, an entertaining ride.  It is hard coming at a review from this angle so bear with me here.

Honor Harrington starts off as a Captain in the Royal Navy of Manitcore.  For 11 books she is beaten, abused, triumphant, exalted, loved and hated by people in no less than three star systems, fights enemies both foreign and domestic, and grows along the way.  Across the eleven books readers follow what is essentially the ongoing struggle between the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the People’s Republic of Haven.  Set amidst the backdrop of interstellar war and politics is the very human story of Honor’s maturation from green Captain to important personage.  Indeed both the political and military aspects of the novel work in tandem with the emotional development of Honor’s character to create a compelling narrative tension that drives you forward from book to book.  Emotion certainly plays a strong part in the series at large thanks to Honor’s bond to a treecat named Nimitz.  Treecats, sentient cat-like creature that are both empathic and telepathic, form strong bonds with humans.  While not true in the early books Honor’s bond (contrary to other people’s bonds) allows her to sense the emotions of other people through Nimitz’s own empathic abilities.  While animal-human bonding is a hallmark of fantasy literature (Hobb’s Farseer trilogies come to mind) Weber provides a fascinating and engaging twist in a sci-fi environment, in the process creating a society of creatures that could perhaps stand on its own in a wholly seperate series.

I would argue that the first five novels offer the strongest outing by Weber, with the best elements of personal tragedy and grand scale action managed in a taught well-paced narratives.  Later in the series things start to suffer a bit from page bloat, copious infodumps, and occaisonally unnecessary recaps.  That last of course comes with a small caveat since, having read the novels over the course of some 13 to 14 months, the narrative was typically fresh in my mind.  Of the later novels both Echoes of Honor and Ashes of Victory suffer most from the info dump.  Characters grow long winded in discussion or, where they are brief, are interupted mid-dialalogue for lengthy sections of exposition that brings the pace to a screeching halt.  However the later novels also feature some of the best battle scenes, and Weber’s command of space naval combat is something worth reading.  Furthermore War of Honor has some of the most politically interesting story elements of any of the novels and tames some of the exposition down a bit.

Regardless of the weaker narrative in the late volumes I have enjoyed my foray into the ‘honorverse’ and would recommend it to anyone interested in grand scale epic space opera.  As Novelist was my initial introduction to the series (Novelist is a reader’s advisory service provided by Ebsco host and typically available in most medium-large public libraries) I feel obligated to point out that their recomemdation that fans of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorksokian might also like Honor Harrington was right on the money.  Like the Vorksogian series Weber’s Honorverse features a strong dose of the romantic that occaisonally slides into the melodramatic but never threatens to overwhelm the narrative, in fact Honor’s bond with Nimitz often takes what could be construed as melodramatic and makes it a far more potent element of conflict.

While I’ve been using my library to borrow all of these books I should hasten to point out that they are available for free online.  With the release of At All Costs Baen published a CD of Weber’s books that has since made it’s way online. Anyway as I said this is a fun, space opera, adventure series well worth a look for any genre fan.

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One thought on “Series Perspective: David Weber’s Honorverse

  1. Pingback: Review: Mission of Honor by David Weber « King of the Nerds!!!

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