Omnibus: A Confederation of Valor, by Tanya Huff

Important: this is an omnibus edition with two novels, Valor’s Choice and The Better Part of Valor. These are previously released novels, re-released in this omnibus edition. Some Amazon reviewers complained that this wasn’t made clear on the Amazon detail pages, so beware. In my case, I hadn’t read about Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr when the novels were first released, so I was excited to get both novels in this omnibus edition.

I loved reading about this heroine. Torin is calm and logical, a thinker and a planner. This doesn’t prevent her from flying by the seat of her pants, however, and she reacts quickly. Just like Kris Longknife, she doesn’t have any flaws that prevent her from doing her mission. On the other hand, Torin tends to be prickly, cynical, and suspicious, which means she doesn’t have much of a personal life but these “flaws” help her bring her people back alive. She’s the only noncom female character in a military-flavored SF series that I’ve read (of course, I haven’t covered every series). Honor Harrington (D. Weber), Kris Longknife (M. Shepherd), Kylara Vatta (E. Moon), and my character Ariane Kedros are all officers or previously trained to be an officer.

Huff’s voice, given the noncom (non-commissioned officer) flavor, cynicism, and dry humor made this series fresh and fun to read. Torin isn’t insubordinate, quite the opposite, yet the tongue-in-cheek comments and internal dialogue about civilians, officers, and orders-from-on-high were spot on for somebody’s that’s been in the military. Since everyone can read book jackets and I don’t do spoilers, I’ll only add that each of the two novels stands alone, encompassing a specific mission. The military environment feels solid and realistic, even with the futuristic technology — I thoroughly enjoyed these novels and I have to read the next in the series.

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