Customer Reviews


178 Reviews
5 star:
 (52)
4 star:
 (36)
3 star:
 (40)
2 star:
 (27)
1 star:
 (23)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth your time!
The Protector's War is a very good read. The first book in the series, Dies the Fire, was better and I expect the 3rd book will also be better. But it's the middle book of a trilogy and by definition it needs to stretch the story, introduce new conflicts and characters and interweave a lot of plot lines without coming to any definite conclusions. Despite these expected...
Published on March 31, 2006 by Drew

versus
97 of 117 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dammit, Steve, Get an Editor!!!
I have been impatiently waiting for this book ever since Dies the Fire came out. I have to say I am disappointed. There are parts of the book that are WONDERFUL and there are what appear to be huge chunks missing from the plot and from the story, as if the editor (or Stirling himself) took an axe to the manuscript.

Lakaeditn is an old Hawaiian illness peculiar...
Published on September 11, 2005 by Walt Boyes


‹ Previous | 1 218 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

97 of 117 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dammit, Steve, Get an Editor!!!, September 11, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have been impatiently waiting for this book ever since Dies the Fire came out. I have to say I am disappointed. There are parts of the book that are WONDERFUL and there are what appear to be huge chunks missing from the plot and from the story, as if the editor (or Stirling himself) took an axe to the manuscript.

Lakaeditn is an old Hawaiian illness peculiar to extremely successful authors, similar to lakanookie, a disease peculiar to geeky kids.

What I think is that this book should have been edited much better.

For example, the book abruptly switches from Stirling's normal, and very well done, linear exposition mode, to retrograde exposition where the point of view starts to shift and then returns to the omniscient editor. Each time this happens, the book seems to start over. It is as if Stirling wrote four or five versions of the same book, and then shuffled the pages of the ms. together and sent it to the editor.

The thing that bothers me the most is that the book could have been and should have been one of the best books Steve Stirling has ever written. His writing style has improved, and his infatuation with kinky sex for the sake of kinky sex has been reduced to normal levels.

In addition, the bad guys become less like scary sociopaths and cardboard villains, and become real people. To be able to make us care about the Lord Protector and his wife, and about King Charles III is terrific writing.

Now I can go back to waiting to find out what really happens in the Protector's War, which still hadn't started by the epilogue.

Walt Boyes

The Bananaslug. at Baen's Bar
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Liked, but did not love it, September 25, 2005
SM Stirling is one of my top 5 sci fi authors. I honestly liked this book very quite a bit.

The Good:

The introduction of the British characters and the story of their travel from England to America. SM Stirling's clear writing style. Mr. Stirling's always great battle scenes.

The not as good:

The key to some of the complaints here stem from the pagan folks becoming one of the dominant forces in society. I found myself skipping through most of the sections invovlving the Wiccans and the invoking of their various entities, it really stretched my disbelief to the breaking point. The consolation is that this is fiction and in fiction anything is possible.

Overall:

This book has a lot to reccomend it by. It continues the saga of all our pals from Dies the Fire. I would have preferred the focus to be less on the Wiccan folk though. They're kind of annoying.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars two point five but just disappointing!, October 12, 2005
Well, I really didn't want to write a negative review of an S. M. Stirling novel; Mr. Stirling lives just up the road from me, is a fellow Newfie and shares many interests such as martial arts and history. I have enjoyed his books for many years.

That said, `The Protector's War' was really a disappointment. A disappointment because Mr. Stirling doesn't appear to have read any of the Amazon reviews of the first book in this series, "Dies the Fire." Large numbers of reviewers, myself included, commented on our dislike of all the Wiccan claptrap, of the negative portrayal of Christianity, and especially of the all-too-convenient emergence of handy characters and skill sets just when needed.

In volume two of this trilogy-to-be, these flaws are compounded by semi-flashbacks and a glacial pace of action. Really, we don't need to know about every trailside weed, especially if that knowledge comes at the cost of a molasses-like plot. Honestly, pretty much nothing happens in the first half of the book that couldn't be dealt with in a recap-forward and a couple tightly written paragraphs.

Yes, "The Protector's War' has strengths. It does a good recap, it is meticulous, and it is honest. All the favored characters from the first volume are back, and we are nicely brought up to date with the nine-years later plot. Also, although the editors didn't do great on this book, they restrained the author's tendency to write a lot of unconventional sex into his books.

I do hate to bust chops, but I really suggest Mr. Stirling go to some ghost towns (there are plenty near his home), abandoned industrial sites, old farms, and on some nature walks. Sorry, but nature does not reclaim buildings, roads, and infrastructure at a fraction of the speed he postulates. Who among us hasn't found a forty year old building still standing or a decades abandoned road quite passable. And that's in temperate climates!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, November 12, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was really looking forward to this because I enjoyed Dies The Fire so much but this just wasn't very good. For starters, I hated the jumping around in the second half of the book, partly because the first half was fairly linear and then out of no where, time suddenly starts jumping around. I could get past that if the story had been more interesting but this is clearly just an extensive set up to "A Meeting In Corvallis". There's no war with the Protector, and one of the few positive things I can say is that I liked that the Protector was fleshed out a little and not just a raging badass. The Wiccan stuff on it's own didn't bother me at all, but I do find the mass conversion of the area somewhat impplausible. Everyone just abandoning Christianity leaving just a minority in the Mackenzie lands seemed unlikely considering that Sutterdown had a much higher population than the Mackenzie clan. Signe as a jealous murderous bitch didn't do much for me either and the endless cutesy referencing of Tolkien just grated on me. (I know Tolkien is popular, but it's not that popular and not that beloved) Over all I think society is a lot more resilent than to completely collapse into mythology in under ten years.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly; okay, not slightly, QUITE disappointed., April 26, 2006
This review is from: The Protector's War (Hardcover)
First of all; for a book about a Protector's War, there's very little war. There are just a few skirmishes and a kidnapping. The rest of the book was a babbling tangle of political infighting and conversations--as well as a predictable arrival of love interests from England. I do enjoy descriptive writing, especially when it involves the Northwest; however, much like Conquistador, there's simply too much of it sometimes, and it tends to take away from the plot. I do enjoy knowing that zoo animals now comprise the wildlife of this new world, but hearing it ten zillion times does get slightly old.

This book was a labour to finish. I kept expecting something to happen; and something actually did, on the final few pages, and then I was left hanging. That's a cruel device I thought this author might be above inflicting on his readers. It cannot hurt you to read this if you're want for something to keep your brain occupied (but active and engaged... I am doubtful those will be inspired by this book); however in truth, you probably won't miss much between Dies the Fire and Meeting at Corvallis (chapters of which have already been posted online)if you decide to skip this book. I'm sure other postings and reviews will summarize the new characters and drudging, and tiny forward movement of the continuing plot.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is Not A Whole Book, September 19, 2005
By 
J. Kaplan "j__kaplan" (Virginia, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I love S.M. Stirling and alternative history in general. But when he wrote the Islands in the Sea of Time novels, he at least made distinctive breaks so that each book stood on its own. This book can not stand on its own. Too many major questions are left unanswered. It may encourage us to buy the next book, but I am frustrated that I am left not knowing if some of the major characters developed by Stirling will even be ALIVE in the next book.

Unlike another reviewer, I do not have a problem with the culture developing so quickly after the Change in both governments and beliefs. But while I can see that the Wiccans might believe one thing, and Christians another, the credibility of the story was hurt by the near factual basis of divine intervention by the Wiccan deities. We don't see the Holy Trinity intervening when the Bearkillers invoke Jesus - why should we see the Lord and Lady as actual characters interacting with Juniper? He would have been better to leave it to us to decide if the Wiccan religeon is true or not.

All in all, I enjoy his writing and am enjoying this series - but am frustrated by some of the turns this book took without actually reaching the climax.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect a war..., May 8, 2007
By 
R. Meints (Dearborn, MI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Protector's War: A Novel of the Change (Change Series) (Mass Market Paperback)
I got very excited about this trilogy after reading the first book "Dies the Fire". That book showed how quickly society could collapse if one day all modern technology stopped working. 99% of the population starves, succumbs to disease, or dies preying upon one another, all with very well described reasons and situations. This second book in the trilogy picks up 8 or 9 years after "The Change" happened. Setting aside some of the author's use of flashback, overly flowery descriptions, and fairly limited character development, the book just never seemed to get its act together.

I haven't read much about the author's background, but he seems to have a deep interest in and respect for the Society of Creative Anachronism, Wiccans, Tolkien, and a few other similar modern fantasy elements. In short, if you are into those things, the future is very bright, you'll do well, and life will become a never-ending medieval renaissance festival.

It gets a bit tiresome to watch hundreds of pages worth of story keep demonstrating that people have gone from barely scraping together enough food to eat and fighting off all sorts of dangers to now spending most of their time living an idyllic medieval life of singing songs, quoting fluent gaelic, showing off gold-medal archery skills, jousting, maintaining elaborate armor, and carving totem poles.

Having a struggling single mom go from singing folk music at bars to leading a pseudo-highland clan society of thousands in but a few years is a bit of a stretch. Her society has no internal strife. Her people have plenty of food to eat, even though few grew up as farmers. They are excellent archers, even though using the English longbow can take a lifetime of physical practice to reach mediocrity. Nobody questions her right to rule. Nobody seems to fall out with their neighbors, practice any deceit for personal gain, waste time on pointless fueds over honor, covet their neighbor's wife, or fail at something. They probably don't have the time since they spend it all brewing beer, learning sign language, poetically spouting gaelic verse, adjusting their ornate kilts, adjusting their flat scots bonnets, planning the Harvest festival, and such.

The bad guys fare much worse. They can't really do anything right. The "Protector" is too busy being a cardboard villian. As a former history professor he seems fixated on being a cross between the hollywood version of the tyrannical King John of Robin Hood myth and Tolkien's Sauron. He builds huge armies, makes his peasants wear bulky big spikey slave collars, and never misses the chance to torture, lie, or sneer. Yet, for all his might, he can't seem to handle a few hippy communes of folk singers and military vets, even though the bad guys outnumber them several times over. He can build huge concrete castles and manufacture a million crossbows, but he certainly can't fight a border war, or plant agents to sow dissent, sabotage and strife.

Heaven forbid the bad guys have any good qualities, or the good guys have any foibles. What started out as a great series has lost its way with this second installment.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little Disappointed, September 13, 2005
I was really looking forward to this book and I read all of it as soon as I obtained it, but it did not capture my imagination the way "Dies the Fire" did. The first 10 to 12 Chapters were first rate, but I felt the whole Wiccan religion side of the story was way over done. I really liked the details in the first book about re-learning old ways, or the re-inventing of weapons and technology that would work under the new realities, but that was pretty much ignored in this book. I really liked the new English characters and how they added world wide perspective of the effects of "The Change" to the story. I also hated how the story ended before the premise of the title "The Protectors War" even started. I'm hoping the next book in the series will provide more action and adventure and do a better job of capturing the original book's magic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The title is a lie, but other than that...., November 30, 2005
Getting better with this one... Readable if not high enjoyment.

It may not be really 3 stars, but compared to the first one, it

sure seems like it.

Stirling fixed some of the prior problems

-- toned down the SCA and Wiccan love-fest

-- and the frequent convenient coincidences....

And added some new improvements

-- the characterizations seem much better done here

-- the effect on islands and the wider world is brought in

-- beginnings of military manuvers seem better done...

Though there are still a couple remaining

-- a bit of a slow pace for me,

-- and still going on a bit over what's for lunch all the time

The biggest new oddity is that time flows oddly.

Not just that the flow of the text is a bit choppy cutting

back-and-forth, but that the time portrayed does not seem to

match up well.

-- The decay of buildings and the globe-trotting Brits all

seem to happen a bit fast, more in line with a 20 years-later than just a half-dozen.

-- Meanwhile, that they are just now figuring out what happened

to the machines or that they are ramping up to a war seems more

like 1 year later rather than a half-dozen.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Volume 1 (Dies the Fire), October 21, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Protector's War: A Novel of the Change (Change Series) (Mass Market Paperback)
Confidence is generally a good thing, but if taken too far, it becomes cockiness. With The Protector's War, S.M. Stirling's sequel to his entertaining Dies the Fire, the author walks the line between confidence and cockiness, falls on the wrong side and creates a weaker book as a result. This is not a bad book, but it is not really good either.

The essential problem with The Protector's War is that not all that much goes on in its nearly six hundred pages. As the second book in a trilogy, Stirling has made this volume mostly a set-up for the final novel, A Meeting at Corvallis. It's like watching the pre-game to the Super Bowl. It may have its moments, but generally it's a lot of talk and you're merely killing time to the main event. (By contrast, Dies the Fire is like regular season football: exciting to watch, even if it isn't conclusive.) Only a writer that is seemingly overconfident would treat his readers to such a book.

While not much really happens in this book, it's not completely actionless. As the book opens, it's nine years after the Change, the event chronicled in Dies the Fire in which essentially all technology broke down. People have adapted somewhat by the ninth year, but things have in many ways gone medieval. In particular, Norman Arminger has set up the Protectorate around Portland, an old-style feudal empire in which he is the absolute (and brutal) overlord. Outside his little empire, other communities have developed that are more benevolent, in particular, the Bearkillers, led by protagonist Mike Havel, and Clan MacKenzie, headed by Wiccan Juniper MacKenzie. These smaller societies are linked together as allies as they face the encroaching shadow of the Protectorate.

Thrown into the mix in this second volume is British soldier Nigel Loring who has fled his own problems (with his son and another soldier) and joins Mike and Juniper after a close encounter with Arminger. There are a few sporadic battles and some minor soap opera intrigues, but even these don't really advance the overall story much.

There are other issues with this book that will dissatisfy many readers. It takes fifty pages before any familiar characters from Dies the Fire appear. The early pages are instead dedicated to Loring and his tribulations, testing the patience of those who want to know what is going on with Mike and Juniper. Indeed, as Loring and company are really secondary characters, they probably don't need to occupy as much of the book as they do. Another issue is Stirling's constant jumping around in time, which for the most part is not needed and merely muddles the narrative.

Despite these flaws, Stirling actually is a decent writer who just needed to execute his storytelling abilities better.. While I give this book a low three stars, I still recommend it to those who enjoyed the first book. The disappointments in this book are not enough to completely give up on the trilogy. I only hope volume three delivers the big payoff that seems implied in this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 218 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Protector's War: A Novel of the Change (Change Series)
The Protector's War: A Novel of the Change (Change Series) by S. M. Stirling (Mass Market Paperback - September 5, 2006)
$7.99
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.