Saturday, June 1, 2019

ARC Review: The Liaden Universe Constellation IV by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

The Liaden Universe Constellation IV
Author: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Series: Liaden Universe
Publication: Baen (June 4, 2019)

Description: BOOK 4 in the multivolume Liaden Universe ®  short fiction collection.  Tales of the Liaden Universe® brought together for the first time. Space opera and romance on a grand scale in a galaxy full of interstellar trading

For more than thirty years, the Liaden Universe® novels by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have captivated readers with their unique blend of action adventure, science fiction, and romance. In addition to twenty-one novels (and counting) Lee and Miller have written dozens of shorter works based in the Liaden Universe®, featuring the strong characterization, detailed world-building, wit, and derring-do that readers of the series adore.

This fourth volume collecting Lee and Miller’s shorter Liaden Universe® stories features four novelettes, two novellas, and two short stories – including the celebrated linked stories, "Block Party" and "Degrees of Separation."

Sure to delight longtime fans and newcomers alike, these tales highlight why the nationally best-selling Liaden Universe® novels are treasured by space opera aficionados, with detailed world-building, strong characterizations, compelling romance, and edge-of-the-chair action in stories that range from cosmic to comic.

My Thoughts: The book is a compilation of recent short stories, novellas, and novelettes in the Liaden Universe. All are previously published. It is nice to have them all in one place in a convenient format.

STREET CRED takes place soon after exiled Korval resettles itself on Surebleak. It is about culture clash as the contract-loving Liadens butt heads with Surebleakers who think contracts are just suggestions that can be disregarded if a better opportunity arises. The contract in question calls for the death of one or the other of the Road Bosses for wrongs done by Korval on the homeworld of Liad and the solution is uniquely Surebleakan.

DUE DILIGENCE is the story of Fer Gun pen'Uldra and Chi yos'Phelium which results in the birth of Daav yos'Phelium. It is a story of Balance as Chi finds a way to give Fer Gun a future away from the Clan that doesn't treat him with appropriate care. It takes place on Liad and has fish-out-of-water Fer Gun learning to navigate Liaden High Society with all its complexities.

FRIEND OF A FRIEND is a story set on Surebleak. Quin yos'Phelium and Villy are friends despite their different cultures. Quin is Liaden and Villy is a native Surebleaker. Villy works as at the Sticks table in Quin's father's casino and is also a hetaerana who works in Ms. Audrey's house of delights. Quin is working in the casino when an unknown Liaden woman comes up to him asking for Quin's location. Villy is suspicious of her and rightly so since she arrives at Ms. Audrey's having purchased two hours of his time. Luckily, Villy is able to contact help before this Agent of Change can get him alone.

CUTTING CORNERS takes place on Codrescu Station. Therny Chirs is the cargo master and a thrid class pilot for the Fringe Ranger. He find that he needs to renew his piloting license and discovers smugglers as he is taking his flight test. He also gets a chance to meet Hevelin, a norbear who appears in a lot of the Liaden Universe books.

BLOCK PARTY takes place on Surebleak. Baker Don Eyr has been taken there from Low Port, Liad, along with the children in his care. However, the other adults in their group including his partner Serana are missing. They were helping the mercenaries when Korval brought the fight against Liad's enemies to Liad. He and the children are settling into their new neighborhood and are generally welcomed except by Roe Yingling who is determined to blame the refugee Liadens for all of Surebleak's problems. I liked the glimpse of Kareen's committee that is trying to gather information about the history of Surebleak.

DEGREES OF SEPARATION tells the story of how Don Eyr and Serana met and came to be on Liad. Don Eyr was the unwanted child in his clan. He was ignored by everyone but the servants and developed a talent for baking. When his Delm wanted him gone, he chose to go to s very famous culinary school on Lutetia where he met Serana who was a trained soldier in the employ of the Council. The Council had a bad habit of using its soldier to fight wars between rival counselors. When Serana and Don Eyr fall onto the bad side of a vengeful member of the Council, they decide to go to the planet where Don Eyr was born to start a bakery. Before they could go, Don Eyr was called home to Liad by his Delm who had lost him in a card game to a rival gambler. It took a while for Don Eyr to wrest himself out of the clutches of his clan and, while he was planning, he and Serana came upon some orphans in Low Port and decided to become guardians to them and to begin a Watch House like the one where Serana grew up.

EXCERPTS FROM TWO LIVES tells the expanded version of the Ballad of the RosaRing in which scientific progress becomes a scientific nightmare and lovers, one a scientist on the RosaRing and the other a military commander of a ship coming to it, need to make a horrible decision.

REVOLUTIONISTS is the final story in the book and takes place on a space station that is undergoing a revolution.

I liked the stories that took place on Liad and Surebleak better than the stories that took place elsewhere. I also preferred finding out more about characters who were prominent in the Liaden novels over meeting new people in unfamiliar places.

Favorite Quote:
Miri sighed and reached for her coffee mug. Change, and more change, and suddenly, everything'd be different.

All you could hope for, really, was that it'd be better too.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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