Book review

Book Review: Sporting Chance by Elizabeth Moon

Sporting Chance is the second book in the Serrano Legacy series.  It continues the story that started in Hunting Party, with Captain Heris Serrano and Lady Cecelia returning to the capital with the Prince.

The story is set in motion by Lady Cecelia, who is something of a rebel in the aristocracy, when she exposes some of her observations about the Prince and the events that took place in Hunting Party to the King.  The events unfold, showing Lady Cecelia’s stubborn streak, as well as Captain Serrano’s ability to predict and plan for potential problems.  However, despite the Captain’s expectation of trouble, Captain Heris is unable to avoid it and is placed at odds with much of the aristocracy.

The trouble for me with the story is later on when the Captain almost willfully ignores obvious signs of trouble, which puts the crew, the ship, and her mission in jeopardy.  While people do this all the time in real life, I had higher expectations of the Captain’s character and although I could see ignoring some of the signs of trouble for a while, I felt it went on for too long in the story.  I would have liked her to proactively recognize the trouble and deal with it.  However, Moon was also using that to build some of the other characters and provide the Captain with lessons learned.  Hopefully, the Captain will be able to avoid those kind of issues in the future.

Aside from that one issue, which might not bother other readers, the story was engaging and I enjoyed it.  I would give it 3.5 stars out of 5 (leaning closer to 4 than 3).

I will add one other warning for people who may pick up the series with one set of expectations and get surprised to find the story is a different type.  The series is not one that I would call “hard” science fiction.  It is a mix of science fiction and European high society and court intrigue.  While there is some space travel and ship to ship combat, the story is more about the people and how they fit in the world Moon has created and less about star travel.  This may appeal more to some people who are not into hard scifi, but do enjoy some aspects of the setting.