Book Cover
Title Valor's Choice
Author Tanya Huff
Cover Art Paul Youll
Publisher Daw Books - 2006
First Printing 2000
Book Cover
Title The Better Part of Valor
Author Tanya Huff
Cover Art Paul Youll
Publisher Daw Books 2006
First Printing 2002
Book Cover
Title The Heart of Valor
Author Tanya Huff
Cover Art Paul Youll
Publisher Daw Books 2008
First Printing 2007
Book Cover
Title Valor's Trial
Author Tanya Huff
Cover Art Paul Youll
Publisher Daw Books 2009
First Printing 2008
Book Cover
Title The Truth of Valor
Author Tanya Huff
Cover Art Paul Youll
Publisher Daw Books 2011
First Printing 2010
Category Military SF
Warnings Sexual inuendo, bloody battles, swearing
Main Characters Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr, Craig Ryder, Jarret, Morris, Presit a Tur durValintrisy, Ressk, Werst, Mashonna, Alamber and a host of others
Main Elements Aliens
Website Tanya Huff Blog

Click to read the summaryValor's Choice

Click to read the summaryThe Better Part of Valor

Click to read the summaryThe Heart of Valor

Click to read the summaryValor's Trial

Click to read the summaryThe Truth of Valor

The basis of this series is as follows. The Confederation, an alliance of advanced, peaceful, alien races is attacked by the Others. Now, in a diplomatic manner, they suggest to the Others, seeing as how space is so large and there are plenty of planets for everyone, that the Others might like to invade in another direction and leave them alone. When the diplomats returned in pieces, the Confederation realized they had a problem. Centuries of peaceful existence had left them helpless against an aggressive race, so they needed to ally themselves with another race that still knew how to blow their enemies to pieces. Of course, they found us. :o)

They also found the di'Taykan. A race of elf-like (Lord of the Rings elves, mind you, not the little guys with curly shoes) aliens with pastel coloured hair. Oh, and they emit pheromones that cause humans, and some of the other races, to be irresistibly attracted to them. The di'Taykan don't mind, being one of the most "indisciminately enthusiastic life-forms in the Galaxy." Of course this leads to some "interesting" situations along the way.

They also found the Krai, an aboreal species, short and hairless, that can eat pretty much anything and everything. If the di'Taykan are elves, then these guys are the trolls. They find humans particularly tasty, but they manage to refrain from eating their fellow marines.

If this bizarre mix isn't enough to get you interested I can tell you what I thought of the two first books. I loved them. I laughed at Torin's sharp commentary, and the di'Taykan's inability to say a sentences without it being a suggestion to find a secluded corner in which to get to "know" you better. There were sad moments, when favorite characters did not survive the battles into which they were thrown. One has to remember this is a war, and that is what happens in a war, but it is still hard to accept.

Huff's father was in the Korean war, and she has obviously done a lot of research into what a Staff Sergeant and her marines might expect experience in the field. This story might be fantasy, but it gives you insight into the life of a real soldier on the front lines. And a great deal of respect for those who sacrifice their lives for us.

I can't wait for the next book to come out in the summer of 2007.

Jan 2010

Well, took me a little longer to get back to the world of Torin Kerr than I expected, but that meant I got to read two books in a row. They were both good, and we got to learn more about the other alien races like the di'Taykan and the Krai. I like books where the authors puts some thought into her species and gives them an actual culture. In particular I like her di'Taykan, they are always good for comic relief, and I'm a little disappointed we didn't learn even more about them. In the fourth book we meet some of the Other races and they too were quite interesting, particularly the quadrupeds and their bonds with their riders.

So the third book starts off on what appears to be a completely independent storyline, but it introduces some questions about the very reasons for the war, and ties back into the previous books. Makes us question the reasons for any war. And there are losses. Is the cause of the war worth those losses? Kerr had believed that it was so, but now she begins to question the Elder races, those who started the war but find other more agressive races, like the humans, to fight it for them. No one seems to know what the war is about, do the Elders know it themselves?

The fourth book answers a lot of questions. Unfortunately I also found it very predictable. If you make one statement too often ("The Others don't take prisoners") and then put Torin Kerr on a prison planet...well, you can kind of guess what will happen next. I didn't guess everything, but it was more predictable than the other three books.

And while it is a fact of war, I found we never got a chance to get close to any character other than Torin, Craig and Presit. I was looking forward to her joining her old platoon, but she gets to talk to about three of them before being separated again.

I'm curious if there will be a fifth book. It is open ended enough that there might be, and almost should be, because there is no way Kerr will spend the rest of her life like this (no telling, you'll have to read it to find out). On the other hand there is also a kind of finality to it. The main thread ended. I suspect there won't be one, but if so it wasn't quite as satisfying an ending as it could have been. But still a fun read.

April 2012

The Truth of Valor was ok. I mean I wasn't quite sure what to expect with Torin no longer a Marine. But happily, instead of throwing a platoonful of new characters at us, we get to meet up with some from before. As I'd complained in the previous book, we never got to know most of the characters in much depth.

However, I wasn't all that impressed by the writing. Sometimes the author would even repeat herself two sentences in a row. It wasn't like we would have missed a statement about the effect of being tortuted by a di'Taykan's pheremones in the first sentence that the effect needed to be repeated in the second...word for word no less! That was just a gratuitous use of foul language. Note that I am aware that cursing is a standard form of communication in the military, and sex a standard form of communication with the Taykan, but it loses effect when overused. Don't get me wrong, the whole book wasn't like this, maybe it was just bad editing in some parts. Other di'Taykan scenes were hilarious as usual. Admittedly I found it odd to be in the presences of psychopatic di'Taykans (they always seem so happy!) but given they are one of the warring races they must have that in them.

The ending is rather promising for another novel, and I'm happy that the one new character I liked will almost certainly be reappearing, along with a few other older ones. Guess we'll see when it comes out. I'll give it a 3 out of 5, by far not my favorite series, but one I'll probably continue with. I've definitely read worse, and I'll admit, military SF is not my favorite genre.

Posted: February 2007


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