By Honor Betray’d ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: By Honor Betray’d
Series: Mageworlds #3
Authors: Debra Doyle & James Macdonald
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 359
Words: 123.5K



Synopsis:

From Isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?6211

The war is over. The Magelords have won.

Galcen has fallen. The Space Force is broken and scattered. The planets of the former Republic are rushing to make peace with the victorious Mages.

All that remains is mopping up. Minor details. A privateer or two, a few Adepts who remain alive and on the run, and the hereditary ruler of a lifeless planet.

Beka Rosselin-Metadi, the last Domina of Lost Entibor, possesses little more than a famous name and a famous ship. With them she must salvage what she can from the wreckage of the Republic. Her enemies are too many to count, her friends too few to make a difference. She can trust no one except herself, her crew – and the family she ran away from years before.

Beka has resources few suspect: a hidden base, a long-forgotten oath, and a dead man’s legacy. But she has problems as well; for in a universe gone mad neither friends nor enemies are all that they may seem.

A play that began in treachery and blood five hundred years before has reached its final act. A broken galaxy will be sundered forever, or else made whole.

My Thoughts:

So, while there are 7 books in this series, these first 3 books comprise the whole of the Second Mage Wars. And it’s not really much of a war either. Both sides have highly placed individuals secretly working towards peace with the other side.

This paragraph will contain spoilers. Not that I care about such things, but on the 1000 to 1 chance that somebody who follows me would ever read these, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for them. Because the Grandmaster of the Adepts turns out to be the badguy who had Beka’s mother killed. Only she wasn’t really, but was placed in stasis by a Magelord and it was up to Beka to revive her and up to her Adept brother and Mage sister-in-law to bring her mind back.

It was a whirlwind of revelations and counter-twists and everything gets wrapped up in a bow. I’m usually not one to complain about that but this time it felt kind of deus ex machina than if it had organically happened. Now I’m wondering what the next 4 books will be about?

A good bit of my enthusiasm waned, dramatically, when it was revealed who the badguy all along had been. It was too cliched. Makes me wonder if the final Star Wars trilogy stole their Grumpy Dispeptic Luke idea from this.

There was still a lot of action. Beka almost gets killed on public tv, Ari gets married, Owen takes over the Adept Order and gets his own apprentice and the Mage Worlder General is revealed to be a peacemongerer. Shocking!

I enjoyed this overall but I won’t be beating the drum the same way unless the next books are super fantastic. Good space opera but not excellent space opera.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Starpilot’s Grave ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Starpilot’s Grave
Series: Mageworlds #2
Authors: Debra Doyle & James Macdonald
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 357
Words: 124.5K



Synopsis:

From Isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pe.cgi?3526 & Me

Beka Rosselin-Metadi and her crew get involved in the beginning of the Second Magewar. privateer and a planetary ruler must join forces to defeat the Mages.

From the back cover of the Tor Books first edition) Blockaded, restricted, and forgotten – the Mageworlds would never threaten the Republic again.

A broken and drifting ship, its long-dead captain still strapped in the command seat: that’s what free-spacers call a starpilot’s grave. When one of these derelict craft appears in the Net, the artificial barrier zone separating the Republic from the Mageworlds, the discovery is no accident. It’s a sign, a warning that the Mageworlds have not forgotten the Republic – and the Mageworlds make long plans.

But the Mageworlds weren’t planning on Beka Rosselin-Metadi.

Beka has unfinished business to take care of, and his name is Ebenra D’Caer: the man who arranged her mother’s murder. D’Caer is safe, – he thinks – hidden among the Mages on the far side of the Net. Flying under a false name and false colors, Beka penetrates the Magezone and finds more than anyone expected: the Magelords have discovered a fatal weakness in the Republic’s defenses, and are poised to wreak their vengeance on the hated enemy. The Mages are too strong. They must prevail. Unless one woman in one ship can do the impossible.

In the end, Beka accepts the crown of Entibor-in-Exile to rally the republic forces, which are divided by a traitor admiral, who brokered a deal with the magelords.

My Thoughts:

Beka remains the Main main character but this time her other brother Owen gets the majority of the main main character time whereas it was her brother Ari who got the spotlight last time. Considering this novel is about the mageworlds breaking the blockade and taking over the republic, and Owen is the main Adept, it’s only right we should get a good chunk from his view.

One thing about Owen, it’s obvious he has a lot of growing to do and we’ll see that in these stories. He’s spent so much time completely dedicated to the Adepts that he’s pretty much forgone growth as a human being. Thank goodness he hooked up with a whore who has magical potential. That should educate him quite quickly. The biggest issue with Owen was that he didn’t trust the head of his Order because that guy (who is the equivalent of Luke in Star Wars) didn’t do things how Owen thought he should when the Mage’s attacked. Goes to show his trust was pretty thin and brittle.

As for Beka, holy smokes, that girl continues to kick some serious butt! She’s racing around killing people who were involved in her mother’s death, dealing with the mageworlds, dealing with corrupt Republic forces and then has to deal with her father disappearing and no one listening to her because she supposedly died in the previous book. Her taking the crown of Entibor-in-Exile shows that she’s willing to do whatever it takes even though she knows that action will most likely kill her as it did her mother.

Since this series revolves around the Adepts and the Mages, Llannat Hyfid is necessary, almost more so than Owen. She’s learning from both sides and it wouldn’t surprise me if by the end of the series either the Adepts and Mages become one, or, more likely in my opinion, there starts up a third branch of magic users. What is really interesting to me is how Doyle and MacDonald have reversed how the two sides operate. The Adepts have a Master/Apprentice setup and then each apprentic goes off on his own and the cycle repeats. The Mages use groups to form circles, almost exactly like what Jordan uses for the Aes Sedai in the Wheel of Time series. The Leader of the Adepts is actually known as Circle Breaker, for his habit of destroying entire circles of Mages during the first Mage War.

Anyway, the main reason this was downgraded a halfstar from the previous book was the slight increase in points of view. I am NOT a fan of a huge cast of characters and unless handled with absolutely perfect writing, it gets more confusing than is worth it. I am hoping the next book cuts back on the cast of characters or at least brings several together.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Price of the Stars ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Price of the Stars
Series: Mageworlds #1
Authors: Debra Doyle & James Macdonald
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 406
Words: 143.5K



Synopsis:

From Fritzfreiheit.com/wiki/Mageworlds_(series)

Freebooter at heart, spacer by trade, Beka Rosselin-Metadi doesn’t want to hear about how her father whose rugged general ship held back the Mageworlds — or her highborn mother whose leadership has held the galaxy together since. Beka pilots spacecraft — as far from her famous family as possible.

Then Beka’s mother is assassinated on the Senate floor, and her father offers her the title to Warhammer, prize ship from his own freebooting youth — if she agrees to deliver the assassins to him “off the books.”

Looking for assassins has a tendency to make assassins look for you. In doing so, Beka’s arranged her own very public death and adopted a new identity; now all she has to do is leave a trail of kidnappings and corpses across five star systems, and blow the roof off the strongest private fortress in the galaxy.

My Thoughts:

This book, the first of seven, was published in 1992. Timothy Zahn had published his seminal Heir to the Empire in 1991 which ignited the much beloved and much maligned Star Wars Extended Universe. This obviously was trying to catch some of that popularity. While it may not have taken off like the EU, where it was FAR more successful was in how it passed the torch to the next generation.

What killed the the EU (besides Lucas simply killing it off because he’s a jackass, just like Disney, but Disney is a jackass whore) was the fact that none of the writers used ever created any characters who could hold a torch to the Big 3 (Luke, Leia and Han). Even one of the final books, Crucible, was ALL about those 3 characters while ignoring sub-characters who were supposed to be the next generation of heroes.

Doyle & Macdonald don’t make the mistake of passing the torch. That’s already done. And what’s more, one of the big 3 is killed right at the beginning, thus propelling the whole adventure. It was handled masterfully. When I started the Galaxy’s Edge series I was overpowered by the Star Wars vibe. It was Stormtroopers as the goodguys and it was fantastic. This series had the Star Wars vibe, but it was much more of the rogue’ish trader and mystic than the military. It was a different aspect but it was just as fun.

My only complaint was that the timeline didn’t feel like it was told as. I believe this book was supposed to have taken about 2 years but honestly, it felt like 2 months. That’s a nitpicky thing, I know.

Rating: 4 out of 5.