Sunday, January 23, 2011

Straight Silver: A Book Review

Okay, well, this is what I get for trying to remember to do things while I am so sick. I finished Straight Silver several days ago, and forgot to post the review I was planning for it. As such, I have lost some of my clarity of purpose for what I was going to write. Apologies, such is life.
In Straight Silver, we follow Gaunt and the Ghosts as they enter a 40 year old Trench War on Aexe. In the plus column for the Ghosts, the Alliance is pro Imperium, a rarity in the Sabbat Worlds, on the downside, said allies think their way of fighting is the only way, and force the Guard forces into stupid fighting dispositions along the static and ancient Peinforq Line.

Classic, horrifc trench warfare ensues, with strange doings and interesting interactions between unusual pairings in the Ghost lineup. There is also the start of a curious romance between an unlikely duo.

PROS:
  1. Steampunk Retro. As if World War I in space was not bizarre enough, the Alliance and their enemies the Shadik are full of anachronistic oddities like Bird Cavalry, Clanking Dreadnaught tanks, old school chemical weapon attacks, rail mounted siege artillery, and trench raid attacks. 
  2. Serious character development. There is a lot going on in this book with well known, if underdeveloped characters like Larkin, Cuu, Mkvenner, and Raglon
  3. The Romance. It's funny because it's so awkward. 'Nuff said.
CONS:
  1. A Story In Two Halves. This seems to be a recurring theme in this story arc, with the first half devoted to gritty trench action, and the second half detailing a scout oriented 'Behind Enemy Lines' type of action for which the Ghosts are more suited. Not as much a problem for me this time, as the two halves blend a little more seamlessly than in The Guns of Tanith, where they seemed like two different books.
  2. Contrived Hand Tying. Making the Ghosts subordinate to the Aexeians felt forced. I understand Von Voytz would never post them in the trenches if given the choice, but the Warmaster allowing his forces to be under 'Alliance Supreme Command' does not seem like something that would really happen. That seems to me like having a four star army general in the U.S. Army report to the mayor of Des Moines, Iowa.
  3. Till It's Over Over There. The Ghosts are pulled out before final victory is secured on Aexe. Understandably, the author does not fix the 40 year old war in the last chapter, and the Ghosts did make serious contributions to the overall effort, but this is the first time in the series that the Ghosts are there at the climax. As they leave Aexe, he war is still roaring on, albeit in the right direction.
All in all, Straight Silver was an excellent read. I am really warming up to this series, and the damage that was done to my regard by the first 50 pages of Honour Guard is all but repaired.

3 comments:

Chris said...

Nice review :)

When I first read SS I hated it! After loving the previous Ghost books too! Not quite sure what had malfunctioned in my head at that time mind you :) Upon a few re-reads it's grown on me a lot, I love that a lasgun is considered amazingly technologically advanced to the locals...

CounterFett said...

Yeah, that part got me too.

The best thing to me was that a quartet of Leman Russ Conquerors pretty much turned around that one offensive. If the locals had let Von Voytz run things, stuff would have been DIFFERENT!

Anonymous said...

Great book! Read it twice and on the second read it really pulled me in. There were three really awesome moments and DEFINATELY worth reading. Was also wondering if there was a follow on section or book to staright silver??