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Like a Mighty Army: A Novel in the Safehold Series Hardcover – February 18, 2014
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About the Author
David Weber is a science fiction phenomenon and the author of the Safehold series, including By Schism Rent Asunder, By Heresies Distressed and A Mighty Fortress. His popular Honor Harrington and Honorverse novels-including Mission of Honor, At All Costs, and Torch of Freedom-are New York Times bestsellers and can't come out fast enough for his devoted readers. His other top-selling science fiction novels include Out of the Dark, the Dahak books and the Multiverse books, written with Linda Evans. He has also created an epic SF adventure series in collaboration with John Ringo, including We Few. His novels have regularly been Main Selections of the Science Fiction Book Club. Weber has a bachelor's degree from Warren Wilson College, and attended graduate school in history at Appalachian State University. He lives in South Carolina.
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Most of it could be summarized as "the war for Siddermark drags on, with Desnair finally showing up and some more Dohlarans developing competency."
I don't mind if the plot doesn't develop if the characters develop, but we see astonishingly little of the main (or even secondary) characters. Most of the time is spent with characters we haven't seen much of before.
The star of the book is a Dohlaran general who is trying to prevent a complete debacle. He's fairly interesting, and it's good to see someone other than Thirsk getting a clue on the enemy side, but we don't need all this repetitive battlefield stuff over places we haven't learned to care about, and between characters who are secondary or tertiary.
Merlin does get to play a few neat tricks, plus get one of his scenes where he gets to taunt an Inquisitor with the truth before killing him. More importantly, there is one extremely critical shock involving Merlin, but we don't spend enough time with the aftermath to see it pay off. There is also one extremely important shock involving Irys, but we don't spend enough time with the aftermath to see it play out. There is a little bit of political maneuvering by Duchairn, but nothing that really moves the tension in the group of four along. Most of the main characters seem to make at most cameo appearances. There are very few points of dramatic tension. There is nothing to rival the Sword of Schuler or the wave of suicide bombers or the desperate naval action to defend Tarot or the assassination attempts on Sharley or the discovery of the Key of Schuler or Earl Thirsk's successful innovations from earlier books.
If it weren't for the extremely important development with Merlin, I'd say to just skip this one. As it is, it's basically one gigantic prologue to whatever the next book is.
Oh, and there's a very interesting twist at the end, which leaves me highly optimistic that the next book will do a lot more than this one did.
This book is no different from the last book. We’re still fighting land battles in Siddarmark. However, at least, tides have turned from the last book and in this book Charisian forces are kicking the heck out of Church forces and their allies all over the Republic and it’s sweet justice to see. Additionally, there are two or three big plot twists, which should and probably will prove interesting in future books — all 45 of them, I’m sure — and the very end of the book is pretty cool and makes me want to read the next book immediately.
The same problems exist in this book, only more so. The naming conventions are still a nightmare. Changing all the vowels to consonants is insane, but Weber does it, so you have names like Wyllyys and junk like that. And that’s an easy one. He likes to throw as many “y,” “z” and “r” letters into names as possible as replacements for “i” and “e,” etc., and it is enough to make you want to kill the man. Then again, if you’ve made it this far in the series, I guess you’re used to it. I’m still irritated at all of the titles though. Everyone is a baron, earl, prince, upper priest, vicar, bishop, duke, princess, etc, and adding that to the names is enough to drive anyone nuts. Then there are Weber’s pet phrases that he uses repeatedly. Everyone “snorts.” I’ve never seen so many people snort in my entire life. It’s freaking insane. Everyone, including the women and girls, “bare their teeth.” Um, excuse me? This is my pet peeve, I admit, cause I’ve mentioned this in reviews of previous books in this series, but WEBER, no one bares their dang TEETH!!! Dogs bare their teeth. Wolves bare their teeth. HUMANS DO NOT BARE THEIR DARN TEETH!!! And he has to have every character in the book do it at least three times on probably every other page through all 900+ pages throughout the book. It’s brutal. To make matters worse, everyone — all of the bad guys and all of the good guys — do the following: when they are talking with people and, no matter how serious the topic, like they’re about to die in battle, they are for some reason possibly amused, their lips possibly “twitch.” Twitching lips. Oh my God! I must have read about twitching lips some 150 times in this book. Seriously, sometimes I wish Weber would have a fatal heart attack so I wouldn’t have to read this stuff anymore cause as long as he writes these Safehold books, I’m going to read them, cursing his name the entire time. But as much as I resent him, I love these books so much. And I’m not the only one who feels this way. Go through the online reviews. Most reviewers feel like me. Most hate Weber for his naming conventions, for his plodding pace, for his making this into a 40 book series, for his overused phrases, but everyone says they have to keep reading because it’s such an amazing story and they have to find out what happens and it’s true. It is. And I do. I just wish I could sometime this century. I’m hoping the war in Siddarmark will end sometime in the next three or four books. That will mean it will only have taken six books to get through this stupid war. Then we can move on to the Temple Lands and attack Zion and the Group of Four and unseat the Church. Sweet justice, then. Because of how this book ended, I’m anxious to begin the next one, as I said.
This book was good. There was plenty of action. A lot of battle action. A lot of tactics. Far too much about supply lines though. Far too much about gunpowder and the speed of bullets. Skip that stuff, Weber, and cut down on the book’s size for our sake, please. Just get to the action. Weber can do a battle like no other. He’s a master. He just gets bogged down in the tactical details from all sides and it’s agonizing at times. Also, one of the faults of this book is that there are so many minor characters and so many chapters and sections opening with minor characters that you have no idea who they are or what army they’re with or who they fight for or anything until you’ve read a little while and it’s annoying. Speaking of characters, again, there are far too many. At the back of the book, there are at least 80 pages of characters listed in an index, which is insane. I have no idea how Weber keeps track of them. I certainly can’t. I’ve said this before, and so have many other people, but he seriously needs several editors, because he obviously has none. This is a five star book with three star problems, thus earning it four stars. Similar to several other Safehold books. I wish Weber would learn from his mistakes and/or listen to his readers. I guess he’s too arrogant for that since he’s obviously making tens of millions of dollars from us. If you’re reading the series, the book is obviously recommended. If you’re not, don’t read it; begin with the first book. You won’t understand it if you don’t.