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Reading log: Lee & Miller, Balance of Trade

BN.com delivered on Balance of Trade on Wednesday. (Though the dust jacket has a small hole in the spine--need to write Customer Service and see if they will replace it.) I promptly put down the library copy of Julia Spencer-Fleming's A Fountain Filled with Blood in which the heroine had just made a teeth-grinding TSTL move, and went back to the Liaden universe.

It was a good read--I enjoyed Jethri's story, and the expanded (beyond the chapbook) view of Terran-Liaden relations at a much earlier point in time than the Agent of Change series. I did find that things were not as well wrapped up as I'd have liked at the end. I'm not usually one to complain too hard about this, barring a cliff-hanger ending. But BoT seemed to have several big threads that got only minimal resolution: the Old Tech (is it going to be destroyed? or studied and lead to some of the tech later in the timeline?), the suspected pirate base, Grig's uncle's operation, the whole clone thing, etc. I last felt this...unresolved...after reading one of Elizabeth Moon's middle Serrano Legacy books, where there were squid all over the mantlepiece that were left there, drying, at the end of the book. At least that one was an announced series (though I still felt the book was poorly constructed to have fed me that much information on a plot line that didn't go anywhere in that book)--here's hoping Lee and Miller will come back to Jethri's time soon. Though it won't be until after the two books on the Great Migration, I assume.

One other niggle is about Jethri's guild card--it seemed to me that Norn ven'Deelin was going to a good bit of trouble to let Jethri be evaluated and allowed into the guild without her appearing to have influenced the decision. When she appears at the end and personally gives him his card, it felt wrong, not in line with what I thought what going on. Perhaps this will make more sense on a re-read, but at the moment my copy had been loaned to my sister-in-law.

In the meantime, the Spencer-Fleming does not call me back to finish it, so I've picked up Scout's Progress for a little skimming of the good bits.


Nancy Barber

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February 2018


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