Oh, that cover! There are a number of cover options for Tanya Huff’s Confederation sci-fi series, and they’re all pretty terrible–though also kind of awesome in that 70s pulp cover way. They look like novels you’d step right past in the supermarket checkout line. Thankfully, I came across the series in a list of recommended titles for readers who enjoyed Martha Wells’s Murderbot Diaries series and requested it, cover unseen.
Valor’s Choice probably shouldn’t be my cup of tea, but it really was. It’s intergalactic interspecies military focused sci-fi–not something I ever thought I would be interested in. Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr’s mixed species unit of battle-scarred Marines has their leave revoked so they can accompany the General for what promises to be purely ceremonial duties–to parade in front of the Silvss, a warlike species who has been asked to join the Confederation, and show them how impressive a battle command of Marines can be. Of course there’s more to it than that.
The writing is sharp, the dialogue frequently hilarious, and the different species and their interactions unexpectedly fascinating.
I started the second book in the series, The Better Part of Valor, the second I finished the first. And it confirmed what I had already been thinking: the Confederation series is a great choice for readers who are still mourning the cancellation of Firefly (greatest TV injustice of all time!). In the second book, an alien ship has been discovered by a salvage operator, and it appears to be dead in the water–no life on board, no power, no clear way to get inside. Kerr is asked to lead the unit of Marines who will protect the scientists who intend to explore the ship. Of course everything goes wrong. (I’m sensing this may be a theme of the Confederation series: “and then everything goes wrong.”)
These books have seriously messed with my sleep this week: they’re far too exciting to stop reading, so I promise myself just a few more pages, just a few more pages, and then somehow it’s way past my bedtime. Until book 3 arrives, I will be sleeping well, though.
Such a sweet story! Sarah’s pet turtle, Truman, watches from the window aghast as Sarah climbs on the Number 11 bus and disappears down the street. This has never happened before, and Truman is determined not to be left without his Sarah. Mustering all his ingenuity and bravery, he escapes from his terrarium and sets off to find her. The whole escapade is ultimately anticlimactic in the best possible way. Plenty of quirky moments and much humor, especially through the illustrations.
The King of Kindergarten is the perfect beginning-of-school read. Sure, it’s about a kindergartner, but I think we can all relate to the hopes and dreams that he expresses. Brantley-Newton’s illustrations are lively and colorful, a perfect match for this happy story.