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Author Topic: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer  (Read 6081 times)

FaithBomb

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Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« on: 23 May 2021, 13:37:51 »
Ok, I just finished Blood Will Tell, and I have to say, it just about ticks off every box that you could want in a BattleTech novel.

First of all, character. The characterization in this book is very well done. Schmetzer does a great job getting us into the head of Danai, something that was kind of lacking in her earlier appearances, and you get an actual feel for who she is and what she wants to accomplish. You can see her as being the future ruler of the Capellan realm down the line, and you get to see her grow into her roles and responsibilities as the book progresses. That said, even the secondary characters were well fleshed out. We got just enough of Mina to be heartbroken when the vicious Republic terrorists cut her life short. You got a sense of who she was. And we get to see a bit of Xavier McCarron and Daoshen Liao as well, their nuances and their approaches to things.

The action and pacing were well done. Battles were tight, visceral, and felt important. They didn't drag on or fall short, they hit the sweet spot with furthering the plot. On more than one occasion, I was a little lost with everything being new and fancy and cutting edge, but it wasn't enough that it detracted from the book in any way. Yes, there were a few times where I was saying to myself "Can we please have a BattleMech appear that I actually recognize???" but that seems to be the book's only flaw that I see. Maybe I'm just a grognard. Either way, the book was amazing, and if this is what we're getting more of in the ilClan era, I'm super excited for that.
« Last Edit: 23 May 2021, 13:44:32 by FaithBomb »
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Niopsian

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #1 on: 23 May 2021, 14:32:31 »
This book had the "What the hell ARE those things?" segment that I was expecting out of Hour of the Wolf, vis a vis drones. Favorite part of the book, honestly.

I liked the inclusion of Mina Liao and the ex-Knight. Any author would have a difficult climb trying to get me to buy into the Capellan mindset but Schmetzer does a better than average job. The POV chapters from the RAF felt out of place. Necessary to move the plot forward, maybe, but it felt like screen time that could have gone to some of the CCAF supporting characters. Also, the thing with Baxter was just kind of weird, like it was intended to be a bigger plot point but curtailed.

But those are minor issues. My only real complaint is that I felt the book stopped rather than ended, if that makes any sense. Like we've seen thesis (I know what the state needs to do), we've seen antithesis (You don't even understand what it means to be Capellan) but we're just short of synthesis.

Still, leaving them wanting more is always a good thing.  :thumbsup:


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FaithBomb

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #2 on: 23 May 2021, 14:42:38 »
This book had the "What the hell ARE those things?" segment that I was expecting out of Hour of the Wolf, vis a vis drones. Favorite part of the book, honestly.

I liked the inclusion of Mina Liao and the ex-Knight. Any author would have a difficult climb trying to get me to buy into the Capellan mindset but Schmetzer does a better than average job. The POV chapters from the RAF felt out of place. Necessary to move the plot forward, maybe, but it felt like screen time that could have gone to some of the CCAF supporting characters. Also, the thing with Baxter was just kind of weird, like it was intended to be a bigger plot point but curtailed.

But those are minor issues. My only real complaint is that I felt the book stopped rather than ended, if that makes any sense. Like we've seen thesis (I know what the state needs to do), we've seen antithesis (You don't even understand what it means to be Capellan) but we're just short of synthesis.

Still, leaving them wanting more is always a good thing.  :thumbsup:

Well, sure, it's not a self-contained novel that wraps itself up at the end, but still.

And YES, it brings up a HUGE point. We see how hard it is to fight the Republic with all their gizmos, exactly what we would expect when the walls come down, but yet....we don't see any of it in Hour of the Wolf. We get none of the feel of trying to overcome new technologies and enemies in HotW, in the biggest fight of all, but yet we can get it here? It once again knocks HotW down by pointing out one of it's glaring failures.
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mikecj

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #3 on: 23 May 2021, 15:41:43 »
Halfway through but the only thing jarring me out of the story is a 40 year old getting lectures I'd expect an 18 year old to need.

However, this book has done more for CC background than anything else.  Jason did a great job rounding out a culture that never seemed to get much depth since the original House book.  The dam scene was great.
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Niopsian

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #4 on: 23 May 2021, 17:43:59 »
Halfway through but the only thing jarring me out of the story is a 40 year old getting lectures I'd expect an 18 year old to need.

An unintended consequence of how the fiction situation and the narrative tempo has affected these characters.

Sword of Sedition came out sixteen years ago. That's just about the same amount of time between the publication of the Warrior Trilogy and... Sword of Sedition.

Quote
However, this book has done more for CC background than anything else.  Jason did a great job rounding out a culture that never seemed to get much depth since the original House book.  The dam scene was great.

Very much so. Jason's look at how the CapCon manages to just function on a day to day basis has a great element of, I dunno, realpolitik to it. "It's all bunk. We know it. They know it too, but pretend it's real because they want it to be real and they want their lives to have meaning. We know they know, but we pretend we don't know they know, and we pretend to believe they believe because so long as we're all wrapped up in pretending together we make it through the day and on to the next one. Also, death to House Davion and the Republic."  ;D


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FaithBomb

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #5 on: 23 May 2021, 18:23:18 »
An unintended consequence of how the fiction situation and the narrative tempo has affected these characters.

Sword of Sedition came out sixteen years ago. That's just about the same amount of time between the publication of the Warrior Trilogy and... Sword of Sedition.

Very much so. Jason's look at how the CapCon manages to just function on a day to day basis has a great element of, I dunno, realpolitik to it. "It's all bunk. We know it. They know it too, but pretend it's real because they want it to be real and they want their lives to have meaning. We know they know, but we pretend we don't know they know, and we pretend to believe they believe because so long as we're all wrapped up in pretending together we make it through the day and on to the next one. Also, death to House Davion and the Republic."  ;D

And it's more nuanced than just "Oh, Space North Korea!" He does a great job of showing how it actually works, rather than having it just exist until it can be liberated by the "freedom loving" Davions.
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #6 on: 24 May 2021, 07:40:26 »
This was an excellent book overall. I noticed a few minor spelling errors, but only a few so it didn't take me out of the story. I'm hoping we'll see more novels of this scope and character.

Only one element took me out of the story a little bit, some very American views on something that we can't talk about on the boards because of rules. But again, that was pretty minor.

I enjoyed this book. The detail was in the right places, with the characters and what they're going through. The hints of bigger and more explosive things to come was great. Getting another look inside the Confederation was also fantastic. You don't have to like a faction (although I do), but a novel like this lets you see where the Capellans are coming from, to understand their motives a bit more. Makes them more compelling as either hero or villain.
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #7 on: 24 May 2021, 12:52:08 »
I also enjoyed this book a lot for many of the aforementioned reasons.

That said one of my favourite bits was the exploration of why the Capellan system, while alien, could also be compelling to live in. (The takedown of the billionaire was particularly viscerally satisfying — insofar as while it demonstrated that it has workarounds, but they’re different workarounds)

Also, some of the little things, like the cushions of the Black Knight hitting differently — it was /thoughtful/.

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #8 on: 24 May 2021, 13:30:53 »
I enjoyed this book as well!  I had one minor quibble.

In the TRO 3145/3150 blurbs, we heard a couple instances of CCAF atrocities on New Syrtis and other worlds.  Normally, it was a MAC unit purging a city by fire, something of that sort.  In the novel, we hear that Danai doesn't ascribe to this type of warfare--that the Ares Conventions may not still be in place, but they are something to live up to while serving the state.

I think a paragraph or two reconciling those two things would have helped my admittedly FedSuns-Centric viewpoint.  That being said, I enjoyed the novel immensely and would like more from Mr. Schmetzer when he is ready to revisit Danai!

Also, I look forward to finding out why she named her fabulous new mech "Julian."  I mean, we know who she is referring to, but a little more as to the why!

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #9 on: 24 May 2021, 16:57:53 »
I enjoyed this book as well!  I had one minor quibble.

In the TRO 3145/3150 blurbs, we heard a couple instances of CCAF atrocities on New Syrtis and other worlds.  Normally, it was a MAC unit purging a city by fire, something of that sort.  In the novel, we hear that Danai doesn't ascribe to this type of warfare--that the Ares Conventions may not still be in place, but they are something to live up to while serving the state.

I think a paragraph or two reconciling those two things would have helped my admittedly FedSuns-Centric viewpoint.  That being said, I enjoyed the novel immensely and would like more from Mr. Schmetzer when he is ready to revisit Danai!

Also, I look forward to finding out why she named her fabulous new mech "Julian."  I mean, we know who she is referring to, but a little more as to the why!

I think the Jullian thing is mentioned in one of the newer sourcebooks. The 3145s or Shattered Fortress.
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FaithBomb

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #10 on: 24 May 2021, 17:22:48 »
I think the Jullian thing is mentioned in one of the newer sourcebooks. The 3145s or Shattered Fortress.

I know it's mentioned in Legends
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #11 on: 24 May 2021, 19:39:09 »
Dang, you beat me to it. I was planning to post my own review, probably still will. I need more time to get my thoughts together. I can say that I enjoyed the book. Characters in recent BattleTech fiction have been hit and miss, leaning towards miss for me. Blood Will Tell was mostly hits.

I didn't understand a word of that last conversation between Danai and Daoshen, but I felt the emotion between them.
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #12 on: 24 May 2021, 19:45:37 »
I know it's mentioned in Legends

"Instead, she chose the Black Knight for its symbolism—it is immediately recognizable on the field as a commander’s ‘Mech. And, much to the chagrin of her command lance, she gave the ’Mech a name that would remind her of her duty to the state.

She named it Julian."
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Niopsian

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #13 on: 24 May 2021, 22:23:24 »
And, of course, the majority of us being perpetually stuck in our high school years are sitting here ignoring the study on sacrifice and duty. No, we’re focusing on the more important questions, like “but does that mean she likes him?”


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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #14 on: 24 May 2021, 22:36:02 »
Well for House Davion fans, whether she likes him or wants to kill him is an important question to have answered. Unfortunately it doesn't sound like it was answered in this book. I'll probably still pick it up because Jason Schmetzer writes good books even if they're about factions I dislike and books by good authors should be bought to make it clear that writing good books, even if the author isn't as big, are what get sales.
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Templar87

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #15 on: 25 May 2021, 06:09:38 »
I enjoyed this book as well!  I had one minor quibble.

In the TRO 3145/3150 blurbs, we heard a couple instances of CCAF atrocities on New Syrtis and other worlds.  Normally, it was a MAC unit purging a city by fire, something of that sort.  In the novel, we hear that Danai doesn't ascribe to this type of warfare--that the Ares Conventions may not still be in place, but they are something to live up to while serving the state.

I think a paragraph or two reconciling those two things would have helped my admittedly FedSuns-Centric viewpoint.


That's honestly pretty easy to explain; Danai has an incredibly rose-tinted view of the CCAF in general and her regiment in particular (looks at 2 MAC's behaviour in the Victoria War). Her thinking a thing does not make it so, especially considering her lack of control over Capellan forces on New Syrtis (yes, she claims the Ki-linn and/or Daoshen ordered nerve agent attack isn't her responsibility, but I can only ask in response to that: Is Danai in command of the Capellan invasion of New Syrtis, or is she not?).






For myself, about halfway through so far, and it's a book I have highly mixed feelings about. On the one hand, it's an excellent character study of Danai, and Schmetzer's action scenes are top-notch as always; on the other, I'm getting an uncomfortable feeling of whitewash. Like, I get that a core element is, effectively, Danai being sold on the Confederation and how good it is for people to be forcefully dragged into the Celestial Wisdom's embrace, but there's an uncomfortable feeling - much like the idea in Splinter of Hope of pro-Capellan protestors on New Syrtis who are not lynched on the spot by the rest of the population (or arrested by the AFFS to prevent exactly that) after the Capellans' brutal invasion and occupation, and the liberation by the AFFS - that this is supposed to be objectively true. I don't think it's deliberate, but I can only provide my own reactions.
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FaithBomb

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #16 on: 25 May 2021, 10:05:00 »

For myself, about halfway through so far, and it's a book I have highly mixed feelings about. On the one hand, it's an excellent character study of Danai, and Schmetzer's action scenes are top-notch as always; on the other, I'm getting an uncomfortable feeling of whitewash. Like, I get that a core element is, effectively, Danai being sold on the Confederation and how good it is for people to be forcefully dragged into the Celestial Wisdom's embrace, but there's an uncomfortable feeling - much like the idea in Splinter of Hope of pro-Capellan protestors on New Syrtis who are not lynched on the spot by the rest of the population (or arrested by the AFFS to prevent exactly that) after the Capellans' brutal invasion and occupation, and the liberation by the AFFS - that this is supposed to be objectively true. I don't think it's deliberate, but I can only provide my own reactions.

What exactly is being whitewashed? I'm trying to get an understanding of the point you're making before offering comment.
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Maingunnery

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #17 on: 25 May 2021, 11:44:35 »
It was a good book of greys, even in a faction we see the good, the hardliners, and the dangerous fanatics.
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five_corparty

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #18 on: 25 May 2021, 12:42:19 »
I really enjoyed this book for pretttty much all the reasons mentioned above!

the "lessons" part was mentioned, but I really -liked- that: too often, we've seen in a main character go from running a battalion/regiment to taking over a March/House and they just... know what to do?  heck, even the US Army, not the greatest bastion of forward thinking, pulls officers off the line to learn them about their next position! (as a vet, I'm allowed to dog on my own branch, it's in the retirement briefing.  ;)

But here, she's 100% unprepared to run... anything, and to see her learn and not just magically know was a great curveball to the normal BTech conventions.

I loved the fact the author didn't pull any punches and flat out killed Mina.  Now, I'm very much an anti-fridging advocate (look it up, I'm not google  ;) ) and while this came close, he avoided the cliché because this is war, and besides Mina he also killed a LOT of people.  You can't plot armor people just because the readers are gonna like them: in war, everyone's a target. I could go on and on, but bottom line, he threaded a VERY difficult needle here, and I wanted to give that shout out to the nuts-and-bolts technique on display.

Loved the drones and such: I very much feel this was a great look at what fighting the Republic is like: high-tech gizmos and gadgets galore (you want thing-a-ma-drones? I've got twenty!) and they're all trying to KILL you!  The fact the House Troops rallied and fought forward reminds us (the readers) why the wee-lil CCAF has always managed to survive.

Anyways, I suspected that it was going to be cut short with book 2 after ilClan comes out, and so it didn't surprise me to just -end- but still, I immediately wanted to go on to the next one and see what happens next!

Templar87

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #19 on: 25 May 2021, 13:36:56 »
What exactly is being whitewashed? I'm trying to get an understanding of the point you're making before offering comment.


I don't know that I could point to one specific thing, but it feels like there's a - like I said, I'd assume not deliberate - undertone of that, "Oh, it's okay that the Capellans are conquering all these worlds, because once the populations stop being ungrateful and submit neatly to their caste assignments, they'll be objectively better off." Like, maybe it's just an artefact of the POVs we have, and I admit I'm not a Capellan fan at all, but like said, I can only offer my POV.






Well, finished it. And it doesn't really change my feelings any; I felt like the engagements with Stone's Fury were very much the highest point of the book, with it giving a genuine feel that the Capellans are up against things that they haven't run into before and that are a deadly serious threat (which from my understanding - I haven't read it yet, and tbh comments I hear on it make me really disinclined to - Hour of the Wolf absolutely fails at).
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FaithBomb

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #20 on: 25 May 2021, 13:46:22 »

I don't know that I could point to one specific thing, but it feels like there's a - like I said, I'd assume not deliberate - undertone of that, "Oh, it's okay that the Capellans are conquering all these worlds, because once the populations stop being ungrateful and submit neatly to their caste assignments, they'll be objectively better off." Like, maybe it's just an artefact of the POVs we have, and I admit I'm not a Capellan fan at all, but like said, I can only offer my POV.



Well that's the whole idea. It's easy to paint the Capellan system as evil/bad/oppressive whatever, but it's more difficult to paint a nuanced picture of the geopolitics of the BattleTech Universe. It's refreshing to see it not painted as black and white.
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #21 on: 25 May 2021, 14:41:14 »
I think it's basically that everyone has their mind made up about the CapCon. There's a lot of things about the CapCon and the stuff it does that's reprehensible, yes. Some people will dislike the CapCon because of it, others will either relish twirling their villainous mustaches or set those things aside and like the CapCon anyway. But nobody's opinion is getting changed at this point. So all the bad shit will continue to get mostly glossed over in CapCon POV novels, and the CapCon will keep on doing nasty shit in the material written from other POV's without there being any major repercussions from it. I can see a writer just not wanting to bother with it; emphasizing the nastier aspects will just make the Liao fans feel they're the victims of broad brush demonization, and the non-Liao fans don't need any more reason to not be Liao fans.

FaithBomb

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #22 on: 25 May 2021, 14:52:27 »
It's a huge tent here in the Liao fan camp!!!
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #23 on: 25 May 2021, 15:01:29 »
It's a huge tent here in the Liao fan camp!!!

Yeah, you have apologists for atrocities, and people who revel in atrocities.  ;)

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #24 on: 25 May 2021, 15:06:47 »
Yeah, you have apologists for atrocities, and people who revel in atrocities.  ;)

See, now you're just playing on stereotypes. Who among us in the land of fiction is without sin?
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #25 on: 25 May 2021, 15:15:33 »
See, now you're just playing on stereotypes. Who among us in the land of fiction is without sin?

The glorious SLDF... no wait... Gutara Junction

Confederation?  We call it Tuesday.

The LCAF!  No wait... the night of rage...

For the Coordinator... oh I forgot Kentares

Marik... Anton's tantrum

Taurians!  Vendetta anyone?

ComStar!  Sarna HPG

Word of Blake!  Traps Volcano anyone?

Outworlds Alliance?  Canopus?  Davion?  RoTS?    Um, gotta check the books, BRB

And back to you Faith.







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FaithBomb

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #26 on: 25 May 2021, 15:38:48 »
The glorious SLDF... no wait... Gutara Junction

Confederation?  We call it Tuesday.

The LCAF!  No wait... the night of rage...

For the Coordinator... oh I forgot Kentares

Marik... Anton's tantrum

Taurians!  Vendetta anyone?

ComStar!  Sarna HPG

Word of Blake!  Traps Volcano anyone?

Outworlds Alliance?  Canopus?  Davion?  RoTS?    Um, gotta check the books, BRB

And back to you Faith.

Thank you!
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #27 on: 25 May 2021, 17:44:39 »
I don't know that I could point to one specific thing, but it feels like there's a - like I said, I'd assume not deliberate - undertone of that, "Oh, it's okay that the Capellans are conquering all these worlds, because once the populations stop being ungrateful and submit neatly to their caste assignments, they'll be objectively better off." Like, maybe it's just an artefact of the POVs we have, and I admit I'm not a Capellan fan at all, but like said, I can only offer my POV.

Caste assignments?  Plural?  No, no, no - there's just one assignment for anyone who can't prove their bona fides as an insurgent supporting the regime change to the Confederation...Servitor.  If they work hard and keep their noses clean for 10+ years, then maybe, just maybe, they'll be worthy of a caste assignment.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #28 on: 25 May 2021, 18:03:43 »
Caste assignments?  Plural?  No, no, no - there's just one assignment for anyone who can't prove their bona fides as an insurgent supporting the regime change to the Confederation...Servitor.  If they work hard and keep their noses clean for 10+ years, then maybe, just maybe, they'll be worthy of a caste assignment.

Anti-Capellan propaganda if ever I've seen it. ;)
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #29 on: 25 May 2021, 21:42:06 »
I will be very carefull not to break any board rule here. Its like walking in a minefield.

First: The book is good. Its readable, fluid, not boring. The battle scenes are very good, not repetitive, and have some very nice points like the "surprise" moment toward the end.

Now, the bad thing, most of the characters. Outside of the RAF guy who trained to defend his homeland and its taken away to defend a desert hellhole, and a very professional BA pilot with freon for blood, the rest of the secondary characters are forgetable at best. And while Mina Liao is used as a way to show the reader about the capellan social system, it ended sounding hollow, and way too much as some people that support certain politics ideas that i have meet in the past.

Finally, Danai, a 40 years old women that behaves and sound like a women half her age, if not more. A women trained in the Court of Canopus by a very seasoned politican (Erde, and this is repeated a couple of times), that survived the showbiz of Solaris, but have the political acumen of a Highschool graduate, and needs of a tutor to teach her basic things of politics! And also, a veteran soldier that leads a battalion (or more, can understand a thing of the Capellan ranks) but still acts and fights like she is still in Solaris 7.

I have no previous exposure to danais in fiction, what little i know from her was from sourcebooks. But this novel gave me the image of a very pampered women that still have a HUGE Daddy issue, and learned nothing of basic politics and statecraft, and learned barely the minimun about beign a military officer. I can excuse the military part, as i am not military, but i know some, officers, and they are aware that people depends of them. As for the politics, if you pay a minimun of attetion to your local political estructure, the minimun required not to be part of the mindless herd, you will have more preparation than Danai.

Lastly, two more things. I began to laugh loudly when she got had her "Maude Lovejoy" moment (you killed 6 kids!!!!). Lady, your country have made of the creating of murderous terrorist organization an art form for the last 100 years. I think its a little hypocrital from her to be offended about that. Also, while some will find "enjoyable", i founded that part about the billonaire is stupid at least.The guy is offering a way to pacify the populous faster, and just demand very little in return (be a noble). We all know the CapCom. You can use the moron until he is not longer useful, and sick the Maskirovka on him after that.

Also, WHO THE HELL BRINGS CIVILIANS TO AN INVASION!!!!??? Leave that danais in the JS, or at the very least in high orbit until you really really secured the main city, or a big area around your LZ.

PD: Sorry for mispelling and other horrors, english is not my main language.
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #30 on: 25 May 2021, 21:53:39 »
Caste assignments?  Plural?  No, no, no - there's just one assignment for anyone who can't prove their bona fides as an insurgent supporting the regime change to the Confederation...Servitor.  If they work hard and keep their noses clean for 10+ years, then maybe, just maybe, they'll be worthy of a caste assignment.

You do see Danai trying to step away from 5+ years of servitude and acknowledging the corruption in the Confederation.  She doesn’t apologize about the rote but neither does she look away from it.

I don’t know what the future books holds for her but she is definitely not like either of her birth parents.

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #31 on: 25 May 2021, 21:59:05 »
Ok, so I purchased this on Kindle today. I’m at work and will get a start on reading it after dinner, housework, couple stuff, etc.
I’m excited that Jason S has written this - I love his stuff, so I’m stoked about that.
But... there’s a lot riding on this.
The recent crop of books have made me fall out of love with BattleTech big time.
In my opinion the quality of writing has dropped dramatically, to the point I’ve just skimmed most of the recent books as cardboard characters took on moustache-twirling mad men bad guys.
The Hour of the Wolf was damn near the last nail in the coffin for me and saw me embark on a bit of a disconnect with the fiction.


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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #32 on: 26 May 2021, 00:28:51 »
See, now you're just playing on stereotypes. Who among us in the land of fiction is without sin?
None of us. Fortunately, the victors get to write the history and prosecute the guilty (on the losing side).
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #33 on: 26 May 2021, 02:07:29 »
But... there’s a lot riding on this.
The recent crop of books have made me fall out of love with BattleTech big time.

reading things like this makes me glad i never invested heavily in the fiction at any point

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #34 on: 26 May 2021, 02:35:10 »
(...)as cardboard characters took on moustache-twirling mad men bad guys.

I see you have been rereading the old Stackpole books.  ;D

I know what you mean. I just wanted to point out that BT is full of this kind of characters from day 1. The age of the reader is a factor here. At least it is for me. I have to put on 14 year old glasses before I pick most BT novels. It is also why I prefer the short story antologies over the big plot books. I prefer sourcebooks for that.

But yeah, moustache bad guys were here form day  one.

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #35 on: 26 May 2021, 02:41:49 »
Finished this one earlier in the week. Like many here I liked it action and narrative flow-wise.

As far as pro-Capellan bias goes, I think Schmetzer gave a more nuanced look at the system, why native Capellans support it, and implying the moral downsides of it without hitting the reader over the head either way. Not surprising, considering he did the same when he literally (re)wrote the book on House Liao.

Being on board with George Orwell in how I regard totalitarian regimes in general, I'm still not sold on supporting the CC or viewing them as a righteous faction. But Schmetzer's writing here makes them real characters worth reading about instead of 1-D cartoon villains (cough Warrior trilogy cough)

And while Mina Liao is used as a way to show the reader about the capellan social system, it ended sounding hollow, and way too much as some people that support certain politics ideas that i have meet in the past.

Lastly, two more things. I began to laugh loudly when she got had her "Maude Lovejoy" moment (you killed 6 kids!!!!). Lady, your country have made of the creating of murderous terrorist organization an art form for the last 100 years. I think its a little hypocrital from her to be offended about that. Also, while some will find "enjoyable", i founded that part about the billonaire is stupid at least.The guy is offering a way to pacify the populous faster, and just demand very little in return (be a noble). We all know the CapCom. You can use the moron until he is not longer useful, and sick the Maskirovka on him after that.

Agree with your opinion on all of these, but I figure Danai's moral blindness and short-sighted treatment of the billionaire stem from understandable character flaws. Namely her rather idealistic view of her homeland and social system, plenty of BT characters and real people alike being guilty of the same thing.

It is also why I prefer the short story antologies over the big plot books. I prefer sourcebooks for that.

I do like the novels for 'spoiler' type events and getting an overview on a conflict without getting bogged down in 'Unit X landed on Planet Alpha and fought Unit Y' x 20 (or x 50). But in general, yeah, I'll second your opinion on sourcebooks vs novels.
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #36 on: 26 May 2021, 05:00:06 »
You do see Danai trying to step away from 5+ years of servitude and acknowledging the corruption in the Confederation.  She doesn’t apologize about the rote but neither does she look away from it.

The servitor issue isn't necessarily the Capellans being evil/corrupt, but represents a difference of philosophy.  Being State-centric, they view citizenship as a reward for service to the State.  If you're coming in from outside (by whatever method), you need to pay your dues.  Wealthy nobles can buy their way in, as Jacob Bannson did.  Citizens of worlds that fought the Confederation's coming need to atone through service. 

It's interesting that these rules have presumably been on the books for centuries, but would rarely have been applied prior to 3057.  I mean, count how many worlds the Confederation took and held during the Succession Wars.

I'll wait.

Right.  So, basically, the Servitors were almost exclusively juvenile delinquents who failed their citizenship tests and the occasional POW.  When huge numbers of Servitors were brought aboard in and after Guerrero, Sun Tzu had to make reforms to the system, because it was being tested on a large scale really for the first time (with the possible exception of the First Succession War).
« Last Edit: 26 May 2021, 05:04:55 by Mendrugo »
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #37 on: 26 May 2021, 08:03:23 »
It's interesting that these rules have presumably been on the books for centuries, but would rarely have been applied prior to 3057.  I mean, count how many worlds the Confederation took and held during the Succession Wars.

I'll wait.

<flips through Handbook House Liao maps>

Found one! Rollis, freed from the Davionista yoke since 2822. No doubt the loss of Iskandia wood has kept House Davion's rulers up at night, vowing never to rest until this vital quasi-Periphery trading hub and its denizens can once more enjoy the Six Liberties.
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #38 on: 26 May 2021, 10:19:11 »
<flips through Handbook House Liao maps>

Found one! Rollis, freed from the Davionista yoke since 2822. No doubt the loss of Iskandia wood has kept House Davion's rulers up at night, vowing never to rest until this vital quasi-Periphery trading hub and its denizens can once more enjoy the Six Liberties.

Or the planet and its inhabitants goes back to Taurian control, and finally enjoy some real "freedom" again.
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #39 on: 26 May 2021, 10:22:43 »
Freedom is an illusion wherever you go.
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #40 on: 27 May 2021, 12:58:36 »
In one section of Chapter 8, the Duchy of Andurien is stated as being "a component state of the Free Worlds League". However, according to Shattered Fortress, the Anduriens remain separate from the reconstituted League as of last reporting, nestled as it is in a marriage alliance with the Magistracy of Canopus... and, through them, with the Confederation itself.

That said, the Oriente Protectorate is not much farther from Castrovia than the Duchy of Andurien is. Perhaps Oriente would be a better target for the kind of (false) propaganda being discussed in that chapter?

-----

Speaking of the Magistracy, I find it somewhat unfortunate that Danai - who, so far as I'm aware, is no less in line to become Magestrix as she is to become Chancellor - has gone to such lengths to distance herself from the Centrella side of her joint lineage. But then, she wouldn't be the first BattleTech character with a double surname to lean more heavily on one side over the other.

But then, perhaps the Canopian influence might be more noticeable if/when she inherits the Chancellorship, should she set out to reform certain aspects of Confederation society?
« Last Edit: 27 May 2021, 13:02:44 by Nerroth »

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #41 on: 27 May 2021, 13:06:20 »


But then, perhaps the Canopian influence might be more noticeable if/when she inherits the Chancellorship, should she set out to reform certain aspects of Confederation society?

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #42 on: 27 May 2021, 13:54:29 »
I thought the book was OK (and merely OK) until Mina went. Felt too much like a checkmark: "Do something to piss off the main character". I don't like reading about battles in BattleTech, there's just so many ways one can describe weapons fire etc. and it gets repetitive fast. Character interactions are way more interesting. And no more Mina meant way less interaction.

Though i don't like reading about combat, points for drones and some interesting uses with them. And dropping Purifier Adaptives from OmniVehicles was neat.

When Hall stuff ended, i was surprised the book continued. Felt a bit like dragging on unnecessarily.

While i like reading about Danai (think she was among my favorites in MWDA books), this kinda felt way too... i don't know, common? Learning that being a fighter is not all, what ruling entails, etc. Or maybe i've seen that just done better, dunno. Still, now that this is done, perhaps there will be more interesting stuff later on.

Also didn't like that there were some expository sections covering BattleTech history like Succession Wars. I suppose those are included in case there are casual BattleTech fans or readers who've read some BT but it's been a while, but for a fan like me, those are just an annoyance.
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #43 on: 27 May 2021, 14:21:09 »
Off to the pleasure circus with you!!!

Nobody expects the Capellan Inquisition!
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #44 on: 27 May 2021, 15:56:14 »
Overall, I enjoyed the book both for the story and for the way Jason told the story.  Worth my time & money!   :thumbsup:
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #45 on: 27 May 2021, 16:12:48 »
Nobody expects the Capellan Inquisition!

which is weird, because like one in three denizens of the confederation is maskirovka so you'd figure they would be the very first people to expect

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #46 on: 27 May 2021, 16:15:50 »
which is weird, because like one in three denizens of the confederation is maskirovka so you'd figure they would be the very first people to expect
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #47 on: 27 May 2021, 16:23:38 »
See, every citizen does their part!
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #48 on: 27 May 2021, 16:25:03 »
which is weird, because like one in three denizens of the confederation is maskirovka so you'd figure they would be the very first people to expect

Yes but expecting it is such a normal part of daily life it becomes normalized. So they don’t expect it. And when they least suspect it because they suspect too much for too long. BAM. Inquisition
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #49 on: 27 May 2021, 16:39:47 »
So you expect it most when you expect it least?


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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #50 on: 27 May 2021, 16:41:29 »
i'm thinking it's like if the kool aid man burst through a wall and literally no one reacted

"just arrest someone and leave, duane. you're ruining the party"

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #51 on: 27 May 2021, 20:30:47 »
My head-canon on the drones:

You remember the bit a couple chapters into HotW, where Stone goes "if we give the clans a chance to fight duels they will, and we want that." It didn't work because Alaric could see that as a path to failure, but giving the Clans a chance to fight honor duels means not pissing them off to the point they break zell - which means few or no drones.

So they sent the drones to another point they would be useful, playing boogeyman for the cappies.

That said, HotW might have been better with the drones, they could have given Warbear a chance to show his tactical chops by suddenly coming up with a solution.



Years ago there was this show, transformers beast wars. it ran for a while, and there was some heavy-handed character development; standard cartoon morality stuff. It ended but was followed by a sequel series, transformers beast machines. It had some of the same characters, but the thing is? They had to learn all the lessons they already had, and go through the same development on Cybertron as they previously had on Earth.

Apparently the producers did it on purpose, to re-establish the characters for the "new audience" or something. I'm not sure the same thing isn't happening here.  As has been pointed out, it's been a while since the dark age novels came out.
« Last Edit: 27 May 2021, 23:58:55 by Greatclub »

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #52 on: 27 May 2021, 20:42:45 »
That said, HotW might have been better with the drones, they could have given Warbear a chance to show his tactical chops by suddenly coming up with a solution.

That would have required an author who thinks splitting your naval forces between the zenith and nadir jump points is tactical brilliance to come up with a solution, though.

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #53 on: 27 May 2021, 20:43:42 »
My head-canon on the drones:

You remember the bit a couple chapters into HotW, where Stone goes "if we give the clans a chance to fight duels they will, and we want that." It didn't work because Alaric could see that as a path to failure, but giving the Clans a chance to fight honor duels means not pissing them off to the point they break zell - which means few or no drones.

So they sent the drones to another point they would be useful, playing boogeyman for the cappies.

That said, HotW might have been better with the drones, they could have given Warbear a chance to show his tactical chops by suddenly coming up with a solution.



Years ago there was this show, transforms beast wars. it ran for a while, and there was some heavy-handed character development; standard cartoon morality stuff. It ended but was followed by a sequel series, transformers beast machines. It had some of the same characters, but the thing is? They had to learn all the lessons they already had, and go through the same development on Cybertron as they previously had on Earth.

Apparently the producers did it on purpose, to re-establish the characters for the "new audience" or something. I'm not sure the same thing isn't happening here.  As has been pointed out, it's been a while since the dark age novels came out.

Man, I was all prepared for HotW to be the final word on the Clan philosophy on war, with Stone basically suckering in as much of the Clan military machine as he could before unleashing an army of soulless automatons on them, along with some pretentiously delivered dialog about "teaching them what war is really all about."

Of course, I also wanted the end of the book to be Stone confessing to Alaric that of course he tipped them all off about the Fortress Wall because he wanted them all here for when he did this - at which point he would push a Big Red Button that would detonate every K-F drive within the Sol System, creating a permanent Fortress effect around Sol out to around 8 or 9 LY, trapping the Clans on Terra, forever (or at least for the 12 to 40 years it might take to slowboat to Keid, I guess...).

Novel would have ended with Stone's last words, being "Welcome to Earth, suckers."


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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #54 on: 28 May 2021, 02:12:26 »
well thing i can say.  For one the timing of the release was way off.  This should had happen prior to hotw and the event of Highlanders which i read prior.  Having these book release in this order had me scratching my head timeline on what happen first and what happen next House Immara been busy.   I think the battle of Liberty must had happen prior to landing in Northwind, if i am getting my timline fix on the events right.  It also show the short coming of republic all this time to get ready for the eventually invasion and what they end up doing.  Saying OH shT the wall are down let run to terra.  You think with all that time they had the first layer of defense would had been harder to crack.  I mean who bright idea was it to leave hall without a unit to defend it this entire time while training the unit for a battle in elgin.  Either your initial plan was to sacrifice hall and hold the invasion at elgin till reinforcement or they should had those units already in hall training there for years prior to the wall going down. 

I would had thought with the wall being up as long it had most units would had been available for Stone to defend key worlds.  I also thought the original plan on bringing a clan to terra would had been bring them in shatter them.  maybe using the bondsman system of the clan take the survive rebuilt your own units under the wall of terra and then spread out once more.  Stone really had no clue what to do didn't He

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #55 on: 05 June 2021, 16:23:35 »
Sorry I'm late to the party; I didn't see this thread until today.
I'm not a fan of the Capellans, but I think they made the right choice in terms of trying to get them out of the "black hat" category.  I think that Danai will have a great deal of work in reforming the Capellan legal system and human rights before significant numbers of fans will come to embrace the Confederation.
I'm puzzled by the decision to take the Elgin militia off their home turf and have them fight on an unfamiliar world.  I don't see the strategic  sense in it, but I recognize that this was the script that Jason Schmetzer was handed.

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #56 on: 08 June 2021, 12:04:29 »
I'm puzzled by the decision to take the Elgin militia off their home turf and have them fight on an unfamiliar world.  I don't see the strategic  sense in it, but I recognize that this was the script that Jason Schmetzer was handed.

It's what militaries do. A buddy of mine was trained to be an artillery officer, then sent to Vietnam to command an infantry company. It doesn't have to make sense to the people it affects most, but somebody somewhere thought it was a good idea.

I quite enjoyed this one. Jason Schmetzer's work always feels authentic, particularly with regard to the militaria. The dialog feels real, without paragraphs of expository conversation where characters discuss the state of the Inner Sphere etc. It was also very well edited, which was refreshing.

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #57 on: 08 July 2021, 17:48:15 »
I just finished this one a Liao book I liked and a Capellan character I was actually bothered about in the end

It's well written not repetitive other than the Republic losing which is the one thing that bugs me about current fiction heading. The Capellans say it in the end through Xavier McCarron the Republic had YEARS behind their wall every world should have been an armed camp like the Wob and Amaris built.  There is no reason they shouldn't have...

Danai's character was decent and the Capellans coming through the ranks sounded plausible.  I liked seeing how the current Yeng-Lo-Wang was fought and why she sent it home, I liked the brutal start with DropShip being obliterated then the vehicle borne bombs right up to the Celerity debut oh I loved that and how it they were likened to sheepdogs and sheep, the sheep being the Mechs was epic one of the best one sided fights making those MechWarriors squirm
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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #58 on: 13 July 2021, 20:10:49 »
Also didn't like that there were some expository sections covering BattleTech history like Succession Wars. I suppose those are included in case there are casual BattleTech fans or readers who've read some BT but it's been a while, but for a fan like me, those are just an annoyance.

Stan lee once said, "every comic is someone's first."  I know, it can seem silly to always mention Battlemechs are ten-12 meter tall, piloted, fusion powered, etc.  But I keep that quote in mind and always write in that kind of stuff because fans (like you and me) will blow past it while someone who's new to the universe will be like, "ahhh, ok, so mech's AREN'T robots, got it." :-)
-J (not Schmetzer) H (not Hardy)  :D ;D ;D

Agathos

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Re: Blood Will Tell - by Jason Schmetzer
« Reply #59 on: 15 July 2021, 18:52:52 »
This was an interesting look at the Battletech Sheeple Principle. How do these planets change hands every generation and retain functional societies? Is it too implausible for our giant space robot game? I appreciate these attempts to dig into it, even if it runs the risk of whitewashing the invaders. I think the Clans enjoy the greatest word count on this topic. Airs Above the Ground in Shrapnel #1 is a good example.

Halfway through but the only thing jarring me out of the story is a 40 year old getting lectures I'd expect an 18 year old to need.

On the one hand I agree, but on the other hand I'm about Danai's age and I have no idea what I'm doing. I could use a Mina.

I like Danai, which is clearly one of the book's aims. I look forward to seeing what she does in the 3150s. But are we all out of genuinely crazy Liaos since the passing of Ki-Linn?
« Last Edit: 15 July 2021, 19:09:15 by Agathos »

 

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