The Liaden Universe Shared Read

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The Liaden Universe Shared Read

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1ronincats
Editado: Jun 30, 2015, 5:28pm

Welcome to the Liaden Universe, 75ers and Category Challenge readers! I can do no better than Jenn, who replied when asked by Fliss if she would like it:
Depends - do you like fantastic space opera, with comedy (and occasionally tragedy) of manners, psi, spaceships, giant sentient turtles (and ditto ditto trees), and lots of cats? http://korval.com/why-read-liad/ . My answer is YES, you should read it - everyone should read it. The stories are amazing, and fun! Agent of Change was the first published - there are several entry points, but that was mine so of course it's the best way.

I will be publishing the entire oeuvre in a following post in publication order. That includes a number of chapbooks published independently when Miller & Lee did not have a publisher. I haven’t gotten hold of a number of those yet. The regular books are in bold, and that is what most of us will be reading. I have put the names of the omnibus editions along with what books are included in each--these have an asterisk.

In August, the Category Challenge people will be doing a group read in the Liaden Universe and will be posting their comments here. The 75ers will be using the thread from July 1 through next year as we hope to entice a lot of people into discovering the charm of this series and reading multiple books, similar to our Vorkosigan read last year.

Again, this isn't an organized group read. It's a vehicle to encourage people to try out this universe. In August, the Category Challenge people will use the thread to discuss their planned group read of Liaden books, and so we'd like to encourage the 75ers who are participating to plan to read at least one book during that month as well. Other than that, just like with the Vorkosigan read last year, it's read at your own pace and come talk about it on the dedicated thread. Several people will go ahead and start reading in July, which is just fine, and you have a whole year to tackle as much of the series as you want to. I personally love the books and will probably do a complete reread, ymmv.

2ronincats
Editado: Jul 29, 2015, 3:33pm

This is a series that you do not necessarily want to read in chronological order. In fact, I would suggest publication order for the most part. Here is how they fall out:

Agent of Change
Conflict of Honors
Carpe Diem
Plan B
I Dare!

These five are the original story arc. They suck you in, intrigue you, introduct you to Liad and Val Con and Shan and Miri and Priscilla and Korval and, last but by no means least, the TURTLES! Agent of Change is free in ebook form. I strongly recommend starting here!

By the time you have read these, you will have a strong curiosity about the parents of Val Con and Shan, and ideally that would lead you to Pilot’s Choice which combines Local Custom and Scout’s Progress.

You also may find yourself wanting to know more about Cantra and Jela and how they came to found Liad, and that can be found in the far past prequels, Crystal Soldier and Crystal Dragon. However, these two can be eliminated entirely if desired.

At the end of I Dare!, a character comes onstage in the very last pages of the book and produces a cliffhanger. I could have shot the authors at that point. But then M&L put out a series of books that give that character’s history and bring us up to the timeline of Plan B. These books have more of a YA feel to them, probably because of the age of the character.

Fledgling (also a free ebook)
Saltation

Now we are up to date and there are two story strands going on simultaneously, one following our character above (Ghost Ship and Dragon Ship) and one following our first cast of characters (Necessity’s Child and Dragon in Exile). But they overlap and link. CORRECTION! Ghost Ship has much more of the mainline action than I remembered and should be read prior to Necessity's Child!

Mouse and Dragon was a late addition to the story of Val Con’s parents (Scout’s Progress) that explains some of the things that crop up in the later books. You can read it when you read the first, or wait until later.

Balance of Trade and Trade Secret have nothing to do with any of the above books except that they occur in the Liaden Universe about 300 years earlier when Liadens and Terrans were first starting to trade.

3ronincats
Jun 30, 2015, 4:14pm

Now, here is what the authors say:

Below are some suggestions for reading orders, as well as a list of books that may be read with no prior knowledge of the Liaden Universe®.

Novels that may be read with no prior reading in the Universe:
Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, Local Custom, Scout’s Progress, Balance of Trade, Fledgling, Crystal Soldier, Necessity’s Child

Novels that are direct sequels:
Carpe Diem, Plan B, I Dare
Fledgling, Saltation, Ghost Ship, Dragon Ship
Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon
Balance of Trade, Trade Secret

Novels that may benefit from being read in a particular order:
Carpe Diem really is more comprehensible if read after Agent of Change, and perhaps also benefits from reader familiarity with Conflict of Honors
Mouse and Dragon may be more accessible to those who have previously read Scout’s Progress.

The order in which the books were written:
Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, Carpe Diem, Plan B, Local Custom, Scout’s Progress, I Dare, Balance of Trade, Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, Fledgling, Saltation, Mouse and Dragon, Ghost Ship, Dragon Ship, Necessity’s Child, Trade Secret

Internal Chronology:
Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, Balance of Trade, Trade Secret, Local Custom, Scout’s Progress, Mouse and Dragon, Conflict of Honors,Agent of Change, Carpe Diem, Plan B, Fledgling, I Dare, Saltation, Ghost Ship, Necessity’s Child, Dragon Ship

Check out www.korval.com for additional information.

4ronincats
Jun 30, 2015, 4:14pm

1 Agent of Change by Sharon Lee
2 Conflict of Honors by Sharon Lee
3 Carpe Diem by Sharon Lee

4 Two Tales of Korval by Sharon Lee
5 Fellow Travelers by Sharon Lee
6 Plan B by Sharon Lee
7 Duty Bound by Sharon Lee
8* Partners in Necessity by Sharon Lee Omnibus "Conflict/Agent/Carpe"
9 Certain Symmetry by Sharon Lee
10* Pilots Choice by Sharon Lee Omnibus "Local Custom/Scout's Progress"
11 Local Custom by Sharon Lee

12 Trading in Futures by Sharon Lee
13 Changeling by Sharon Lee
14 Loose Cannon by Sharon Lee
15 Scout's Progress by Sharon Lee
16I Dare by Sharon Lee

17Shadows and Shades by Sharon Lee
18 The Cat's Job by Sharon Lee "King of the Cats"
19 Quiet Knives by Sharon Lee
20 Balance of Trade by Sharon Lee
21 With Stars Underfoot by Sharon Lee
22 Crystal Soldier by Sharon Lee
23 Necessary Evils by Sharon Lee
24 Crystal Dragon by Sharon Lee
25 Calamity's Child by Sharon Lee
26 Allies by Sharon Lee
27 Fledgling by Sharon Lee
28 Dragon Tide by Sharon Lee
29 Eidolon by Sharon Lee
30 Misfits by Sharon Lee
31 Saltation by Sharon Lee
32* The Dragon Variation by Sharon Lee Conflict of Honors/ Local Custom & Scout's Progress

33 Halfling Moon by Sharon Lee
34 Mouse and Dragon by Sharon Lee
35 Skyblaze by Sharon Lee
36* The Agent Gambit by Sharon Lee Agent of Change/Carpe Diem
37* Korval's Game by Sharon Lee Omnibus "Plan B/I Dare"
38 Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee

39 Baen Free Short Stories 2011 by Baen Books Short Story, "Intelligent Design"

40* The Crystal Variation by Sharon Lee Omnibus "Crystal Soldier/Crystal Dragon/Balance of Trade"
41 Dragon Ship by Sharon Lee
42 Necessity's Child by Sharon Lee

43 Baen Free Short Stories 2013 by Baen Books Short Story, "Eleutherios"
44 Trade Secret by Sharon Lee
45 Dragon in Exile by Sharon Lee


Liaden Universe ® Companion (Volume One) by Sharon Lee
short stories

Liaden Universe ® Companion (Volume Two) by Sharon Lee
short stories

A Liaden Universe ® Constellation: Volume 1 by Sharon Lee
short stories

A Liaden Universe ® Constellation: Volume 2 by Sharon Lee
short stories

Liaden Universe Constellation Volume III (BAEN) by Sharon Lee
short stories
(show numbers)

5luvamystery65
Jun 30, 2015, 5:17pm

Wow Roni! Thanks for setting this up.

6jnwelch
Jun 30, 2015, 5:24pm

Ditto, Roni. Looking forward to it.

7DeltaQueen50
Jun 30, 2015, 6:26pm

Many thanks for setting this up, Roni, and giving me an idea of where to start and how to continue on with the series. I am one of the ones who will be reading my first book in August and I will be starting with Agent of Change, then I hope to continue on with a book a month or every other month as I did with the Vorkosigan series. Looking forward to this!

8drneutron
Jun 30, 2015, 9:50pm

I'm in. And I've set up the group read on the wiki.

9jjmcgaffey
Jun 30, 2015, 11:57pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liaden_universe#Short_stories has a very good list of which short stories are in which compilations (though they don't yet have details on Liaden Universe Constellation Vol 3, since I don't think it's quite out yet).

I don't think I'm going to read the whole universe, but I'll be reading at least a few Liaden books this year (since there has not yet been a whole year in which I have _not_ read at least one! Including the dry years when there were only three books in the whole universe...), so I'll stop by and comment now and then.

10mathgirl40
Jul 1, 2015, 7:20am

Thanks for setting this up, Roni! I don't know if I'll be able to fit in a Liaden book for July, but I'll definitely be reading one for the Category Challenge group read in August. Then I hope to continue for the rest of the year, maybe one every couple of months.

I've only read Agent of Change, Fledgling and Saltation so far. I'm tentatively planning to read Conflict of Honors next.

11majkia
Jul 1, 2015, 10:12am

Yes, thanks Roni. I have a few of the books in the series, but have only so far read Agent of Change. I got so confused about the order I needed to read them in I've ignored them for a year or two. Time to get started on them!

12HanGerg
Editado: Jul 1, 2015, 12:10pm

Yes, I'm another who's in! I've read Agent of Change and need to follow that up with...? Roni has told me somewhere else so I'll go look it up and probably purchase the second one for my kindle soon.

13benitastrnad
Jul 1, 2015, 1:06pm

I am going to try to find a copy of Agent of Change and join the group.

14SandDune
Jul 1, 2015, 2:53pm

I think I will join in with at least the first book, and then see where I go from there ....

15sibylline
Jul 1, 2015, 6:46pm

I have three new ones that I haven't read yet: Book 2 of the short stories and Necessity's Child and Dragon in Exile. I also plan to reread the two-in-one volume, The Crystal Variations--I started with those but I think it will mean a lot more now that I am familiar with the Liaden uni!

16ronincats
Jul 3, 2015, 3:34pm



Book #65 Agent of Change by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (247 pp.)
Book #66 Conflict of Honors by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (326 pp.)

Yes, the Liaden Universe series year-long group conversation started July 1, and I started with it. These are the two introductory books. Again, as stated above, if you enjoy adventuresome space opera with great characters, turtles, dragons, cats, and trees, this may be for you. A lot of new readers will have tried out the Vorkosigan books in 2014, and if you enjoyed them, you will also enjoy these.

Either of these two books can serve as a starting point. For the Vorkosigan readers, if you preferred The Warrior's Apprentice to Shards of Honor and Barrayar, start with Agent of Change. If vice versa, start with Conflict of Honors. These two then come together in Carpe Diem, the third book.

17souloftherose
Jul 4, 2015, 4:17am

I'm reading Agent of Change and really enjoying it (especially the turtles!) so thank you for setting this up Roni.

18sibylline
Jul 4, 2015, 9:07am

I adore the turtles!

I'm about to start Necessity's Child!! Hooray for Liaden.

19jnwelch
Jul 4, 2015, 12:04pm

I'm switching from a dense NF book to Agent of Change for the holiday weekend. Yay for Liaden!

20LizzieD
Jul 5, 2015, 7:04pm

I'm in with Plan B!!!

21jnwelch
Jul 6, 2015, 9:14am

Loved the re-read of Agent of Change. Go Val and Miri!

Now I've got Conflict of Honors teed up.

22sibylline
Editado: Jul 6, 2015, 10:08am

I'm trying to remember, because it is so important to this one, Necessity's Child what exactly being an Agent of Change involves. I remember bits and pieces. Have to go see how long ago I read it, but maybe I need to reread EVERYTHING after all!!!!!

Ah yes, I've reviewed some stuff.

What I can't remember is at what point everyone gets what is going on -- like the rest of the family etc. Can't be more open without risk of spoiling although I could use that feature discussing this?

23ronincats
Jul 6, 2015, 12:19pm

Carpe Diem makes clear that Conflict of Honors takes place about 4-5 years prior to Agent of Change, although it was the second book written.

>17 souloftherose: Delighted to hear it, Heather!

>18 sibylline:, >22 sibylline: Lucy, there is a point in Carpe Diem where Nova accesses some files and uncovers the mission statement of the Department of the Interior. I think that is the point, as it is also the point where Plan B goes into effect. You might want to skim all the segments of Carpe Diem that are not on Vandar to get the big picture. I think that is sufficiently vague not to provide any true spoilers to those who haven't read the books yet.

>19 jnwelch:, >21 jnwelch: Good plan, Joe. These are just such fun to read, real entertainment.

>20 LizzieD: I'm in the middle of Plan B as well, Peggy. This may be my favorite book, so much happens.

24jjmcgaffey
Editado: Jul 7, 2015, 2:11am

I started Dragon in Exile this morning - finished a book (which wasn't very good) and decided to read just a couple chapters of Dragon to clear my palate. Four hours later, when I had to leave for a job, I had gotten about 3/4 through the book... Now I know I need to reread Necessity's Child and at least Dragon Ship from Theo's path. I wasn't confused at any point, but there are stories and events referenced that I want to refresh in my memory.

I haven't gotten back into Dragon, I've been clearing out several other books (which were also not very good). Tomorrow I'll dive in and finish Dragon, and go back to the other stories. And possibly do a full reread, though I need to check how many new books I've read to see if I'm allowed to (personal rule this year - two new-to-me books for every reread).

ETA
And I'll probably reread I Dare, at least - I _love_ Pat Rin here, and his adventures on Surebleak. If I'm reading any Liaden, I reread this one.

25jnwelch
Editado: Jul 7, 2015, 9:25am

I'm just now appreciating that you added her short stories into the reading order in >4 ronincats:, Roni. Thanks! I haven't read those before, so that'll add to the fun. I just picked up Two Tales of Korval and Fellow Travelers on my Kindle.

>24 jjmcgaffey: I've really enjoyed the Theo stories. Another great character in this series.

26swynn
Jul 7, 2015, 9:27am

I'll be joining in with Agent of Change. So far so good!

27souloftherose
Jul 7, 2015, 11:18am

I've finished Agent of Change, enjoyed it a lot and although I wasn't planning to read another Liaden book this month I am very, very tempted to download Conflict of Honors.

28ronincats
Jul 7, 2015, 3:22pm



Book #67 Plan B by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (330 pp.)
Book #68 I Dare! by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller 467 pp.)

So, a funny thing happened after Lee and Miller wrote their first two books. Their publisher told them the books didn't sell well enough and canned them. And there things rested for 9 years. (It could have been longer--MM also picked up P. C. Hodgell's Kencyriath series after a long hiatus) But in the meantime, the internet grew and became a public venue and there were these people called fans who kept begging for more, because, see, THEY were reading the books. And so Lee & Miller were at long last picked up by a publisher named Meisha Merlin who were known for picking up quality fantasy/sf series that no one else would continue. And so these two books were published in trade paperback, that being the default size for MM, rather than the mmpb editions of the first three books. It was a sad day when MM went out of operation in 2007.

And there is practically nothing I can tell you about these two that wouldn't be spoilers for the earlier ones, except that it is very exciting, more great characters, and very satisfying.

Now, for the first time, I will go directly to the next in the straight storyline, skipping the 8 books written in between the two for the time being, and read Necessity's Child.

29sibylline
Jul 7, 2015, 8:35pm

I just finished Necessity's Child and loved it! I think. . . really . . . with no further ado . . . I'll just go get Dragon in Exile and keep going! Yaroo! as a favorite young detective likes to say.

30jjmcgaffey
Jul 8, 2015, 1:13am

Finished Dragon in Exile, and yes, I want to read several more Liaden books - Necessity's Child, at least Dragon Ship and maybe Ghost Ship (I've read Fledgling and Saltation enough I think I don't need to reread), and I Dare. But I'm low on paid-for rereads, so I'll have to fit in a few new books along the way.

Lovely book - lots of bits that begin to tie together a lot of established threads. I'm already looking forward to the next (which has, I believe, been turned into to the publisher).

31ronincats
Jul 8, 2015, 11:53pm



Book #69 Necessity's Child by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (328 pp.)

After Meisha Merlin closed down, Lee and Miller wrote the next two books, Theo's story, by subscription. I well know this as I was one of the subscribers to Saltation and received a copy of the book when it was published. As a result of the subscription support, Baen Publishing took them up and has published them ever since, to the satisfaction of all their fans.

The only problem I had with Necessity's Child was the introduction of a completely new variable on Surebleak. I was not at all sure that was necessary, but am more reconciled to it upon a second reading. Again, more would be spoilers for earlier books. Now, a reread of Dragon in Exile next, to complete the current state of the main storyline.

32jnwelch
Jul 10, 2015, 5:41pm

I'm way back at the beginning of the series, Roni, and I'm so glad you included the short stories in the reading list. It was great to read about how Val Con and Edger became brothers, and about Moonhawk. Now I'm back in the novels with Carpe Diem.

I'm enjoying the novels on a re-read at least as much as the first time around, and maybe more.

33LizzieD
Jul 10, 2015, 7:33pm

OOOoooo! How Val Con and Edger became brothers.........I might read that even if it is a short story.
I warn you ahead of time that my spelling is going to be atrocious because I'm too lazy to go 2 rooms over to pick up the books. I'm not very far into Plan B and remarking how much Liaden Melant'i is reminding me of Atevi man chi in Cherryh's *Foreigner* series. I don't have anything to say about it; just noting the fact.

34jjmcgaffey
Jul 11, 2015, 2:49am

I'm halfway through I Dare, and loving it at usual. I put all four books (Ghost Ship, Dragon Ship, and Necessity's Child as well) on my phone, but I'm taking a class today and tomorrow with no time to read. So I only grabbed an hour or so total, at breakfast and dinner. Things will lighten up next week, though, and I'll read the rest.

35sibylline
Jul 11, 2015, 5:59pm

>33 LizzieD: The short stories are GREAT, Peggy, because, while short, they advance all sorts of small story lines about various characters. . . . such as how Val Con and Edger met.

I just have short story book 2 left and then it will be time to start all over.

For fear of spoiling things, my reviews will stay over on my thread or on the book's book page but I will report on what I am reading here

So I did gobble up Dragon in Exile in about three days. Couldn't help it! So much going on!

36jjmcgaffey
Jul 12, 2015, 2:34am

>35 sibylline: The third volume of short stories (Liaden Universe Constellation Vol 3) is due out in August, though - a whole new batch! 12 stories, including King of the Cats that got skipped in the earlier volumes - http://www.baenebooks.com/chapters/9781476780689/9781476780689.htm?blurb. I think I have all the stories already, in one form or another, but I'll have to check.

37ronincats
Jul 12, 2015, 11:44pm



Book #70 Dragon in Exile by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (404 pp.)

So I read it a month ago when it first came out. This time I read it in proper sequence, each and every word, and appreciated it even more! A great continuation of the series, not a place to start.

38jnwelch
Jul 20, 2015, 3:35pm

I just finished I Dare, after zipping through the first six and some short stories. On this mostly a re-read of them, I'm pretty much going with Roni's order in >4 ronincats: above. I Dare made for a good wrap-up of the "Agent of Change" story threads. Now I'll catch up more on some of the short stories.

39jjmcgaffey
Jul 20, 2015, 6:04pm

I'm finding, as I read the later books, that I want to insert the appropriate short stories - reading Ghost Ship, I decided I needed to read the taxi driver story that's in Skyblaze. I managed to resist Changeling and Misfits, mostly because I've read them so often I know both stories almost by heart (Ren Zel and the weatherman). I started Dragon Ship, though I haven't had much time for reading recently, but now having located Skyblaze I'll read that story (or stories) before continuing with Dragon.

40ronincats
Jul 20, 2015, 7:11pm

That's my next project. I bought the first two Constellation volumes directly from the website for my Kindle several years ago, and I need to find that table of contents, compare it to the list above, and see what I still need and read the short stories that correspond to my novel reading.

41jjmcgaffey
Jul 21, 2015, 12:23am

Yep, delighted to have read Skyblaze - and that is the only story in that book, I thought it was a two-story chapbook like most of them. Fine by me, a nice longer story. I do like Vertu, especially her links back to previous events. Hope she shows up in the later stories - Jemie is mentioned in Ghost Ship, but not Vertu, and I haven't seen her in Dragon Ship yet, nor remember her being in Necessity's Child. But as I read Dragon Ship, I'm finding that while I listed it as having been read I'm not remembering any of it - all the events are new to me. Same thing, to a lesser extent, in Ghost Ship - I remembered several scenes throughout, and didn't remember several that were at least as pivotal and interesting. Very odd, for me. It will be interesting to see how Necessity's Child goes - I do remember several scenes from it without prompting, but they don't really connect up. I'll have to see if the connecting bits sound familiar or not.

42Storeetllr
Jul 21, 2015, 3:19pm

Hi! Finally found the Liaden thread! (I'd forgotten where or even if you linked it in one of your threads, Roni.)

So far, I've only read Agent of Change, which I liked a lot, and Two Tales of Korval, which I liked even more. (Really enjoyed reading the short story of how Val Con met D'Carias, et al.) I've got Conflict of Honors and Carpe Diem on reserve at the library, just waiting for them to become available, and am looking forward to reading the entire series over the next months.

43ronincats
Jul 21, 2015, 11:13pm

Glad you found us, Mary. I thought I'd put a link in there somewhere on my thread.

So, today I read my two collections, originally labeled Liaden Unibus I and Liaden Unibus II, and the bad news is that they don't correspond exactly to the Constellation collections. Liaden Unibus I includes the first 13 stories in A Liaden Universe Constellation I, but the latter also contains 5 more stories. Four of those are the first four stories in Unibus II, with the last story, "Sweet Waters", not being in my collections. The rest of Unibus II is the same as the first 8 stories in Constellation II. BUT there are 8 more stories in Constellation II that I don't have, so I will have to buy that one as I only have the first half of it, in addition to Constellation III, which just came out. Ah well, more reading!

44jjmcgaffey
Jul 22, 2015, 12:00am

The Wikipedia link in my >9 jjmcgaffey: does a very good job of showing what stories are in which collection. Constellation III says it has a dozen stories, which means it has everything (including King of the Cats) up to the latest off the Splinter Universe site (unless it has something new, or repeats a story). Yeah, I have the Unibuses (as ebooks) and the LUC I at least, possibly both, in paper. Still bought the Constellations - they cover more.

45majkia
Jul 22, 2015, 7:14am

Finished Conflict of Honors last night. A bit more romancy than I normally enjoy, but still enjoyed it very much.

46ronincats
Jul 22, 2015, 9:14pm

Finished Constellation II and am into Constellation III now. These are the newer stories, that weren't around when the first two were compiled, with a few exceptions that were inadvertently omitted.

47ronincats
Jul 22, 2015, 9:15pm

Btw, does anyone feel the need for a spoiler thread to actually discuss the books?

48luvamystery65
Jul 22, 2015, 9:59pm

Can we just use the spoiler function so we don't have to keep up with 2 threads?

49ronincats
Jul 22, 2015, 10:28pm

That's the other alternative!

50luvamystery65
Jul 22, 2015, 10:42pm

;-)

51LizzieD
Jul 22, 2015, 10:43pm

I vote for one thread, 2 functions!

52swynn
Editado: Jul 23, 2015, 5:32pm

I finished Agent of Change. I wrote on my thread that I enjoyed the action and Edger especially; that the romance didn't much for me but didn't get in the way too much either; and that the ending doesn't feel like an ending. Roni promised that there's plenty more to come, but if I didn't like the romance I should maybe skip Conflict of Honor.

Reading books out of order. Dear me, I dont know whether I can.

53ronincats
Jul 23, 2015, 1:08am

Well, you'll probably be able to tolerate the romance in COH--the authors don't get all smooshy about it.

54majkia
Jul 23, 2015, 7:57am

#53 by ronincats> yes, I tolerated the romance in COH. It was not that bad.

55swynn
Jul 23, 2015, 9:24am

>53 ronincats: I plan to give it a shot, after knocking a few stories off the Tower of Due.

56jjmcgaffey
Editado: Jul 23, 2015, 4:47pm

>52 swynn: Note that Conflict of Honors is out of sequence itself - it's actually set a few years in the past, with different characters in the same universe and family. CoH is useful for understanding the end of Carpe Diem, the next one about Val Con and Miri, and becomes essential (at least, I think so) in Plan B and I Dare when you'll see Shan and Priscilla (from CoH) blending back into Val Con and Miri's actions. It was written as a "side book" when the authors decided they needed to elucidate these characters some more before they got involved in the main thread.

Publication order is pretty simple, at least for the novels. Internal order...not so much.

I quite like romance, as long as an SF story is not a romance with trappings (if the same story could be told by swapping the space ships for horses, or cars, that's a poorly written story, not just a "romance"). So I'm not the best judge. But for me, the romance is one strain in a complex and interesting story, in CoH and all of Liad.

ETA: the prequel books - Local Custom and Scout's Progress - are a little more directly romances; I find Local Custom annoying because it uses a standard romance trope (misunderstanding) that I happen to hate. But I still read and reread it for the characters, and the world(s).

57ronincats
Jul 28, 2015, 10:59pm



Book #80 Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (375 pp.)
Book #81 Saltation by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (325 pp.)
Book #82 Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (328 pp.)
Book #83 Dragon Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (373 pp.)

Fledgling and Saltation are the backstory of Theo Waitley, who shows up on Liad in the final pages of I Dare!--her raising on the Safe Planet of Delgado and her pilot training at Abingdon Academy as the result of a trip off planet with her mother. I had forgotten how much of Ghost Ship had to do with the mainline plot of Korval moving from Liad to Surebleak and will have to correct that on the Liaden Universe thread. One should not move from I Dare! to Necessity's Child without reading Ghost Ship in between. It's one of the newer books--this was maybe my second reading but probably my third, and while yes, it advances Theo's career, it also merges the two story lines. Dragon Ship is more concentrated on Theo but also follows the main clan and, especially, Theo's mother, putting them in place for the last two books (to date) in the series, Necessity's Child and Dragon in Exile. It would also help if one had read Pilot's Choice and Mouse and Dragon before these four books, but it isn't essential. As always, Miller and Lee take us on a rollicking good adventure!

58jnwelch
Editado: Jul 29, 2015, 10:00am

I like the Theo Waitley stories. I had forgotten she shows up at the end of I Dare, until I re-read it. Nice thought to read Ghost Ship in between I Dare and Necessity's Child.

I just read the short story Changeling, and have a much better feeling for Ren Zel now. He seemed to sprout up fully formed in I Dare, as if we should know him and understand the esteem in which he's held. Changeling really helped on that score.

59luvamystery65
Jul 29, 2015, 11:50am

Finished Agent of Change and I really loved it. Downloading the audio of Conflict of Honors right now.

60jjmcgaffey
Jul 30, 2015, 6:14am

>58 jnwelch: Yeah. There's a lot of backstory and character and world development in those short stories... Have you read the one about the orange cape yet? That gets referenced in Dragon in Exile, funny. Just a one-line mention, but unless you knew the story you wouldn't get Pat Rin's joke...

That's why I love that everything's coming out in the Constellation collections.

61jnwelch
Jul 30, 2015, 2:59pm

>60 jjmcgaffey: Intriguing! Yes, I did read the one with the racing and the orange cape. I'll look for that joke when I get to Dragon in Exile in my re-read spree.

62Storeetllr
Jul 30, 2015, 3:46pm

I just read the Orange cape short story, along with the one about Val Con's first encounter with Edger, and loved both.

63jnwelch
Jul 30, 2015, 4:01pm

^I loved both of those, too. I always wondered how Val Con and Edger met and bonded like that.

64majkia
Jul 30, 2015, 6:25pm

I confess to not liking short stories very much. but perhaps I should make this series the exception.

65ronincats
Jul 30, 2015, 6:34pm

I am not usually a short story fan either, but I have found that if the short stories are set in a setting with which I am familiar through novels, I have no problem with them.

66jnwelch
Jul 31, 2015, 12:44pm

Thanks for the tip to pick up the short stories in the Liaden Constellation volumes, Roni, rather than separately on Kindle. I just ordered Vol. 2.

67sibylline
Ago 3, 2015, 8:26pm

>62 Storeetllr: I loved that story too. Loved Val and the child-minder at loggerheads!

I am starting, finally, the 2nd book of stories and have #3 on order so it should arrive soon!

68jnwelch
Ago 4, 2015, 9:17am

I'm enjoying the second Constellation volume. I notice I tend to like the stories involving characters I know from the novels the most. How great it was to reunite with Hakan and Kem on Vandar! And the old woman who took care of Val Con and Miri there.

69sibylline
Ago 4, 2015, 9:18am

I agree! And sometimes they surprise with the back story of someone and it takes awhile to realize who it is. I like that too!

70luvamystery65
Ago 4, 2015, 10:26am

I finished Conflict of Honors and it was written more in the romance style but very enjoyable.

Carpe Diem is next for me but will have to wait for library books in the queue first. I'm really enjoying the audios of this series. I think there 5 are available in audio. The rest will have to be in Kindle/Book format.

71jjmcgaffey
Ago 4, 2015, 3:29pm

According to Lee & Miller's site (see point 3), Audible has _all_ the Liaden books in audio. Whether they're available for you to find/buy/borrow is a separate question, of course...

72luvamystery65
Ago 4, 2015, 7:45pm

>71 jjmcgaffey: Awesome! I hope all the narrators are good.

73jjmcgaffey
Ago 4, 2015, 10:38pm

Steve and Sharon seemed pleased with all of them. I don't do audiobooks (can't focus aurally), so can't say for myself.

74DeltaQueen50
Ago 6, 2015, 7:56pm

I am a total newbie to this series and now that I am about halfway through my first book, Agent of Change I can say that I am a fan. I love the characters of Val Con and Miri, and the Turtles are wonderful characters.

75jjmcgaffey
Ago 6, 2015, 9:15pm

Yep. I envy you, actually - getting to read all of these for the first time! If they ever invent a memory-wiping technique, I'd volunteer (specific memories, I mean) - just so I could read my favorite books for the first time again.

76sibylline
Editado: Ago 8, 2015, 8:36pm

Just finishing up the 2nd book of stories, very satisfying! The 3rd set of stories should be winging their way to me even as I write!

Back to add my review, such as it is for Constellation v.2:

Nothing to say that I didn't say in my remarks about Vol 1. I love getting these side stories: Yulie seeing the arrival of the Tree, how the Liaden cab driver came to Surebleak, Natesa's beginnings, a time spent with the actual dragons and the trees with whom they shared a planet once . . . all quite wonderful. One thing I have come to love about Liadens is how seriously they take themselves and what they do, from Korval, with the responsibility for the good of Liaden to the smallest, the delm of a cab company with three cabs. Love it! I'm also beginning to understand the meaning of 'necessity' in Liaden, quite different from our own idea of it.

77sibylline
Ago 14, 2015, 9:25am

Now I am back to add that I will have to go the the PO here in Wellfleet today to see if the Liaden 3 has come in for me!

Also to report that the spousal unit, although not a member of LT is participating in reading all the Liaden books. Presently reading Korval's Game, the 3 in 1 tome. Before that he was reading Theo's story in backwards order, not on purpose.

78jnwelch
Ago 14, 2015, 10:03am

I'm re-reading the Theo Waitley novels. I enjoyed Fledgling, and now am near the end of Saltation.

79Storeetllr
Ago 14, 2015, 10:50am

And I just picked up Partners in Necessity and am starting Conflict of Honors today. Kind of excited about that.

80DeltaQueen50
Ago 14, 2015, 1:36pm

If you are following many series or just the Liaden Universe, please take a minute and drop into the September Series and Sequels and let us know what you are going to be reading during September.

September Series & Sequels

81majkia
Ago 15, 2015, 9:55pm

I have to confess I'm not enjoying Carpe Diem all that much. Way too much emphasis on the whole 'lifemate' crap. Do the authors ever get past that?

82ronincats
Editado: Ago 15, 2015, 10:49pm

>81 majkia: Not really. We get a couple more pairings in the next two books, and the three books about the parents of the current generation also feature it. Carpe Diem probably features the most limited action in the series, however, if the first two books didn't bother you all that much.

Btw, good to see some Category Challenge people show up.

83sibylline
Ago 26, 2015, 8:33pm

I've got The Crystal Variations down from the shelf and ready to go when I finish the Kay Kenyon series The Entire and the Rose!

84mathgirl40
Sep 2, 2015, 6:51pm

I finished Conflict of Honors and enjoyed it very much. Though I don't usually care for romance mixed in with my sci-fi, I didn't mind it so much here, as there were plenty of other interesting things going on. I've now got Carpe Diem on my e-reader but I may not get to it until October.

85sibylline
Sep 3, 2015, 9:36am

I seem to have gotten myself involved in the latest Neal Stephenson (Seveneves) but when I'm done I'll be plunging into The Crystal Variations!

86Storeetllr
Sep 3, 2015, 1:10pm

Picking up the first Constellations volume from the library today. Looking forward to it. Still waiting for Plan B and I Dare! To come in. Will it matter that I haven't read those two yet?

87souloftherose
Sep 3, 2015, 1:42pm

I forgot to come over here to say that I finished reading the five book story-arc starting with Agent of Change and ending with I Dare last month. Because I bought The Dragon Variation omnibus I will be reading Local Custom and Scout's Progress next.

88Dejah_Thoris
Sep 3, 2015, 2:25pm

Let's see - in July I read Agent of Change and Conflict of Honors. August brought Carpe Diem, Plan B and I Dare. I was enjoying the series, but had decided I probably wouldn't continue past the main 5 book story arc when I decided that I Dare was so good I had to keep going. So I finished up Fledgling in August and in September have already knocked out Saltation and Ghost Ship.

I picked up Local Custom when I came to it in the publication order, but it wasn't working for me. I'm sure I'll go back and read it and the others I've skipped at some point.

I think I've convinced y favorite librarian to order all three of the Constellation books......

Thanks, Roni!

89jjmcgaffey
Sep 5, 2015, 3:01pm

>86 Storeetllr: I don't _think_ so... At most, you'll get a view of something that happened off to the side in those two, or some background on a character you haven't met yet (I forget if Quiet Knives is in that collection). Which will make reading the two books richer, but shouldn't spoil anything.

>88 Dejah_Thoris: Local Custom and Scout's Progress are much more traditional romance novels, to my eye. Local Custom has the misunderstandings trope (which I hate) - but then it's Er Thom and Ann misunderstanding each other, and a lot of cultural information, so I still reread it. Scout's Progress is "abused woman learning to trust again", a trope I love - the fact that it's Daav and Ailanna (and I cannot remember how to spell her name!) only makes it better. And the third one in that prequel set, Mouse and Dragon...I don't know, I've only read it once so far and I was too busy enjoying it to analyze it. If you go in expecting an adventure with romance, like most of the Liaden books, you may find the feeling off; if you go in expecting a romance with a great setting and characters, it works better. IMHO.

90sibylline
Sep 12, 2015, 10:52am

OK so now I am starting Crystal Soldier! Yay! The journey re-begins!

91Storeetllr
Sep 12, 2015, 3:46pm

I've got a question. The 3d Constellation is in at the library waiting for me, but I haven't read the 2d yet. Will that make a difference? TIA!

92ronincats
Sep 12, 2015, 4:07pm

Not really! The stories are all scattered up and down the timeline, I think.

93Storeetllr
Sep 13, 2015, 3:54pm

Thanks, Roni. That's what I thought, based on the first volume, but I wanted to be sure.

94sibylline
Editado: Sep 15, 2015, 6:27pm

It is so great rereading Crystal Soldier now that I have some clue what is going on!!!! Being me I had to start chronologically the first time! I love Jela!

And the X-strain, I'd forgotten!

95jjmcgaffey
Sep 15, 2015, 3:04am

Yes! And I love the bits in Plan B (and possibly I Dare as well?) where Val Con and Beautiful discuss Jela - neat to know he's remembered other than by Korval.

96kgodey
Sep 22, 2015, 1:06am

I'm completely new to the Liaden universe, and I read the free ebook version of Agent of Change a couple of days ago. I liked it, but I didn't love it – Val Con and Miri seemed to trust each other far too quickly.

I've ordered a copy of Conflict of Honors, I hope it will arrive in the next week or so.

97sibylline
Sep 24, 2015, 11:09am

Just stay with them Kriti! You will, I expect, adore Theo.

98kgodey
Oct 5, 2015, 11:26pm

>97 sibylline: I plan to, Lucy!

I just finished Conflict of Honors. I found Shan and Priscilla's story more fun than Agent of Change, and I'm pretty excited to see the two stories meet up in Carpe Diem (or so I've heard). Shan seemed like a much more approachable character than Val Con, but I'm sure that will change.

99sibylline
Oct 9, 2015, 9:20am

I'm taking a small break to read some other SF and F and trying to decide what I will read next!

100kgodey
Oct 13, 2015, 12:45am

Cross-posting this from my main thread:

#106: Carpe Diem by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller – The stories of Val Con/Miri and Shan/Priscilla intersect! I liked this "backwards world" setting of this one a lot, and warmed up to Val Con and Miri a bit more.

#107: Plan B by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller – This book was more of a war novel, and I found it a bit boring. Most of Erob didn't seem to have much personality (or maybe Korval has so much personality that they paled in comparison) which I found odd since the action is mostly set in Erob's house. The Yxtrang also seemed like one-dimensional enemies.

#108: I Dare by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller – I enjoyed I Dare a lot, it was nice to get a bit more insight into Pat Rin, and I was glad to finally see the (presumably) last of the Department of the Interior. It was nice to see all of Korval finally together too. Also, I can't quite believe that lifemates are rare in Liaden society, there seem to be nothing but lifemates (this book had Pat Rin and Anthora lifemate).

#109: Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller – Probably my favourite of the Liaden books so far, because Theo is adorable. This is more YA/coming of age, but it was really well done, and it was nice to have a bit of a break from all the propriety that is Liaden society. Delgado has its own proprieties, but Theo and her father are both pretty irreverent, and I enjoyed that.

101mathgirl40
Nov 28, 2015, 8:56pm

I finished Carpe Diem, which was quite enjoyable, but I didn't like it as much as Conflict of Honors, though I'm finding it hard to pin down exactly why.

>109 Fledgling was the first Liaden book I'd read and it's still my favourite. I too love the character of Theo.

102luvamystery65
Mar 30, 2016, 9:51pm

I'm ready to get back to the short stories in Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume I.

Bumping the thread and noting >4 ronincats: for my reading progression. ;-)

103Storeetllr
Jul 3, 2016, 7:10pm

Have been thinking about getting back to the Liaden Universe for the past couple of weeks but couldn't remember where I was in the series, so I came back her to try and figure out where I left off. Now I know: Ghost Ship coming up.

104ronincats
Jul 3, 2016, 9:25pm

Alliance of Equals is coming out on Tuesday, and it sounds like Shan is a major character for the first time since Conflict of Honors!

105Storeetllr
Jul 3, 2016, 10:55pm

Sweet!

I just bought the audio of Ghost Ship from Audible because I couldn't find a Kindle version from my library system(s) and paperbacks are hard for me anymore. Can't wait to start!

106jnwelch
Jul 4, 2016, 8:58am

>104 ronincats: Nice! Thanks, Roni. Off to find it.

107luvamystery65
Abr 27, 2017, 12:08pm

Bumping. Listening to I Dare.

108jnwelch
Abr 27, 2017, 5:05pm

The Gathering Edge comes out soon.