Review: The Better Part of Valor by Tanya Huff


The Better Part of Valor
by Tanya Huff
Narrated by Marguerite Gavin
Series: Confederation #2
Genre: Science Fiction (Military/space opera)
Published by Tantor Audio, 2009 (originally published by DAW, 2002)
Audiobook, purchased
416 pages
10 hours, 11 minutes
Grade: B+
Narrator grade: A-
Synopsis: Telling a two-star general what she really thought of him was the mistake Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr made with General Morris. But as a battle-hardened professional, she took pride in doing her job and getting her troops back alive. So after she’d saved the mission to bring the Silsviss into the Confederation – instead of losing them and their world to the enemy known only as the Others – she let the general know exactly how she felt.

And Torin’s reward – or punishment – was to be separated from her platoon and sent off on what might well prove an even more perilous assignment. She was commandeered to protect a scientific expedition to a newly discovered and seemingly derelict spaceship of truly epic proportions. And Confederation politics had saddled her with a commanding officer who might prove more of a menace to the mission’s success than anything they encountered.

Only time would tell if the ship was what it appeared to be or a trap created by the Others – or the work of an as yet unknown alien race with an agenda that could prove all too hostile to other life-forms.

The opening lines of the book:

“And the moral of the story: never call a two star general a bastard to his face.”

Stretching out his regenerated leg, Captain Rose leaned away from his desk and drummed his fingers against the inert plastic trim. “I’m a little surprised you didn’t already know that.”

“You and me both, sir” Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr stared down at the general’s orders on her slate. “You and me both.”


“Then, for God’s sake keep her happy, Staff Sergeant.”

Torin glanced down the passage to where Presit sat sulking. She had finally threatened to gag the Katrien before they’d shut up.

“The last thing we need,” the general continued, “is for this to look worse than it is in the media.”

“Yes, sir.” Which could be, when necessary, a polite way of saying “Fuk you.”  Torin couldn’t remember it ever being quite so necessary before.

General Morris missed the subtext.


  • This was a re-read for me though this time I listened to the audiobook. The narrator is excellent.
  • Just the type of military science fiction I like.
  • I bought and listened to the first two books in this series and they’re so much fun to listen to.
  • I love Staff Sergeant Torin. She’s an idealized NCO (noncommissioned officer)–always one step ahead of both the troops she’s in charge of and officers in her chain of command. She knows what her duty is and always attempts to follow through. She takes it personally when one of her marines is killed.
  • In this case, she’s taken away from her platoon and given a group of marines she has to turn into a cohesive team and try to protect an officer who’s a menace to everyone around him. They’re supposed to protect a group of scientists on a top-secret mission.
  • The book also has politics which gums up the military mission much to Torin’s disgust.
  • Craig Ryder is a great new character in this book. He’s an irreverent civilian salvage operator who doesn’t take orders well and gets under Torin’s skin.
  • Presit a Tur durVilintrisy is a journalist and just as irritating as some of our journalists!
  • Tanya Huff puts a lot of humor into these stories.
  • Many of the Confederation allies are “above” the fight with the Others (who want to conquer Confederation space by killing or enslaving anyone they meet).
  • The aliens in this series are all interesting. They all have distinct characteristics and at times cause Torin and her troops instinctive reactions. One group may look like giant spiders or another group like cuddly pets. Torin must remind her subordinates not to objectify their allies who are pacifists and all very intelligent.
  • The book leaves a lot of questions–just what was the “derelict” ship found by Craig Ryder and who created it?


  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I read this series about 10 years ago and loved it. It’s just as good as I remembered it.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book by a female author)
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading (Audiobook–$5.95)

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

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