98 points, 5 STARS!
Alert: Complete and unabashed gushing ahead
Ia’s Damned is on Dabin after slagging their ship. It’s okay, they have a new ship waiting for them. However, things on Dabin are worse than Ia anticipated as Feyori meddling has reached a crescendo and something has to be done with them or risk the entire Galaxy’s falling 300 years from now. The Feyori have made Bloody Mary mad, and now they’ll have to pay the consequences.
“And, what, I’m supposed to just sit here for the next two months?”
“Well, I don’t expect the Admiral-General of the Terran Space Force to just twiddle her thumbs.”
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.
Hardship is the book where, if it were any other series, I’d be complaining that this was a side adventure at best, and why did we even have to read about it? But, because this is Theirs Not to Reason Why, and this is Ia I know it is important. My Prophet says it is important, so it is important. This and Damnation were originally one book, but it grew too long and had to be split apart. I’m okay with this. Others may not be. I just know I love this series too much to complain about having more.
Ia and her crew are without their ship. The entirety of this book is spent on planet for the first time in a long time for the crew. The Salik are trying to control Dabin, which is a perfect planet for their species. While the Damned do fight the Salk a lot, Ia herself has other, more important matters to fight. She is fighting against incompetence in the upper echelon of Dabin’s military. It isn’t just a fight against fate this time.
Ia is also fighting against the Feyori. They have the same powers as Ia does (though her clairvoyance is way stronger), only they’re better at it because they are the font from which her powers come from. Ia made one of the Meddlers very angry a few books ago, and now he is making his move against her. Ia has to reign them in, make them see reason. This fight, while not showy like a space battle, is amazingly well done. Don’t make my Prophet angry, you’ll regret it! But, the method the Feyori employee against Ia is also amazing. They turn her powers against her so she is fighting herself. It is marvelously well done.
Hardship is the book that sets Ia up for greatness ahead. She told us that Dabin was important. She told us what she does here will have vast implications for what is to come. Yet none of what she foresaw could stack up against the unforeseen good that comes out of going to Dabin. Even my Prophet can be blindsided by a dice roll.
Yes, we spend a whole book on a planet in Hardship. But, the fight was still glorious. The stakes were still high. The solution was still perfectly executed. After this, we’re back on a ship, this time Damnation. The joys and fears going on inside me as I gear up to read the last book in this series one more time is unreal. I don’t want it to end! But, I need to read it!