The Better Part of Valour by Tanya Huff

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Rating 8.8/10
Tanya Huff has given us a well rounded character in Torin Kerr.

When Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr makes the mistake of speaking her mind to a superior officer, she finds herself tagged for a special mission to act as protector to a scientific exploratory team assigned to investigate an enormous derelict spaceship. Along with her crew Kerr soon finds herself in the midst of danger and faced with a mystery that takes all her courage and ingenuity to solve.

The Better Part of Valour is the second part of Tanya Huff’s Confederation series and once again our favourite Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr has been assigned a new mission by General Morris. This time she is without her platoon, but as usual flying into the unknown. Before I write further it would be best to check out the previous novel Valour’s Choice before continuing reading this review.

Tanya Huff’s new mission involves reconnaissance on an alien vessel to work out if this is a trap set by The Others or if this is a new intelligence they have yet to meet. The alien vessel nicknamed the Big Yellow Ship is a conundrum, if it is a trap, then why have The Others not released it in their relentless war on The Confederation? Or is it perhaps a greater intelligence, or a race older than the gentle races of The Confederation?

With Torin having to mould the recruits for this mission into a new team in a short amount of time we are again shown her skills in diplomacy and in getting the job done. What is enjoyable about this is that even with a new team you can feel the warmth and sense of commitment they feel for each other, even if they are all from different teams and species. It allows you to really care whether they will survive the mission or not. Of course that doesn’t mean that every character gets equal attention, but that you know they are alive.

On the Big Yellow Ship we also get to meet two new races of the Elder societies of The Confederation: the Katrien, who seem to be as a species quite loud and annoying for their diminutive size and the Harveer. I am always impressed with how many different races can make up a Confederation, especially when this is the first book to give us a glimpse of The Others, or at least one of the species that has joined with The Others in battle. This book really shows us how a society can be so divided between combatants and non-combatants, as well as how easy the non-combatants can take for granted the people who are fighting for them, and not realise the strength and bravery they need to possess to be able to do said fighting day in and out.

Tanya Huff has given us a well rounded character in Torin Kerr, who is tough and valiant, but at the end of the day is very human and believes not only in right and wrong but also in survival. She cares about the lives of each and every person who is put in her charge, even if they don’t always deserve it.

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