52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2004
The second book about Captain Honor Harrington follows the same model as its predecessor, "On Basilisk Station": Honor Harrington receives an assignment from the Kingdom of Manticore around a planet where the enemy Republic of Haven has political interests. Intrigue with natives and battles both on ground in the space follow, with Honor proving her command mettle in massive ship-to-ship duels written in precise and exciting language with extreme attention to technical details. If you liked "On Basilisk Station," you'll find more of the same enjoyment here.
This time, Honor heads to the planet of Grayson to oversee a strategically important treaty. There's a serious problem, however: Grayson was founded by religious fundamentalists who see women as inferior, and getting the people of the planet to trust her or take her seriously is difficult. Meanwhile, Grayson faces a war with a splinter faction that moved to another planet and is even more radical and dangerous -- and they are negotiating with the Republic of Haven and have secret plans to use Haven's technology to assist their dreams of conquering Grayson.
The ship battles are again excellent, and there are more of them than in the previous book. The best action scenes, however, are some great ground duels and marine battles -- author David Weber does a fine job keep the action varied. He also does good work with the conflict between Honor and the prejudiced people of Grayson, showing how they can overcome their bigotry. Weber adds many shades of gray to people we might accept as irredeemable when we first meet them. This dramatic conflict helps to flesh out what is otherwise a straightforward military science-fiction/space opera. Good fun.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2001
It's fair to call this (the second in the series) a very pivotal book, because the main character's entire future is completely transformed by its events. While the books are designed to stand alone well enough, the only way to understand some of the key relationships is to read them in sequence.
Religious and gender issues come to the forefront here, with Honor experiencing attitudes almost unheard of in her homeland. This is the only part of the book that is questionable in its consistency: Honor's emotional reaction to the situation is a little too emotional for someone supposedly raised in such an egalitarian society. Even allowing for a couple of very bad experiences in her career, and that words can hurt some people more than pulser fire, I can't see a character as strong as Honor taking her ball and going away--even briefly--just because the nasty sexists are rude to her. She's too strong a woman for that. However, that said, the remainder of the personal interaction picture in the book is creative, sensible and richly interesting. Weber is not afraid to have permanent consequences to characters and no one's future and health, not even Honor's, are certain.
Although Weber takes an awkward turn once in awhile, this is still some of the most engrossing space opera out there--especially in terms of a well-developed heroine who enjoys a growing position of authority and respect. This series will be of special interest to persons of the Christian faith; while the opening pages of this book make you think that you're on the way down the path of stereotyping, as the portrait of Grayson develops, even someone of entirely different beliefs (such as myself) comes to respect and like a lot about Graysons and their faith. Good stuff.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 1999
I was pleasantly surprised that the second book in this series was better than the first (which was awesome). The character development of Honor Harrington in the book is solid and deep. Action packed, good story. I passed this and other Honor Harrington books because of the female lead character. I made a BIG MISTAKE. The is one of the best sci-fi book I have read in a LONG time. Honor Harrington makes other space heros (Cpt. Kirk and company) look like whimps! But read On Basilisk Station first.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2002
David Weber has created Science fiction's equivalent of C.S. Forrestor's Horatio Hornblower saga with his ongoing saga of his heroine, Honor Harrington. With her faithful, and empathic, treecat Nimitz, this series is a true delight. This is swashbuckling, space opera sci-fi at its best, with excellent characters, a vibrant universe, complete with an intriguing socio-political plot which drives the overall plot of the background of this fascinating universe.
"The Honor of the Queen," the 2nd novel in the Honor Harrington weries, takes place a couple of years after the events of "On Basilik Station." Honor has command of the cruiser Fearless, an up-to-date modern heavy cruiser, and is given command of a small squadron of ships to take on a dilpomatic mission to the planet Grayson in the Yeltsin system. Honor's Star Kingdom of Manticore is seeking allies against the People's Republic of Haven (Peeps) which has been funding its welfare-state economy by conquering and looting worlds.
The good news for Honor is that the diplomatic mission is commanded by her mentor, Admiral Raoul Courvosier, detached from the Navy to the Foreign Office for this mission. The bad news: Grayson is a feudal planet, a planet founded by religious zealots, a planet where women don't even have the right to vote, and equality of the sexes is unheard of. to say nothing of the idea of women serving in the military. And no one's told the Graysons that the Manticoran commanding officer is a woman.
It's bad enough that Honor has to deal with sexism form the Graysons, but even worse, Grayson's long standing war with the far more extreme and repressive zealots who live on the planet Massada is heating up, dramatically. Even worse, the Peeps are attempting to take advantage of the situation.
This is a truly enjoyable novel, with a high fun factor. Mr. Weber does a nice job of portraying the conflicted nature of much of the Grayson high command, and he takes the relationship between Honor and Nimitz even further than before. Mr. Weber's chaacters are fascinating, and a number of characters introduced in this novel will be recurring characters throughout this series.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2001
This episode (the second) in the Honor Harrington series, introduces us to the Grayson planet and society. I find this author's imagination both interesting and thought provoking (not to diminish any action drama for you action addicts).
This Grayson society will make you think regardless of you own belief structure. Being a "heathen" I enjoyed the idea of "God the Tester".
Honor's character continues to evolve through out this series and does so in this episode along with others collected along the way. We also are introduced to some Peep characters which we will find in other stories of this space saga.
I have read reviews of David Weber criticizing this series covers. While I tend to agree that the covers could make readers wonder if this is a typical "cheesy" work, let me unequivocally state that this author is incapable of cheese (write your complaints to the editor, not the author).
For all those "wantabescientist - like me (my expertise is in embedded software)" this author takes the time and (no small amount) of effort to define his science in this universe. For me I respect that in a Sci-Fi author.
In summery (in case you haven't noticed) I enjoy reading this author and this series and would have rated this as 4 1/2 stars if it was available (five if I already did not know there are better to follow).
40 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 1999
David Weber's Honor Harrington's are an enjoyable retelling of the story of Horatio Nelson, set in space, with his main character, Honor Harrington, paralleling the life of Nelson. The details are good, the books are exciting, and the character of Honor an interesting one.
The books have a few minor flaws. Weber's writing can be clunky in spots (though the books are exciting enough that it's easy to ignore this). What I tend to find a tad more annoying is that all the folks we run into who are against Honor (the military enemies as well as the lowlifes she meets in her own Navy) are clearly bad guys. I tend to prefer the Patrick O'Brian approach, where not all the French naval officers we encounter are villians. Despite this, though, the books are still good ones. Their strong points make up for their weak ones.
One final note on book ratings here at Amazon. If I really liked the book, why did I give it 3 stars? My rating system tends to be that 5 stars are reserved for the best of the best -- War and Peace, Don Quixote, and so on. 4 stars are for "this is a very, very good book," and three stars are "this is an above average book, a fun read." Clearly others on the list use the Amazon rating system differently than I do. (I also prefered their old 1 to 10 rating system, under which I'd have probably given The Honor of the Queen a 7.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Though she's a woman and not a diplomat, Honor Harrington, the highly competent and well-respected Manticoran Navy Captain, has been assigned a diplomatic mission to a planet run by a patriarchal religious cult. Why would the Manticorans send an aggressive woman with no diplomatic skills on this type of mission? There's only one possible reason: to try to make The Honor of the Queen more interesting...
I wasn't thrilled with On Basilisk Station, the first book in the Honor Harrington series, because there was too much exposition about military tactics and spaceship dynamics and Honor was too perfect and seemed cold and distant. I decided to read The Honor of the Queen because I already had purchased it in audio and I was hoping Honor would be more relatable as we got to know her better. Actually, she does seem more human, going on an almost murderous rampage at one point and becoming teary-eyed at another. Weber begins to make it clear that Honor has emotions, but we rarely see them and she's such a Mary Sue that it's difficult to feel comfortable with her. Even her homicidal rampage was more righteous than reckless.
But my biggest issue with the Honor Harrington series is that the plots so far (I've read only the first two books), though exciting at times (e.g., the big space battles at the ends) are constantly being interrupted by dull exposition about base and closing velocities, acceleration rates, missile weights, engagement times, energy ranges, magazine sizes, projected courses, etc.
This material does not have to be dull. As I read, I kept comparing it to Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin (Master and Commander) novels which have analogous plots (just at sea instead of in space). Those books contain a lot of information about warships and naval tactics, but they are immensely entertaining because the protagonists are real people with interests, hobbies, relationships, problems and faults.
To be fair to David Weber, it is certainly possible that my disappointment is partially caused by Allyson Johnson's narration of the audiobooks. Her voices are pleasant, but she uses little inflection. I downloaded a free print copy of The Honor of the Queen at the Baen Free Library and read several pages that I thought were dull in the audio version. They were better in my head than they were on audio, but I still found myself skimming over some of the exposition (which is difficult to do with an audiobook). I'm not sure that any narrator is skilled enough to make The Honor of the Queen exciting for me or to get me past the glaring problem with the premise of Honor being sent as a diplomat to a misogynist society.
I think I'm finished with Honor Harrington, which is too bad because I spent one of my Audible credits on the third book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2005
In my opinion, this second book is better than On Basilisk Station. Weber seems to be more confident in his characters and his writing style. The dialogue and the story unfold at a much more natural pace and there is hardly any techno-babble (which was the biggest sore spot for me in the first book).
I don't read book summaries anymore (they give as much away as theatrical previews, if not more), so I had no idea what the plot was about. When it became obvious that Honor would be dealing with a backwater planet full of sexist religious fanatics, I groaned. It's become pretty standard fare for SF/Fantasy to take real world examples of religious fools and use a broad brush to paint all religious people as such. Fortunately, Weber proves to be more subtle than that and goes to great lengths to demonstrate how having misguided notions (fostered through many generations in isolation) doesn't necessarily make one a completely worthless individual. There are good men on this backwater planet who are trying to do their best according to the ways they've been taught. In fact, he even turns the tables just a tad and shows how arrogant and self-righteous those who are "enlightened" can be. He's not afraid to let his hero, Honor, make stupid decisions based on her own pride and preconceived notions.
Of course, this does not even touch on the overall plot, which I won't bother to summarize, but I liked it. The continuity with the first book is there but not off-putting and the characters actually appear to be changing in realistic ways. Still wouldn't rank him up with Bujold (while Weber's plotting and characterization are fine and he builds realistic characters, his use of language simply doesn't compare), but there's nothing wrong with that. He writes a good story and, ultimately, that's what counts.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2004
Thus is the 2nd volume of the lengthy Honor Harrington sage, now up to 10 volumes and still far from complete. Honor is a Captain (later Admiral) in the space Navy of the Star Kingdom of Manticore, which is under attack by the larger Republic of Haven. The series is based to a large extent on the popular Horatio Hornblower novels, and the background history accordingly based on the Napoleonic wars.
This installation finds Honor sent to protect Grayson, a relatively weak world allied to Manticore. Grayson was founded by religious reactionaries; its traditional enemy Masada by even more extreme conservatives of the same sect. So it's a society where women are expected to be subservient. There is also little tradition of technological innovation, so the Grayson fleet is backwards and of limited value when Haven sends a fleet of modern ships to ally with Masada. But Honor is assigned to hold the situation in check with, as usual, a grossly inadequate force. The story builds to a concusion where Honor will be forced to fight a battle against a hugely superior enemy, something of a stock plot for the Harrington series, especially the early entrants. The subplots focus on Grayson domestic politics and a conspiracy to assassinate the Protector, the Grayson head of state.
Both the strengths and weaknesses of the book are those of the series. Honor is an attractive character and the Grayson society is interesting. The story is suspenseful and exciting, making for a good read. On the negative side, Weber has worked out in detail all the technical aspects of the ships and weaponry he is describing, and he doesn't let any of that work go to waste. I once heard an experienced SF editor advise would-be writers to work out the background for their stories in detail and then not directly use most of it. The fact that you have thought it out will give it a realistic feel, while you avoid boring the reader with excessive exposition. Good advice, which Weber fails to use. He goes into ship sizes, throw weights, and relative velocities with such loving detail that some passages read almost like a parody of the excesses of hard SF.
The political preaching in this novel is also unnecessary. In Weber's universe, welfare is almost literally the root of all evil. The generous welfare system of Haven is portrayed as having wrecked the economy; the military aggressiveness is seen as a direct result of the weak economy, forcing Haven to conquer more productive worlds in order to generate the wealth needed to keep up the dole payemnts for the Haven core worlds. This is explained in almost identical expository sermons in each of the first several Honor Harrington novels. The identical fervor of the same speech repeating in several volumes left Weber at monemts in danger of turning into the John Norman of the hard SF fraternity. Fortunately, Weber ultimately avoided that temptation and no longer gives the same set sppech in each novel. And, of course, he can write better than the execrably leaden prose of Norman.
The flaws give the book some moments of awkwardness, but Weber is smart enough to get back to the story before things get too boring. So I can give this book a solid recommendation in spite of the faults. It can be read without having read the prior volume, "On Basilisk Station".
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2000
This book is an excellent piece of work, both from the perspective of character development and from the perspective of technical details. Weber develops highly enjoyable characters of considerable depth, but manages to include enough data regarding technological considerations to actually provide a plausible "guesstimate" of what future military personnel may face as humanity goes out into space. He also includes some interesting speculative sociology, as the star nation Honor Harrington is trying to help are the descendents of extremely conservative fundamentalist Christians, with some very outmoded and counterproductive ideas regarding the "proper place" of women in society. One of the most interesting themes in the book revolves around the mutual discomfort that Harrington and her prospective allies feel toward each other, and how this gradually evolves to respect. Do yourself a favor and read this book!