Re-read the rest of the Mageworlds books, Starpilot’s Grave, By Honor Betray’d, and The Long Hunt, all of which pose plot-related problems of various degrees for me. Starpilot’s Grave and By Honor Betray’d are the direct sequels to The Price of the Stars, and are the story of the Second Magewar. These are probably my favorite books of the series, space opera at its finest. Doyle and Macdonald are very good at managing suspenseful action on disparate fronts, keeping even minor characters real, and pulling the occasional cool rabbit out of their hats. I have no idea how well-known these books actually are, but I’m sure it’s less than they deserve. If I sound insufficiently enthused about them, chalk it up to the lingering effects of moving and go out and get yourself a copy of The Price of the Stars all the same.
The Long Hunt is set a generation later, when some of the initial protagonists’ offspring go wandering and find, make, and solve all kinds of trouble—including some left over from the war. I’m quite fond of this one for the characters; while Jens and Faral aren’t quite as fun as their parents, it’s really nice to see more of Bindweed, Blossom, Mael Taleion, and particularly Klea Santreny, who I really like. However, I started out this post by saying that all of these have plot problems of some sort, and this one’s problem is that I can just never remember the plot. This time I even read the end first to see if that would help, and well, it didn’t. I have no idea if it’s something about the book or just me, but it doesn’t interfere with my enjoyment all that much, so I shall not lose any sleep over it.
The plot problems with the other two require serious, book-destroying spoilers to discuss, which I will put in separate files in case anyone who’s already read them is curious. In short: the later A Working of Stars is inconsistent with Starpilot’s Grave, in a way that could be explained, but requires further information—even more reason to want the story of the intervening years. By Honor Betray’d has an apparent contradiction in a crucial scene at the end that I’ve just never been able to reconcile, which is a pity, because it’s a really cool scene. Obviously these don’t ruin my enjoyment of the books, since I’ve just urged you all to read them, but if anyone wants to explain them to me, that would be great.
Next up: more big chewy space opera, because it’s nominally vacation, after all, and I’m still in the mood.