Jun 5, 2019

[Books] Battletech: Prince of Havoc (Twilight of the Clans - Book 7) Review

Hello, 2019! We're almost at the end of the second quarter of the year and I haven't quite figured out how I want to shake up how I handle content here. However, I also want to get back into writing something or maybe shaking up the reviews somewhat.

For the most part, I've shifted my book reviews over to Goodreads, but since I had previously reviewed all other parts of this Battletech story arc, I figured we needed some closure by wrapping things up here.

This may be my one of my last book reviews here for a long time or hopefully, I'll have updates on my own fiction here instead or something along those lines. Either way, it'll be good fun.

What I can't get over is how much the Geeky Guide or perhaps writing these reviews still sort of matters to me even though it feels sorta pointless in terms of the lack of revenue generation or it's not like I'm getting great offers left and right because of what I write here.

And yet still I want to do it.

Anyway, on to the review proper!

Synopsis: Battletech: Prince of Havoc is the seventh book in the 8-part Twilight of the Clans story. This last book in the series was written by Michael A. Stackpole, which is just as well since he tends to write a lot of these big story arc wrap-up pieces.

After the mauling of Taskforce Serpent on the Smoke Jaguar homeworld of Huntress, the Inner Sphere forces under the command of Prince Victor Steiner-Davion managed to link up with the beleaguered forces and provide some relief along with the needed push to bring an end to this campaign. But beyond destroying the Smoke Jaguars' ability to wage war in the future, the Inner Sphere forces still had the mission of finding a way using this victory to send a clear message to the rest of the Clans. Their proposition is to challenge the Grand Council of the Clans to a Trial of Refusal, pitting the remaining Inner Sphere forces against representatives of the Crusader Clans representing the interests to resume the war on the Inner Sphere.

Thoughts: It would have been easy to end things with the events on Huntress and have the Inner Sphere call it a day and just move on. However, they had invested a lot of time from the first book in explaining this whole Clan psyche bit and so they had to bring the action all the way home to Strana Mechty.

The confrontation was interesting but not like mind-blowingly so. It was certainly a challenge of titans and it feels a lot like how they tried to write through the Battle of Tukayyid. It covered a lot of the different battles but there wasn't enough book space to fully cover every detail so we get a great highlights reel of key moments.

This book runs a little long since the Trial of Refusal is not the end of the foibles here. In typically Battletech fashion, especially for books tasked to Stackpole to write. Beyond covering the battles, there's always a lot of political discourse that needs to be established to set up future books in the way lengthy chapters in an RPG sourcebook have to set up the universe for future adventures. And so the story had to go all the way back to the Inner Sphere and see what the other Lords were up to while Victor and the other leaders were away.

TL;DR: This was quite the lengthy ending to an already lengthy story arc but it was still an interesting adventure. And it's certainly the sort of event that can really reshape the whole landscape of stories for the Battletech universe so back in the day this was clearly a big deal. Thus it gets a good 4 stars out of 5.

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