The Privilege of Peace (Book Review)
by Tanya Huff (Peacekeeper Series #3/Confederation Series #8)
Unfortunately, despite this appearing to be the final book in the Torin Kerr series, I can only give it a 3.5/5.
While I enjoyed it, it’s nowhere near as great as some of the others.
Of course, I was happy to see Torin doing what she does best (kicking ass), but there was no real arc for her or anyone in this novel. Issues from previous novels are resolved, giving it a sense of finality, but I found the first half of the book really … boring. It’s all-new characters and training a new team, but given this is the last book in the series, I didn’t really want to meet anyone new and try to remember all their damn names. I understand they are needed for the final battle(s), but it bogged down the story. Likewise, other than a few small fights nothing much happens in the first half. Granted, once it starts to ramp up, it becomes fantastically entertaining and unputdownable, it's a bit of a slog to get there.
Anthony is the most mediocre villain I’ve ever met. While his motivations make sense, the only redeeming sections with him were the inclusion of the cantankerous doctor, who often made me laugh. The other antagonists we've met many times before. There was a political aspect to the story that would have been interesting if it didn't feel jammed into the rest of the plot.
I did enjoy the parallels with Human’s First and the rise of white nationalist groups in real life – how they recruit, how they use fake news and fearmongering to accomplish their goals, how they have wealthy “investors” to help them. That part was subtle enough you might miss it, but also a clear allusion to real-life issues of race and xenophobia.
There were little things I did enjoy about the novel, such as a little more background on Mashona, Werst and Ressk’s eternal cuteness, and minimal scenes with Presit. No primacy though! :(
Regarding the second half, I loved that the Silsviss came back! I was waiting for them to make a reappearance since the first book, and while I could have had more of them, the little bit we got sated me. Of course, we have the return of the damn plastic, but given it was the thread running through the entire series, it made sense they were part of the final climax.
Despite the slow start, Priviledge is definitely worth reading. All your favourite characters are there, the action scenes are what you expect from Huff, and there is the usual humour. It’s a lot of fun!
Small Series Overview!
If you’ve read any of my other reviews (all are on Goodreads), you’ll see I believe the series peaked at Valor’s Trial (my absolute favourite of the bunch) and while I enjoyed all the novels, this was a rather lackluster ending for the entire thing.
Despite the number of books in the series, no one changes that much. While Torin is disillusioned with the military, she never recoils from it entirely, and her relationship with Craig doesn’t change her that much. The latter fact I find refreshing, in truth. A lot of times in novels a woman is “fixed” by a relationship, but this doesn’t happen. In fact, I’d argue that Craig and Torin’s love story is one of the most realistic I’ve ever read. They respect one another, they enjoy spending time together, they talk about future plans, they worry about one another but also trust the other to do their jobs. They have external hobbies aside from each other. They are The Best.
Alamber’s journey, while not my favourite arc, was also well done. From a brainwashed and damaged young man to a person who realizes his worth and what he wants to do with life, he really made the most changes in the last few books. It’s hard because while the open-ended ending wasn’t terrible (and we don’t have any devastating losses to contend with thankfully), I was also hoping for a little bit more finality. Then again, it’s a military action, so perhaps I should be satisfied that the characters changed at all over the novels and just enjoy the fun action and cool aliens.
Will I read the series again? Perhaps not all the books, but there are a few I will definitely pick up again. And my daughter will have them foisted upon her when she’s a teenager. Torin is an awesome role model and I thank Huff greatly for sharing Torin’s story with us. It was a great ride!