Sheepfarmer’s Daughter by Elizabeth Moon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this book very much, but then I like military fantasy. The beginning chapters that treat Pak’s training and establishing herself within a mercenary company, may seem long and slow to those who enjoy more paranormal/superhero-television inspired pop-fantasy, but for those who understand that joining a successful military unit has its own arc and logic and are at peace with that, this book may satisfy the craving.
That being said, some of the combat descriptions are less than unique, I.E. individual. Some of them come across as verbal landscape devoid of landmarks and rather interchangeable. Very little sets one battle off from another. The violence of war is very carefully described and clean…almost choreographed and comes off as a bit bland. I just finished Branden Cornwell’s The Archer’s Tale and think back on his Agincourt and the comparison of combat descriptions there leaves those in The Sheepfarmer’s Daughter rather insipid.
I believe this maybe due to The Sheepfarmer’s Daughter being an early attempt at the genre and her (I think) first novel. I have no doubt things will take on greater depth and more vivid description as the series continues. I was completely satisfied with her Esimay Suiza Once a Hero series which was written nearly a decade later [I have not read the preceding three Serrano’s Legacy books, but I plan to].
All that aside, however, I like a tale of someone rising from obscurity to success with harrowing character-shaping obstacles along the way to give them growth and grit. I am eager to read the next installment and look forward to enjoying Pak’s continued development…as well as Moon’s.
I’ve always wanted to read Moon, but I am not that into military fantasy. Which would you recommend I try first? The Hero series or this? Based on your review, I would think Hero, but wanted to ask.
I might start with the Hero series. I started in the middle with Once a Hero and read the next three in rapid succession. They were very satisfying. I must warn you, however–they’re sci-fi and have a military bent to boot. They might not be what you’re expecting. At the time, I was looking for something with the flavor of David Weber’s Honor Harrington series and these did nicely until Weber published his next book.