Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Notes: Lee & Miller's "Saltation" and "Mouse & Dragon"

I recently recommended Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Liaden books to a young friend, saying:
. . . Lee & Miller's books are awesomely fun, just because they have no compunction about giving their heroes absolutely every virtue they possibly can. The hero's a stunningly talented pilot! And swordsman! And linguist! Oh, yeah, and he's an aristocrat! And has piles of money! And is a spy! And outrageously handsome! And did we mention he's a talented telepath? :D Their stories just overflow with adventure and swashbuckling and joie-de-vivre. They're ridiculously unlikely, but I love 'em.
The two most recent efforts from the husband and wife team, "Saltation" and "Mouse & Dragon", were terribly fun, especially as they filled in some gaps that have piqued this faithful reader's curiosity for years. What did Daav yos'Phelium do during his missing decades? Who is Theo Waitley? How did Daav and Aelianna fall in love? These two volumes answer those questions.

I liked "Saltation" well, and "Mouse & Dragon" less well . . . the latter just didn't have enough plot, and was too moony a romance for my liking. I'm glad to know what happened in that part of the story, but I don't think I'll reread it quite as often as I reread their other work.
However, though I think that Lee & Miller's entirely edible prose, ridiculously talented characters & sense of fun would carry the day with any reader who happened to pick up "Saltation", I'd strongly recommend against starting with it if you haven't read any of their other books. "Saltation" was a lot of fun to read, but I don't think it'd be nearly as much fun to a new reader, who wouldn't get the enjoyment of having gaps in a favorite fictional universe filled.
But, since the Liaden books are a delight, I do recommend picking them up. Start with "Conflict of Honors" or, better yet, "Agent of Change."
As Lars Walker* says, the usual cautions for adult situations apply. Liaden morality doesn't equal mine, but within their fictional society, Lee & Miller's characters are strongly ethical and moral people - heroes, in fact. (And master traders, scouts, swordsmen, pilots, mathematicians and all the rest.)
Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell
*Read Lars Walker too. His stuff is like the Vikings meets Stephen Lawhead peppered with a bit of "That Hideous Strength".

1 comment:

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Oh yay! I need to request those from the library now! :)