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Old 10-02-2012, 03:49 AM   #1
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Does War of Honor get better?

I took a break from the Honor Harrington series after book 9 because I was getting a little tired of Webers' frequent and long winded info dump scenes. The kind where 3 or 4 characters sit around and discuss the political or military situation and nothing happens for 20-30 pages.

Finally decided to get back into it and I'm reading War of Honor right now. Firstly, after searching about the best reading order on MR I think I need to stop and read the anthologies before proceeding.

However, I'm wondering if it is really worth it. I'm 130 pages into War of Honor and frankly the entire book so far has been nothing but scene after scene of info dump. The whole 130 pages seems like nothing more than the most long winded introduction I've ever read. The closest the book has come to action is the aftermath of some ship dealing with pirates. The book is only 821 pages long and I'm wondering if anything is going to happen at all!

So, is it worth reading the anthologies and sticking with WoH? Does it get better? Does anything happen? What about the rest of the series?
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:58 AM   #2
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I would like an answer to the op question as well. I also quit following the series around book 9. Recently was thinking about starting it again but can not decide how to go about or if I really even want too.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:03 AM   #3
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I have read the entire series and also have read his Safehold series (all to date), and, unfortunately, the info dump seems to be a Weber trademark. If you think the HH series is bad in that regard, the Safehold series is far, far worse.

Having said that, I found the HH series quite good. In fact, I had never read anything by Weber before the HH series (which I read just a couple of years ago), but it caused me to become a fan. (The Safehold series is straining that, however.) I personally think it is worth struggling through the info dumps. I simply start skimming them when they get overbearing.

Does it get better after HH #9? Not really. In some of the books the dumps become shorter but they never seem to go away. Again, I think the stories are good enough to warrant struggling through the info dumps, but I can understand the impatience with them.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:41 AM   #4
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I really enjoyed the first 6 or 7 books, book 8 is where I think he really started hammering the info dumps and book 9 is where it got irritating. Having said that, I still enjoyed all 9 books. I don't mind the occasional info dump and I had heard it is a bit of a Weber trademark. I figured part of the problem was that I read the first 9 rather quickly, only taking one or two breaks to read another book. I thought taking a break would help and I'd come back refreshed. However, I'm just finding that book 10 seems to be nothing but one long info dump for the first 130 pages so far.

Is it just me or did anyone else find WoH to be particularly hard going to begin with?
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:19 AM   #5
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I took a break from the Honor Harrington series after book 9 because I was getting a little tired of Webers' frequent and long winded info dump scenes.
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I would like an answer to the op question as well. I also quit following the series around book 9. Recently was thinking about starting it again but can not decide how to go about or if I really even want too.
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I really enjoyed the first 6 or 7 books, book 8 is where I think he really started hammering the info dumps and book 9 is where it got irritating.
Is it possible that you're just running into a very natural "enough is enough already" barrier with regard to a series that's approaching double-digit installments? The same thing happens to me, but it starts happening around book four or five. Loving a series does NOT imply that it's going to keep me absolutely riveted for 7, 8, 9, 10 books.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:34 AM   #6
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I also took a break at the start of book 10, so I can't help you.

Actually, I started book 10, then realised they were talking about events I hadn't read, and that I ought to read the third and fourth Worlds of Honor collections.

The shorter stories don't tend to have the same problem, but you might well become fed up of treecats in the second collection (I think it was).

I had noticed that the last few books had become rambling monstrosities which took an age to get to the point, but so far I've been able to put up with it. I'm hoping to get back to War of Honor before the year is out, not least because it's the jumping-off point for the two spin-offs.
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:15 PM   #7
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Better?
Depends on your expectations.

The Honorverse cycle is effectively three successive series: 1-5 are a sequence of more or less independent relatively narrow-focus stories, set against the backdrop of a bigger war, 6-8 is a single narrative, and 9-plus a whole cycle unto itself encompassing the entire escalated war.

War of Honor is the key pivot point because at that point the simple and straightforward, Harrington "Biography" becomes a multi-faceted saga with three distinct narratives that run in parallel (And are mostly self-contained: you *can* read any of the narratives without reading the rest of the saga. That is one reason for the info dumps and the duplicated scenes some people complain about when reading the full saga.)

The three Narratives (Crown of Slaves, Saganami Island, and Honor's War proper) combine to tell a single story but it requires a lot of patience because of the logistics; right now, each of the threads are incomplete though they *have* converged in the latest volume.

So if you accept that, big as it is, WAR OF HONOR is just the launchpad for another *nine* volumes (four of which are a single HH super-novel), then 130 pages of setup is trivial.

To explain what Weber is up to gives away too much, so I'll spoiler the Wikipedia brief:
Spoiler:

The political makeup and history of the series frequently echoes actual history, particularly that of Europe in the last half of the second millennium. The series is consciously modeled on the Horatio Hornblower series by C.S. Forester, and its main character on Admiral Lord Nelson (like Horatio Hornblower). Weber originally planned Harrington to die, like Nelson, at the peak of her career in the climactic Battle of Manticore in 1920 PD (4020 AD), and intended to continue the series with her children as the main protagonists.[4]
However collaborating author Eric Flint intervened asking for the invention of a mutual enemy for both the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Republic of Haven to oppose in a spy and counterspy spin-off sub-series the two contractually agreed to co-write, just as they have contracts to write in Flint's 1632 universe.
This "rethink" and redesign caused Weber to move the series' internal chronology up by about 20 years and begat the Crown of Slaves novel, first in the "Crown of Slaves" sub-series based on a number of the short stories of the first four collections.
In this scenario, proxies for Manticore and Haven oppose the same hidden enemy, the genetic slavers and powers behind the government and corporations of the planet of Mesa. Mesa is later revealed in Mission of Honor to be part of a secret cabal of about a dozen highly capable planets which are busily building a secret navy using advanced technologies at a secret planet and known to itself as the Mesan Alignment. The Mesan Alignment's navy has new technology and sneak attacks Manticore in 1920 PD during the twelfth mainline novel, Mission of Honor.
The Mesans have a 600-year-old[4] secret program to reinstitute purposeful genetic engineering of humans and break up the Solarian League, while taking down all opponents opposing such genetic engineering. This makes the staunchly anti-genetic-slavery star nations of Haven, Manticore, and various associates of the planet Beowulf primary targets of the Mesan Alignment. The four sub-series books and last two mainline Honorverse novels detail the rising extent of this threat.

As the two sub-series progress, albeit with somewhat-separate casts of characters, each is expected by Weber to carry the detailed storyline events particular to their astrographical region forward and tie together into an ongoing plotline concerning the massive and monolithic Solarian League, which foreshadowing in the most recent novels suggests is about to undergo severe disruption.[4]

The thirteenth mainline novel, A Rising Thunder, ties together events in both sub-series and synchronizes the timeline of each sub-series with Honor Harrington's mainline novels. This book confirms the Solarian League is officially now the new Mesan cat's paw, effectively at war with the Star Empire, as it has been manipulated into error after error by the operatives of the Mesan Alignment.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honorverse


Me, I like what he is up to:
Spoiler:

The Sollies deserve everything they've got coming. Smug stupidity is its own reward in the Honorverse. The Mesans are sneaky enough they might actually win while being despicable enough you really hope they don't.


If he pulls it off, he will have assembled the biggest space opera saga this side of Lensmen.
But that is key: he is doing a full-blown, galactic scale Space Opera.
Ahead lie entire chapters (and more than one per book) of infodumps and getting into the heads of the antagonists, of building up massive casts of significant players, of (apparent) loose threads that drift from book to book and series to series.
Weber is putting a frakking *lot* of work into the saga and to fully appreciate it you will have to, too.

That means:
- Reading the anthologies. There are very good stories in them. There are also some... curious... building blocks.
- Reading the Saganami Island books (no big sacrifice, they are very much in line with the early books of the Series and great reads by themselves. And the "Nasty Kitty" is going to go down as one of the more memorable starships and crews in SF history).
- Reading the Crown of Slaves stories (entirely different tone and format than the Mantie volumes and the payoff is yet to come, apparently). Good reads with a lighter tone than the other two threads.
- Patience, patience, patience... Cliffhangers abound. Worse, the most recent volume doesn't even do a cliffhanger; it just... ends... presumably to pick up in next March's direct followup.

One thing I can say: there are a lot of fun moments along the way as payoff for the time investment. Good plot twists, heart-wrenching moments for favorite characters, and a chance for most supporting characters to shine as the spotlight is not always on Honor. There is a lot of politics, a bit of humor, and more than a fair amount of action but the infodumps do *not* go away.

Still, if you're starting WAR OF HONOR now, you won't have a long wait til SHADOW OF FREEDOM. If you're willing to make the investment, there is a lot of good SF ahead of you.

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Old 10-02-2012, 05:44 PM   #8
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Glad it's not just me!

I struggled through "War of Honor", and gave up with the next one, "At All Costs".

Loved the earlier books, still wanted to know where the back story is going, but the writing just got too undisciplined and pet characters took over.

I wanted to read a space opera and it became too much of a soap opera for me.

I will get back to them, I own them! But I needed a big long break.

And in the meantime, I discovered David Drake's Leary books, and Bujold wrote some more Vorkosigan, and so I was a happy bunny all over again.

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Old 10-02-2012, 06:45 PM   #9
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Is it possible that you're just running into a very natural "enough is enough already" barrier with regard to a series that's approaching double-digit installments? The same thing happens to me, but it starts happening around book four or five. Loving a series does NOT imply that it's going to keep me absolutely riveted for 7, 8, 9, 10 books.
That's why I took a nice long break, in the hopes that would rejuvinate me.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:47 PM   #10
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Better?
Depends on your expectations......

snip
You've done enough to convince me to keep going. I will start by putting WoH aside and reading the anthologies first though. And I'll also have to take a few breaks in amongst the rest I think.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:52 PM   #11
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Talked myself into re-reading the cycle...
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:26 PM   #12
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Ok you convinced me but how should I go about it may I have a reading order that includes all the different tangents the universe is branching off into.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:31 AM   #13
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Ok you convinced me but how should I go about it may I have a reading order that includes all the different tangents the universe is branching off into.
Sure.
That's why the scenes repeat and the infodumps, er dump...
You can easily just read the core Honor books back to back and you'll get all the essential facts of *what* is happening in Talbot and in Verdant Vista.
Then you can go read *how* it happened later, if at all.

Or, you can go with publishing order...
The wikipedia chronology is another way you could do it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honorve...nal_chronology

Or, if you just want the final arc you could start with:
"From the Highlands" in Changer of Worlds and go to "Fanatic" in Service of the Sword. Mostly those introduce Zilwicki and Cachat, the top undercover ops of the Manties and Peeps.)
"Promised Land" and "Let's Dance" are also relevant.
Less Critical, "Ms Midshipman Harrington" and "The Service of the Sword".

From there:
- War of Honor (Crown of Slaves, Shadow of Saganami)
- At All Costs
- Mission of Honor (Storm From the Shadows, Torch of Freedom)
- A Rising Thunder
- Shadow of Freedom (Mar 2013)

Not hard is it?
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:57 AM   #14
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I have read all the Honor Harrington books and most of the side stories.....I love the characters and I love the Universe.

That said, infodump is definitely a Weber trademark as others have said. It seems the later books all have one major event...the rest of the book is either the lead up to the event or dealing with the aftermath of the event.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:55 AM   #15
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Better?
Depends on your expectations.

The Honorverse cycle is effectively three successive series: 1-5 are a sequence of more or less independent relatively narrow-focus stories, set against the backdrop of a bigger war, 6-8 is a single narrative, and 9-plus a whole cycle unto itself encompassing the entire escalated war.

War of Honor is the key pivot point because at that point the simple and straightforward, Harrington "Biography" becomes a multi-faceted saga with three distinct narratives that run in parallel (And are mostly self-contained: you *can* read any of the narratives without reading the rest of the saga. That is one reason for the info dumps and the duplicated scenes some people complain about when reading the full saga.)

The three Narratives (Crown of Slaves, Saganami Island, and Honor's War proper) combine to tell a single story but it requires a lot of patience because of the logistics; right now, each of the threads are incomplete though they *have* converged in the latest volume.

So if you accept that, big as it is, WAR OF HONOR is just the launchpad for another *nine* volumes (four of which are a single HH super-novel), then 130 pages of setup is trivial.

To explain what Weber is up to gives away too much, so I'll spoiler the Wikipedia brief:
Spoiler:

The political makeup and history of the series frequently echoes actual history, particularly that of Europe in the last half of the second millennium. The series is consciously modeled on the Horatio Hornblower series by C.S. Forester, and its main character on Admiral Lord Nelson (like Horatio Hornblower). Weber originally planned Harrington to die, like Nelson, at the peak of her career in the climactic Battle of Manticore in 1920 PD (4020 AD), and intended to continue the series with her children as the main protagonists.[4]
However collaborating author Eric Flint intervened asking for the invention of a mutual enemy for both the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Republic of Haven to oppose in a spy and counterspy spin-off sub-series the two contractually agreed to co-write, just as they have contracts to write in Flint's 1632 universe.
This "rethink" and redesign caused Weber to move the series' internal chronology up by about 20 years and begat the Crown of Slaves novel, first in the "Crown of Slaves" sub-series based on a number of the short stories of the first four collections.
In this scenario, proxies for Manticore and Haven oppose the same hidden enemy, the genetic slavers and powers behind the government and corporations of the planet of Mesa. Mesa is later revealed in Mission of Honor to be part of a secret cabal of about a dozen highly capable planets which are busily building a secret navy using advanced technologies at a secret planet and known to itself as the Mesan Alignment. The Mesan Alignment's navy has new technology and sneak attacks Manticore in 1920 PD during the twelfth mainline novel, Mission of Honor.
The Mesans have a 600-year-old[4] secret program to reinstitute purposeful genetic engineering of humans and break up the Solarian League, while taking down all opponents opposing such genetic engineering. This makes the staunchly anti-genetic-slavery star nations of Haven, Manticore, and various associates of the planet Beowulf primary targets of the Mesan Alignment. The four sub-series books and last two mainline Honorverse novels detail the rising extent of this threat.

As the two sub-series progress, albeit with somewhat-separate casts of characters, each is expected by Weber to carry the detailed storyline events particular to their astrographical region forward and tie together into an ongoing plotline concerning the massive and monolithic Solarian League, which foreshadowing in the most recent novels suggests is about to undergo severe disruption.[4]

The thirteenth mainline novel, A Rising Thunder, ties together events in both sub-series and synchronizes the timeline of each sub-series with Honor Harrington's mainline novels. This book confirms the Solarian League is officially now the new Mesan cat's paw, effectively at war with the Star Empire, as it has been manipulated into error after error by the operatives of the Mesan Alignment.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honorverse


Me, I like what he is up to:
Spoiler:

The Sollies deserve everything they've got coming. Smug stupidity is its own reward in the Honorverse. The Mesans are sneaky enough they might actually win while being despicable enough you really hope they don't.


If he pulls it off, he will have assembled the biggest space opera saga this side of Lensmen.
But that is key: he is doing a full-blown, galactic scale Space Opera.
Ahead lie entire chapters (and more than one per book) of infodumps and getting into the heads of the antagonists, of building up massive casts of significant players, of (apparent) loose threads that drift from book to book and series to series.
Weber is putting a frakking *lot* of work into the saga and to fully appreciate it you will have to, too.

That means:
- Reading the anthologies. There are very good stories in them. There are also some... curious... building blocks.
- Reading the Saganami Island books (no big sacrifice, they are very much in line with the early books of the Series and great reads by themselves. And the "Nasty Kitty" is going to go down as one of the more memorable starships and crews in SF history).
- Reading the Crown of Slaves stories (entirely different tone and format than the Mantie volumes and the payoff is yet to come, apparently). Good reads with a lighter tone than the other two threads.
- Patience, patience, patience... Cliffhangers abound. Worse, the most recent volume doesn't even do a cliffhanger; it just... ends... presumably to pick up in next March's direct followup.

One thing I can say: there are a lot of fun moments along the way as payoff for the time investment. Good plot twists, heart-wrenching moments for favorite characters, and a chance for most supporting characters to shine as the spotlight is not always on Honor. There is a lot of politics, a bit of humor, and more than a fair amount of action but the infodumps do *not* go away.

Still, if you're starting WAR OF HONOR now, you won't have a long wait til SHADOW OF FREEDOM. If you're willing to make the investment, there is a lot of good SF ahead of you.
Bu...bu.....I just wanted some battles and a tree cat .

I seriously had no idea that this series was so encompassing, I think the last one I read was book 5 so I have a TON of reading ahead of me.
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