96 points, 5 STARS!
Alert: Complete and unabashed gushing ahead
Ia, the Prophet of a Thousand Years, was successful in her goal: she has become the best soldier she could be. Now she has to become the best officer she can be. But first, she has to return home to visit her family and prepare them for coming future events before shipping off to the Officer’s Academy. Meanwhile, the Salik are breaking through the Blockade and becoming more and more bold in their breaking of the treaty that keeps them behind the Blockade. Ia isn’t worried though, she knows just what to do.
“She loved the Dlmvla mind-set, because they loved illogic. They used logic (…) but they loved illogic. It was poetry to whatever passed for their souls.”
My standard warning for this series: Don’t read this review if you haven’t read read prior books in this series and want to. I cannot guarantee no spoilers for previous books in the series, and I don’t want you to spoil yourself.
I have a hard time figuring out just how much to say and how much to withhold when talking about these books. Mostly because I just want to gush over every aspect of the series.
An Officer’s Duty takes up where A Soldier’s Duty left off with only a little time jump between Ia taking off for home and arriving home – just travel time. I always forget how long Ia spends with her family. The first quarter of this book is devoted to them – and I couldn’t be happier. I love meeting her family and how Ia holds herself around them. I love seeing her struggle because with her family, she isn’t a soldier anymore and she has been one for a long time now at this point. I also love seeing how much she is setting up even so early in her story for events in the future.
Most importantly, though, I love seeing how others treat her when they actually know who and what she is and what Ia is doing for them. We learn the choices she has had to learn to make for how the future is going to play out. We learn some of what it is going to take to convince others of what she is, as certain people back home need to know and accept her. We get just a hint as to what is to come in the future. It hurts to leave home, because we’re leaving this network of people who know and trust Ia.
Officers training. You’d think after basic training took up the entire first half of book one, I’d be tired with training sequences. You’d think maybe we could skip this part. But no! It wasn’t boring at all! Oh my god, it added so much. There is no way to skip the events in this sequence and not be left wanting later on. Thankfully this section is much shorter than it was in the first book. Yet it is even more interesting. I love some of the characters introduced here so much. Also, Bennie is definitely a skut!
After training, we’re back in the field. And it is somehow even better than the previous two parts to the book. Wherever you think it is going, you don’t know. It is even better than what you think. I want to talk about it so much but I can’t because it is so, so spoilers. Everything in the first two books has been leading to this precise series of events. Once again you learn just how much Ia has had to maneuver around, how much she has had to change the way things were going to happen. I fucking love it.
In the review for the previous book, I talked about how much I loved Ia. The same is true of the secondary characters. I love them all, so much. Bennie is my bestest friend in the whole wide book world. It is a curious thing, though, that not even Ia is actually important to the story at hand. The secondary characters don’t play as big of a part in the story as time does. Ia herself is even a secondary character, for as much as she is our lead character. Time is the main character, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In An Officer’s Duty, we also see more of the galaxy that we’re playing in. In A Soldier’s Duty, we saw bits and pieces. A few worlds, a few races, a bit of Earth. Mostly the first book was about introducing Time and Ia. Now, we see much more of the Salik, perhaps more than you even wanted to see. I love how everything is set up. I like the dynamics all the groups play with each other. I like how things were set up the way they were set up even before Ia’s time. Set up to be there so she could succeed in her duty even before she was born. The plays within time has been amazing. I will say that I think the Terran Government is a bit idealistic, and I don’t think it could possibly work in real life. Humans aren’t that good.
I’ve read these books before, so I know how much more there is to go from here. So much more. I cannot wait to read it again.