BOOK REVIEW: Uncompromising Honor, by David Weber

-Major spoilers abound for all books in the Honorverse. Click here for a full index of reviews-

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Publisher: Baen

Series: Honor Harrington (#14)

Genre: Military SF

Pages: 1106

Publication Date: 02/10/2018

Verdict: 3/5

 

Honor Harrington has been at war for almost her entire life, and she’s finally had enough of it. As the Solarian League steps up its campaign against Manticore, Honor readies for a decisive strike. One that will end either the war, or her own life . . .

So this is it. The fourteenth and final Honor Harrington novel. After two decades and over twenty books, the Honorverse finally reaches something close to a conclusion. The setting has had its ups and downs along the way, and there were times when I thought it had outsyaed its welcome. While Uncompromising Honor is nowhere near the heights of the series, it’s also a long way off the worst entries. It has much of what is wrong with the series, but also a fair deal of what drew me in in the first place.

For much of its thousand plus pages, Uncompromising Honor doesn’t feel terribly climactic. But it is dramatic. The Solarian League’s fall from beacon of civilsation to war criminals is fascinating, and worryingly understandable. I’ve had a few problems with the overall plot of the later books, but thankfully the Mesan Alignment plays a largely backstage role in this book. The focus is very much on Honor and the Solarian League.

In fact, I don’t think there’s been a book so focused on Honor in some time. It’s nice to see the series’ main character brought back to the front, and many familiar faces are by her side for one final battle. Refreshingly, there are essentially no new main characters introduced here. A surpise, yes, but a welcome one. It gives the reader time to enjoy seeing the conclusions of many characters plotlines.

Not everything is wrapped up though. While this book wraps up the Solarian-Manticore War, it does not fully resolve the threat of the Mesan Alignment. Weber’s afterword hints at more books to come, though they will not be a direct continuation of the main series. Still, the amount of wrapping up done here is astounding. Dozens of seemingly inconsequential matters from earlier on in the series are referenced here, to various degrees of importance.

As an aside, I was also astounded to see Weber make reference to Llandovery, the closes town to me. Seeing a tiny Welsh town mentioned in an American military SF is something I never expected to happen. I was tempted to give the book five stars for this alone.

Now that the Honor Harrington series is over, I can finally look back at it as a whole. there are still two prequels to read, and two more books confirmed for release, but this is a satisfying place to take stock for a while. The series starts of well, and I’ve no problem recommending those early books on their own merits. But the drag in the middle and the varying quality of the spin-offs mean I can’t recommend the series without a few caveats. Definitely a series worth looking into, but don’t be afraid to back out if you lose interest.

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