This is a review for The Honour of the Knights (The Battle for the Solar System, book one) by Stephen Sweeney, which is science fiction in the space opera setting. It is free to download on Kindle.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything in this genre and I was glad to have started with this one. It truly was an epic story, starting out small in an earth-based apple orchard, and slowly expanding out to encompass entire galaxies. It was good, old-fashioned, clean storytelling, suitable for younger adults.
It took me a while to get into it. At first it seems that the story is going to be told from the point of view of one starfighter pilot, but as the story goes on it encompasses other POVS, which is also nice, especially since the women in this book are all strong characters. There were times when I felt that the author was falling into gender stereotypes, making his women over-emotional and flaky, but he did it to the men too, big drinking and big talking guys whose arrogance occasionally makes them do stupid things, so at least it wasn’t unbalanced.
The big issue I had with the book was that the author wanted to conceal who and what the Enemy are, which occasionally made the story quite hard to follow. I understand why he wanted to do it and it says a lot about the flow of the story that you get to the end of that massive long book still without knowing who and what they are but don’t really mind.
There were elements of the book that reminded me a lot of Battlestar Galactica, so if you’re a fan of that show I think you’ll enjoy this. There were many elements of the story that seemed drawn from other classics in this genre and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It made it feel familiar. I am aware that this is a debut novel and expect that the author will find his voice in later novels in this series, glossing over the obvious tropes and finding something fresh.
I did see the twist coming, although it was cleverly disguised.
There were parts of the story that didn’t seem to have any bearing or relevance on this part of the saga, but it’s clear that they’ll come into play in the second book, so stick with it.
On the whole this was an enjoyable (and long!) read and I would recommend it for someone looking for some occasionally gruesome but smut free scifi in the same vein as BSG.