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Engaging the Enemy, by Elizabeth Moon
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Publisher: Del Rey
Published: 2006
Review Posted: 9/21/2006
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 8 out of 10

Engaging the Enemy, by Elizabeth Moon

Book Review by Steven Sawicki

Have you read this book?

This is the latest book in Moon's series that follows the trials and tribulations of the Vatta family, intergalactic merchant shippers. This book focuses on Kylara Vatta, survivor of an attack on her family which has left her parents, uncles, aunts and others dead and which has cut her off from everyone except for a cousin childhood friend. Vatta has just managed to successfully escape the clutches of a pirate, a family black sheep, with a vendetta against her and her father. The conflict has left her with the pirate's ship as a war prize and Vatta has begun to develop a plan to turn the tide and take the battle with the pirates to them. But first there are a thousand details to get through like hiring a crew, finding a source of revenue, evading potential assassins and convincing a number of important people that she is, indeed, who she says she is.

If you enjoy military science fiction then you will most likely enjoy this as Moon keeps things moving right along and manages to throw a number of problems in front of her characters for them to solve, sometimes in unorthodox ways. Moon also bounces the story between Kylara's efforts in space and the results of the assassinations on the Vatta homeworld. The two stories never quite come together or have a major impact on each other but the homeworld story does serve to fill in details that give additional meaning to Kylara dilemmas. The story is a pretty straightforward one albeit laced with intrigue and the occasional surprise.

I enjoyed this, more or less, and found the characters engaging and the plot itself interesting. I had not read the previous books and found myself a bit out of touch in a couple of places but not to the point that I would insist anyone else read the preceding books first. If there is a bone I have to pic it is that Kylara, as a female character, is not much of a female character. In fact, she could have been male and it would have made no difference. This is either the sign of true equality or a signal that science fiction writers don't manage that aspect of character all that well overall. Either you'll find the fact that the protagonist is female something special or you won't but it really has little impact on how the story progresses or comes to a conclusion. And based on the way the book ends there's more to come.
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