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In the distant future humans and several other races have been granted membership in the Confederation at a price They must act as soldierprotectors of the far civilized races who have long since turned away from war — Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr was a battle hardened professional So when she and those in her platoon who'd survived the last deadly encounter with the Others were yanked from a well deserved leave for what was supposed to be easy duty as the honor guard for a diplomatic mission to the non Confederation world of the Silsviss she was ready for anythingAt first it seemed that all she'd have to contend with was bored troops getting into mischief and breaking in the new Second Lieutenant who had been given command of her menSure there'd been rumors of the Others the sworn enemies of the Confederation being spotted in this sector of space But there were always rumors The key thing was to recruit the Silsviss into the Confederation before the Others either attacked or claimed this lizardlike race of warriors for their own side And everything seemed to be going perfectly Maybe too perfectly

10 thoughts on “Valor's Choice

  1. says:

    Military Space Opera written by a woman who really knows what she's writing about Marvelous characters and alien races extremely snappy dialogue an endearing and tough heroine and lots of fast action Torin Kerr is one of my favorite main characters ever written and I am a particular fan of this book the first in the series because it opens with a post sex pheromone hangover and ends with a battle based one of the early moments in the Zulu War late 1870s Please don't make the mistake of comparing Tanya Huff's different series to one another She completely changes her author voice depending on the genre A truly remarkable ability in an author The tone of Valor is entirely different from that of her UF stuff Blood and Keeper and both in turn different from her fantasies uarter SO if you have read Tanya before and not liked her I suggest giving Valor's Choice a try

  2. says:

    Initial impression upon first finishing the book A rollicking good read and I enjoyed it a lot than I thought I would considering this is military sci fi that's light on the sci fi and heavy on the militaryAfter a uick rereadMy initial impression still stands This was a surprisingly enjoyable read although that will never not be weird to say about military fiction even in genre Another point in this book's favor is it's the beginning of a new series that looks like it could be really good if the first book is any indication and I'm looking forward to diving in furtherTanya Huff is a new author for me one I've been meaning to read for years now just never had the chance She's favorite among my circle of friends and now that I've read one of her books I can see whyHer prose is exacting to the point and she doesn't waste space summing up things for you nor does she dwell too long on sentimentality She strikes a balance between the physicality of war and the emotional toll it takes on troops on the ground and between the personal and the political I think it's just right for this kind of story where the balance of deftness and a delicate hand is reuiredThat aside the tone is actually neither heavy handed or maudlin as one might expect from military fiction There's a lot of humor bantering and camaraderie even in the face of peril And all of it feels authentic As a matter of fact this whole book feels authentic if you don't count the space ships and lizard peopleEvery military organization needed heroes; tragic heroes if they were the only type availableThe book kicks off by dropping you into the beginning of a new missionThe marines of Sh'uo Company have recently returned from a mission in which they suffered a great deal and lost a number of their own They're currently on temporary leave at the start of the book However that doesn't last long as they get called to another mission Not to another battlefield this time but to a meeting of diplomats The company is to escort a group of ambassadors to a new planet Silsvah that the Confederation hegemony is looking to bring into its circleAlong with the order the company also receives a new commanding officer Second Lieutenant Jarrat to replace their recently deceased lieutenant The new guy is good with diplomacy but has zero field experience He's basically custom fit for this job whereas the company being a group of rowdy marines with the exception of their sargents are notWeird to call in battle weary troops to be diplomatic escorts yeah? That's what they thought as well But an order is an order and they might as well see the new planet and meet its apex predators the Silsviss while they're at itThe catch is of course there's a catch the new planet is inhabited by a less advanced rather primitive race of warmongering lizard people who are undecided about the Confederation and aren't easily impressed by its fancy techs These people reuire a show of might before they agree to anything the Confederation has plannedWhat initially starts as an assignment to babysit a bunch of diplomats for a few weeks on a foreign planet turns into a siege and a series of skirmishes in the middle of a desert swamp in which the company is outnumbered by hundreds of Silsviss It's a grueling fight but in the end tech wins out even at the expense of the people using itWe find it strange the ambassador murmured almost to herself how a species can be able to make such a sacrifice one moment and can kill another sentient being the next This mix of caring and violence is most confusing it must be a factor of bisymmetrical speciesIt was by no means a truism that insight into a species could be gained by wholesale slaughter but Torin was willing to bet that right at this particular point in time no one in the Confederation knew the Silsviss as well as she didIn the midst of all this is Staff Sargent Torin Kerr the backbone of the company main POV character and someone who grew on me She's got the weight of the whole universe on her and I couldn't help but feel for her and the burden she lugs around She's got a platoon to keep in line a young officer to back up who looks to her for confirmation and of course diplomats to keep aliveIt's all right Jarrat said after a long moment I understand where it's coming fromIt had come from places he's never been from battles he's never fought Torin turned ready to challenge his assumptions but his profile carved out of the morning too tight too unmoving to be flesh convinced her to hold her tongue He couldn't understand it all not at his age not his first time out but unfortunately he was on his wayAll good stuff but I have just one uibble I always imagined the future of warfare to have drones and fewer or no boots on the ground The battle scene described in this book while very well portrayed is not unlike any battlefield from the last century which is a little off putting for me simply because if humanity ever manages space travel and forms coalitions with alien lifeforms would face to face combat still be a necessity? Wouldn't there be a efficient way to eliminate a threat on a large scale? Cross posted at

  3. says:

    Series ReviewI barreled through this series Huff is an expert at crafting edge of your seat against all odds showdowns but also manages to underpin her books with a worthy if somewhat limited allegorical perspective This is military sci fi starring Confederation marines and so is infused with military culture with the added sci fi interest of imagining a force that combines humans with two other fascinating alien species into a single fighting force I was not surprised to learn that Huff was in the military herself In a thousand different ways her books reflect that intimate detailed knowledge of attitudes and habits that is very hard to invent wholesale for example there are dozens of inside jokes about the mostly friendly rivalry between the marines and the navy that just felt first hand I also liked that the books respected soldiers and their sacrifices without ever slipping into uncritical glorification of war or the military or vilification of the enemies At its most basic level these are stories about the role and character of the senior NCO embodied here by Staff later Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr who manages to feel like a completely uniue and original heroine at the same time that she practically embodies the Platonic Ideal of a Marine Sergeant The story provides a truly fascinating look at the key role of the NCO in fighting an actual war how they maintain discipline and morale among the enlisted carry out much of the actual fighting and uietly mentor less experienced officers Torin herself sees her role as completing missions while keeping her people alive The book manages the impressive feat of balancing out Torin's 'save the day' heroics with her understated wry perspective that is the polar opposite of an arrogant glory hound I'll just add one comparatively minor aspect of Huff's portrayal that really struck me she provides almost no physical description of her heroine and never says that Torin is or isn't pretty In fact Huff consistently avoids any kind of evaluative commentary on her characters' relative attractiveness Some of this is due to the sci fi worldbuilding; humans are no longer the only species and so the human obsession with variations in our appearance has faded in the face of living and working with totally alien species But I was impressed and a little unnerved by how refreshing it was to immerse myself in the world of this amazing heroine and have her appearance be consistently treated by author characters and by Torin herself as utterly irrelevant There is a less happy flip side of course I am getting and fed up with the fact that it is so ridiculously unusual to find a book where the heroine is not portrayed as extremely attractive and even rare to fine one where her appearance is never mentioned at all I say this though I am myself guilty of depicting my own heroines as fulfilling conventional standards of female attractiveness Bottom line I loved this series could not put it down and also found it thought provoking and moving in the best tradition of sci fi Highly recommend for any fans of military sci fi or anyone looking for a uniue refreshing and inspiring heroine

  4. says:

    I wasn’t sure what I was getting but I would call this a militaryspace opera that hit all the right notes for those of you who are into this genreHuff “knows her stuff” the extent of my poetic gift She knows how the military should sound and how jarheads and grunts talk to each other and complain about their current situation whatever that is This is a story about combat troops “repurposed” for a critical event that should result in a new species being added to their allies It is necessary because the aggressive “Others” are about to come calling in this particular uadrant of the galaxy We follow their day to day experiences through the persona of Staff Sergeant Torin She is saddled with a task she dislikes and a new lieutenant who has no combat experience Part of a staff sergeant’s role is to support the lieutenant and make sure that the privates and corporals don’t spend too much time complaining about his orders or manners“How do you think it went?” How did I do? They weren’t the words he’d used but it was the uestion he’d asked She hid a smile Her baby wasn’t uite ready to leave the nest “It went well sir You didn’t waste time talking at them and at no point did you talk down to them The punishments were fair hard enough so they’ll think twice about going out the lock again not so hard they’ll say ‘fuk you’ and go just to show you they can” “We came up with punishments together” “Yes sir But you could have overruled me” Relief made him smile “Really?” Torin lifted a brow and said in the dry tone her second lieutenant expected “Not easily sir” “Thank you Staff Sergeant You’d better go see the doctor about your leg” “Yes sir” “Staff?” “Sir?” She turned sucking air through her teeth as the movement pulled the damaged muscle “Did we win?” She paused waiting until she was certain she wouldn’t be overheard “We kicked lizard butt sir” “Good work Staff” “Thank you sir”AndHe swayed as he stepped forward and without thinking Torin reached out and slipped an arm around his waist holding him until he steadied When she released him he stared at her for a heartbeat eyes dark and she wondered if she’d overstepped the line It was one thing to keep him from making stupid mistakes—in fact that was essentially her job description concerning second lieutenants—and another thing entirely to imply he couldn’t stand on his own two feet Young males of any species tended to be overly proud and young male officersThere are a number of species in this group of marines Most have arms and legs but some are like spiders and the indigenous species resemble lizards Everything about this “show the flag” exercise goes south very uickly but Torin doesn’t know it when she trades her fatigues for a “dress uniform”“And aren’t you just the picture of martial elegance” “Aren’t I just” she agreed handing him her belt “I can’t remember the last time I got this tarted up” “When you made Staff?” “No that was a field promotion—I was covered in Staff Sergeant Guntah’s guts and the only thing black on me was my fingernails where frostbite had started to set in” “I remember” Anne Chou looked up from her slate “Planet was barely habitable—we’d have ignored it if the Others hadn’t tried to set up a mining base” “So now we have a mining base there and someday we’ll have to go back to the frozen hole in the ass end of space to protect it”Huff acknowledges that this novel is military than sci fi By that we both mean that the plot is timeless and its basic elements could be inserted in a situation happening yesterday or several hundred years ago Having said that Huff does an excellent job of creating various alien species and individuals within each species If there isn’t a great deal of character development for each of them at least they are consistent and well integrated into the plot My thanks to Mimi for getting me interestedAdditional uotes to give you of Valor’s flavorThe three of them stared down at the final list of thirty nine names “You think the captain’ll rubber stamp this?” Amanda asked “He’d better” “Something I’ve always wonderedwhat’s a rubber stamp?”andShe’d been planning on scheduling his sergeant’s exam the day General Morris had given them their new orders With Sergeant Trey dead he’d have probably gotten a field promotion Except that he was dead too

  5. says:

    I loved this book before I went and started writing books myself There is a crazy thing that happens when you write books though You develop editing brain and you can no longer read without picking up all the little issues that you might change in your own stuff It is a real downer let me tell you I don't enjoy reading as much as I once didA real downer So I went back to this book as I have a few other books I once loved with a hopeful grimace I really really wanted it to be as good as it was And for the first time it was better Bullet point list in no particular order Her heroine is kick ass Her story is uniue Her action is awesome Her voice is fresh Her pacing is great I didn't get bored which is abnormal Her humor iswell humorous And snarky And coolI'm so 'in' and will be re reading the rest of the series because I remember it being just as good Not only that but I'll be buying the paperbacks of this bad boy and giving some away just so people can read awesomeness Good stuff

  6. says:

    There's a statement made in this book that troops tend to remember the good part of service and not so much the bad To an extent that's true otherwise ex militarily people wouldn't be fans of military readsThis is an excellent actionmilitary science fiction read The Confederation is made up of multiple species of people Some of these are so very adverse to conflict that the word pacifist can't even apply They are physically emotionally and even mentally unable to deal with it this by the way includes the giant spider racego figure Sadly there is a species out there known in the Confederation as The Others who don't have that problem As a matter of fact they are very aggressive and expansionist Happily enough for the super pacifist races there are peoples in the Confederation likewell like us humans We aren't the only warrior race of course and are thought to be needed That's purportedly why a combat platoon of Marines is sent along as an honor guard for the VERY peaceful ambassadors to sign a new treaty with a new warlike race who the Confederation brass would like to see as new members of the confederationThings as you might imagine don't go as advertisedthis it turns out will not be a sort of working vacation for the MarinesThis book is well put together At first I thought I might need a program or something to keep track of which species was which as the story went on But I got to know them as individuals and it was no problem They became real characters Both plot and characterization work hand in hand to make this an enjoyable novel I amreticent to hand out many 5 star ratings It has to be reserved for the best of books Even if we go to the gold and silver system recommended by a friend of mine here I don't like to hand out a lot of 5s So I originally gave this a 4 star rating But then as I wrote the review I had to ask myselfwhere was the flaw? Is it simply that I'm being a book snob? I mean the book is readable never flags doesn't lose the interest The plot not only holds together or holds up but is well crafted and the characters come across as individualsSoI'm going 5 stars If we had a 10 star system i might say 9 as there are books I like much better but all in all this is an excellent read So let's say it's a 5 star silverokay?Think I'll move right on to the next in the series Highly recommendedview spoiler By the way if you are a military history buff like I am and the story here sounds a bit familiar I don't think that's a coincidence The battle here is very reminiscent of Rorke's Drift From the attack of local peoples using spears but with a few modern weapons to the defensive of the hospital you'll see parallels That's not a problem by the way I just found it interesting hide spoiler

  7. says:

    “Hey what’ve you got?” “Same fukking thing as you” Juan grunted “Hot bag of balanced nutrients in a tasty fukking paste” It's no secret that Tanya Huff is one of my favorite authors so I'm a bit biased on her books Still Valor's Choice is amazing Filled with action fun characters weird alien species that I wouldn't want to hang out with and a plot that is believable for a scifi book Usually I'm not a fan of military science fiction but this was fun enough to have me hooked “Torin had never been a great believer in luck preferring to trust in training preparation and strong artillery support but it was impossible to deny the good fortune that had caused them to crash precisely where they had” The thing that really made this book amazing was Torin Kerr the main character Usually when an author is prolific like Tanya Huff there's a repeat of characters with different names and settings but Tanya doesn't do that Torin is strong in control and is almost always right She knows what she is doing at every moment and cares for her underlings yet she is also a follower that listens to her commanders A hard balance to do in a book but Huff does it well Unlike Vicki from Huff's Blood Series Torin isn't a bitch about being in control and knowing when to step down Don't get me wrong I love Vicki and her bitchness She's a different type of strong character then Huff's other works and I like that Also the side characters are eually engaging and hilarious A diverse cast of people filled with aliens ueer and older beings who are believable funny head strong and for the most part care for each other though one wants to literally eat his suad Plus Haysole is the most perfect being ever and I just want to hug him sueeze him and call him George “A uick check on the platoon showed everyone or less enjoying the flightWhatever it is you're eating Ressk swallow it before we land said Staff Sergeant KerrNo problem StaffMore like whoever he's eating Binti muttered beside himYou ought to count your fingers he suggested You're too serley stupid to notice one missing The only problem i had with Valor's Choice is the pacing at the beginning It was a bit slow and confusing at first but I caught on around 20 pages in All in all I highly recommend it and I will be continuing the series

  8. says:

    Valor's Choice is the first of the Confederation series and my first book by Tanya Huff It’s an excellent military space opera set in the very distance future I enjoyed it from page one but when action picked up halfway through I simply couldn't stop reading It revolves around a great protagonist Torin Kerr a marine female Staff Sergeant Hardened military veteran Kerr has been put in charge of a platoon of marines to serve as honor guard to a group of diplomats on a mission to get a new alien species the lizard like and warlike Silsviss to join the Confederation before the Others can recruit them This supposedly easy assignment naturally goes horribly wrongI thought Torin was outstanding as female but specially as a NCO In that Valor's Choice differs from the expected type of lead roles associated with military fiction OK it's a futuristic space opera and lately leading female characters have become all the rage while we are used to stories with captains leading the plot Torin Kerr is just a Staff Sergeant in that it changes dramatically the perspective of the storyThe book could be dry and unappealing there is no romance and only some references to sex We don’t get to know what Torin looks like and how old she is just that she is strong But the plot and the narrative could not be engaging and as I read along I could feel the restlessness of the marines while diplomatic discussions are under way After the halfway mark it changes into rapid fire as the action picks up So we get the frenzy of combat The 40 plus military along with the civilians end in a preserve facing some 3000 hormonal and feral Silsviss adolescents Battle based in the Zulu War of the late 1870s As the reader you can live through the combat together with this group and suffer with each comrade that fallsTorin Kerr is revealed to us as the plot develops and we get to understand how she sees herself in each situation She is strong and believable to the last maneuver and dialogue She’s not interested in glory only worries about getting out with the less possible casualties at the same time as she mentors a green lieutenant into combat and command with tact and without any hidden agendasThe supporting characters are many a rich mosaic of people that through their roles only enrich the plot As it develops we start to discern who is who in this group where the army marines and air forces are made up of three species fighting together plus two pacifists aliens that make up the diplomats From a diverse bunch of different species and disparate backgrounds as the fight goes on it transforms itself into a de facto unit Valor's Choice was a great read If you enjoy military Sci Fi I highly recommend it

  9. says:

    While reading this I remembered why I don't read much military Sci Fi And that's because I find it boring Yes that's right I find that most military Sci Fi revolves around cardboard cut out characters that take part in wholly forgettable and uninteresting stories This was no exception I only give it 2 stars because it's not bad for the genre But this is a genre that suffers from a lack of talented authors There are only two author that I can think of that I thought wrote good military Sci Fi and those are Robert Heinlein and Joe Haldiman and Starship Troopers and The Forever War where great books

  10. says:

    Every year the weekend after the Superbowl two months before real Baseball World Champion Nats begins I watch the movie “Zulu” skipping the first 10 minutes I did that again this year About halfway through Tanya Huff’s “Valor’s Choice” I thought “I recognize this” Yet I would have liked the novel anywayHuff’s Space Opera starts as a diplomatic mission It should be no muss no fuss for the senior female NCO who is the protagonist But the bottom drops out and they recreate a defensive stand where Victoria Crosses were awarded in a single engagement 11 then in the history of the British Empire to this day The last scene in the movie “Zulu” has a startling voice over by Richard Burton whose face never appears but whose voice is unforgettable tying the medals to the faces—and if you can make it through without a sniffle you’re reserved than IOf course here it’s space marines their ET allies fighting against a hostile planet of adolescent moronic males but I repeat myself And it turns out there is some purpose to all the killing After action were I the protagonist I would have jammed someone’s head in the center of a “Star Trek” type door and opened and closed it until they there was a choice were bloodyNever mind Huff is a convincing fluid military writer She made me care about the protagonist and the whole company ETs included Even though her protagonist is a “stiff upper lip” typeSeuel definitely goes to my TBR