Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Wages of Honor, by Catherine Asaro

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(SF Adventure) Eldrin and Althor have grown up in the low-tech, honor-based culture of their father’s world, but they are heirs to their mother’s high-tech, off-world culture. At age 16, each will have to choose between honor and necessity, with results that will change them and even their world. (12,098 words; Time: 40m)

Rating: ★★★★★ Great Characters in a Great Setting

"The Wages of Honor," by (edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: Each brother has a hard decision to make, with no easy answers. Eldrin chooses to go offworld, get the treatment he needs, get away from warfare that he can’t stomach, and makes a decent life for himself, at the expense of losing his home and disappointing his father.

Althor has a much harder decision to make. To participate in the endless warfare of his people, or to forsake honor, use his mother’s high technology to secure an overwhelmingly unfair advantage, slaughter his family’s enemies, but bring peace at last. At the expense of changing his culture forever, and disappointing his father.

We, as Westerners, most likely approve of both boys’ decisions. They were brave to make them, they paid a heavy price, but they got what they needed. But in context of the way they grew up, these were very heavy decisions indeed.

Beyond the plot, the character building is excellent; all four key characters are real and solid, and we care about the feelings of all four of them.

The setting is vividly described—particularly that battle where Althor pulls out the laser cannon.

Con: The narration is a bit too heavy-handed; the author frequently tells us things we either already know or else have no need to know. Not all the time, but often enough to be an annoyance.

Other Reviews: Search Web, GoodReads.com
Catherine Asaro Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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