Lee, Sharon, and Steve Miller: (01-03) Partners in Necessity (omnibus of Conflict of Honors; Agent of Change; Carpe Diem)

Finished the fat omnibus, Partners in Necessity by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. This consists of three previously-published novels in the Liaden universe, Conflict of Honors, Agent of Change, and Carpe Diem.

These remind me a little bit of the Mageworlds books, in that they’re (co-written) family-centered space opera with magic/paranormal bits. They aren’t exactly like, as they’re more, hmmm, straightforward than Mageworlds—that is, so far all of the people who look like bad guys, are. They also focus a bit more heavily on the emotional wounds and scars of the main characters. I really enjoyed them, though (as I do the Mageworlds books).

Conflict of Honors is first in chronological order, second in publication order, and a standalone about how two of the characters met. The next two, Agent of Change and Carpe Diem, start a sequence which is not yet completed (the next one, Plan B, is out now, and apparently the forthcoming I Dare will complete this sequence). I just have to quote from this review of Plan B by Christina Schulman, because I don’t think I can do better in giving the flavor:

These books, collectively known as the Liaden series, were full of shooting, being shot at, running away, suddenly pulling new psychic powers out of one’s ear to avoid being shot, and lots of whimsical dialog and passionate kissing in between the shooting bits. And giant turtles.

This sort of thing is a great deal of fun to read about (especially the giant turtles) . . .

Indeed, I strongly suspect the turtles are reader favorites; they’re certainly my favorites.

Anyway, the story started in Agent of Change focuses on Val Con, a Liaden deep-cover operative who has got some serious problems with his head, and Miri, a Terran ex-mercenary who’s fallen afoul of organized crime. Evil-doers are revealed, some of them are thwarted, plots and dangers ensue, and much fun is had by the reader. There are a few minor problems; once in a while, the background material isn’t as clear as it could be, and the dreaded Foreign Language Apostrophes appear, and every so often the prose clunks a bit (I’d been putting off buying this for a while, because every time I flipped it open in the bookstore, I couldn’t quite get into it. Mostly this goes away once you get into the story.). Also, be aware the omnibus does end on somewhat of a cliffhanger (“Plan B in now in effect.”). These are minor quibbles, though; they’re great fun and I recommend them.


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  1. Very belated comment…
    I just re-read Conflict of Honors recently, and I still think it’s the best starting place for the Liaden books. Its plot is self-contained, and it provides a nice outside-looking-in view of Clan Korval that is a good introduction to the universe.
    If you read Conflict of Honors first, you won’t interrupt the flow of the should-be-read-in-one-swell-foop “Agent of Change” sequence. You also won’t spoil CoH with the stuff you learn in Agent of Change et al. I seriously disagree with putting Agent of Change as the first novel in the omnibus — the opening of that one will turn off quite a few readers who might have stuck it through with better background, before they even get to the turtles…
    These books[1] are becoming my number one comfort reading, to the point of near-addiction.
    Dave Tate
    [1]By which I mean the three in this omnibus plus I Dare, Local Custom, and Scout’s Progress.

  2. D’oh, I meant I disagree with recommending that people start with Agent of Change — apparently the omnibus is in my preferred order already, if I’m reading that right.

  3. The omnibus is in your preferred reading order. These have stayed pretty good comfort reading, despite my disappointment with further books in the series.

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