Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Review: The Protector's War by S.M. Stirling

 Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: Read the first in the series for a medieval studies class and really enjoyed it. 
In Dies the Fire,  the Change stops all technology from guns to cars and everything between. In the post-change world people are forced to adapt to the new yet old modes of living and most form a pseudo-medieval type society. This books takes place ten years after the Change and life has become oddly normalized but the evil medieval history professor is still hell-bent on controlling everything. The communities of Juniper MacKenzie and Mike Havel work together to improve life for their people and protect everyone against the machinations of the Protector and his warlord barons.
What I thought: I think it's largely a case of middle book syndrome because while I enjoyed the book I didn't really care about it. It was mostly just setting the stage for A Meeting at Corvallis. As a medievalist who is getting more and more into the re-enactment side of things I think I enjoy these books so much because of their premise. Several times I thought that it would be great if such an event did occur and my skills and knowledge would become relevant while we "return to nature". I think I enjoy the premise more than I like the actual book considering there are several things that drive me crazy:
1)The Wiccan stuff. I'd feel the same about any religion or faith because there's just too much of it and it just exudes craziness way more than any of Astrid's fantasies. I understand and appreciate the way religion is used for social cohesion and it's understanding how such a religion could take ground in such a world. However at times there was so much of it it bordered on preachy, especially when Rudi is concerned.
2) the italics . He uses them for both thoughts and sign language dialogue which when used together on one page can get choppy and confusing. He also uses italics and un-italics for emphasize which is simply annoying on the eyes when used with the frequency he does. 
3) Juniper, Signe, Eilir all annoy the crap out of me. Astrid may be the crazy one but she annoys me the least. Stirling is terrible at writing female characters apparently considering I love severl of the main male characters.
4)I did enjoy the descriptions of everyday life in the post-Change world but there was way more of it than really necessary.
5. Parts of the book skipped back and forth in time. He provides little chapters heading with the date and location of the chapter but I had gotten into the habit of ignoring those as they are unnecessary for all but perhaps 6 chapters.
6) Should have a different title. There is no war in this book.
Overall, it was a fun read despite the aforementioned problems and I will read the third novel eventually.

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