David Weber’s Echoes of Honor may be the book where the Honor Harrington series starts to fall apart. It’s never a good sign when a series that’s had books in the 300-500 page range suddenly spews forth a 700-page entry; it’s even less a good sign when that book is filled with all sorts of tedious internal monologues that go on for pages and pages to no end whatsoever, and practically beg for a good hard editing. This book is the first Honor book where I’d occasionally finish a chapter and not want to instantly read more of the book. “Well, that’s enough of that for now,” isn’t a thought that’s accompanied me in my march through the Honorverse so far.
That said, it’s possible this is just a temporary blip. The 700+ pagecounts of later books argue against that theory, but in favor is this: Honor isn’t really the main character of Echoes of Honor. She’s off-screen for the majority of the book, in fact, which means we spend a lot of time with characters we don’t give a fuck about. (And unfortunately, Weber doesn’t seem to know how to write books in which main characters aren’t incredibly awesome, so these secondary characters end up acting in nearly Harringtonianly awesome ways, which is slightly preposterous.) But when we do see Honor, the book is as engrossing as ever. So if Weber gets back to refocusing this series on the hyper-awesome protagonist we’ve come to know and love, things might get better, bloat or no. And either way, this is the eighth book of the series, and it’s a rare series indeed that manages to stay tautly compelling even that long, so any run of sucking that begins here shouldn’t diminish Weber’s previous accomplishment.