Elizabeth Moon,
Engaging the Enemy
(Del Rey, 2006)

Kylara Vatta has an unerring ability to get herself and her shipmates in trouble. In this third book in the Vatta's War series, Ky is now captain of the Fair Kaleen, having captured the former Vatta Transport ship turned pirate from a rogue member of the Vatta family. She transferred command of the Gary Tobai to her cousin Stella and set about trying to rebuild Vatta Transport while still taking revenge on those who killed her family.

Unfortunately, Ky finds both tasks more difficult than she had bargained. For one thing, the ansible system allowing instantaneous communications between star systems has come under attack and is no longer reliable. For another, pirates are getting bolder, and in her next few ports, Ky finds herself having to explain over and over that Fair Kaleen is no longer a pirate vessel. But when her very identity comes under question, even from her cousin Stella, Ky finds her ingenuity and resourcefulness tested to their limits.

In Kylara Vatta, Moon has created a truly likable, engaging character. Ky is brave, smart and loyal and inspires loyalty in others. Unfortunately, by this point in the series, her adventures are all starting to have a "same old, same old" feel. Ky gets herself and her ship in trouble, faces overwhelming odds and manages to get herself and her ship out of trouble mostly intact. I found myself much more interested in reading about what was happening back on Slotter Key with the family harridan who turned out to be much more than a dotty old lady, Ky's Aunt Grace. Which is not to say that Engaging the Enemy is not enjoyable -- it is, very much so. I'm just not sure that I'd recommend reading the series back to back.

review by
Laurie Thayer

19 January 2008

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