Author Topic: Thoughts on Mercenary's Star  (Read 3357 times)

Flanker

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Thoughts on Mercenary's Star
« on: 30 April 2023, 11:58:06 »
So I'm new to BT lore. Chose to start reading with the Gray Death Legion trilogy. Just finished Mercenary's Star, the second book, and wanted to share my thoughts with everybody:

My aboslute favorite part of the book is their insertion onto the surface of Verthandi. Just like the mechwarriors, we have to sit back and see if the aerospace jocks and subterfuge schemes get the woefully inadequate Phobos through a Kurita blockade. Keith does a good job at describing the huge distances, high velocity, and decisiveness of aerospace combat. This isn't a plodding mech combat where we spend minutes plinking armor off a componenet. One pass is usually all it takes to kill or disable an aerospace combatant, which really raises the tension.

The world building in both this book and Decision at Thunder rift is also excellent. Keith takes a lot of time to describe the human and natural geography of Verthandi, which makes the whole reading experience richer. The planet and its people have a sort of very real and believable character to them, which is part of what makes the BT universe so good in my opinion.

The Kurita leadership (Ricol, Nagumo, Kevlavic, the moon base commander, and the evil doctor) are great villains and easy to despise. I don't know if every BT novel paints Kurita in such a negative light, but they really are odious war criminals. Still, Keith paints them as capable individuals who don't mind to employ grossly immoral methods in their pursuit of self-advancement. In this way, they remain dangerous and compelling.

Needless to say, Keith knows how to write a mech battle as one would hope with any BT novel.

Keith describes the nature of the guerilla conflict in a surprisingly contemporary way. He published the book in 1987 and correctly identifies the alligance of the undecided verthandians as the center of gravity in the conflict. This sort of thinking resonates very much with the COIN doctrine that the U.S. Military would later adopt in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

The interpersonal romance stuff struck me as the weakest. I didn't feel very invested in the romance drama between Grayson and Lori. They both somehow feel like middle schoolers rather than adults. And I'm completely baffled by the flings Grayson had with other women. Either the characterization wasn't strong or my intereste was already low, because I couldn't follow it.

Overall, I would recommend this read. I'd love to hear any of your thoughts on this book.

I'm reading The Price of Glory after this of course. After that it's off to the Blood of Kerensky trilogy. I would read Warrior trilogy first, but frankly, I just want to get to Clan stuff.

Lorcan Nagle

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Re: Thoughts on Mercenary's Star
« Reply #1 on: 30 April 2023, 12:13:06 »
I would strongly advise reading Wolves on the Border at least before moving to Blood of Kerensky, it'll add some nice depth.  And Heir to the Dragon is a great look at Kuritan culture from a more sympathetic perspective than the Gray Death novels, which runs in and out of the events of Wolves on the Border as well as the Grey Death and Warrior trilogies.
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Frabby

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Re: Thoughts on Mercenary's Star
« Reply #2 on: 30 April 2023, 13:00:29 »
Seconded. Wolves on the Border turned Kurita from a cardboard stock villain faction into a fan-favorite faction, and Heir to the Dragon even manages to show them in a more positive light.

Also agree that the Warrior trilogy is a must-read. The characters are arguably very one-dimensional but the storyline is great. BattleTech had an awesome wedding scene and a dwarf character before GoT. ;)

The initial Clan novels all suffer from the early installment weirdness syndrome.
The Blood of Kerensky trilogy is solid Stackpole: good, intricately intertwined stories about one-dimensional characters. Personally, I wasn’t super excited about the Thurston books - apparently I just dislike the Clans too much - but most others seem to hold them in high esteem.
« Last Edit: 30 April 2023, 13:02:05 by Frabby »
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warriorsoul

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Re: Thoughts on Mercenary's Star
« Reply #3 on: 15 May 2023, 12:54:01 »
 I like the Gray Death trilogy, but I think there's a pattern of the 1st act being amazing, the 2nd act so-so, and then the 3rd act feels rushed and unsatisfying.
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idea weenie

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Re: Thoughts on Mercenary's Star
« Reply #4 on: 15 May 2023, 21:43:32 »
We can re-read the books to make sure, Humble Bundle has several Battletech books available.

SANSd20

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Re: Thoughts on Mercenary's Star
« Reply #5 on: 15 May 2023, 23:20:16 »
We can re-read the books to make sure, Humble Bundle has several Battletech books available.

I like how you think.
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