Reviews of Carpe Diem (1989)
Review by clong (2006-04-30)
This is the second book I have read in Lee and Miller's Liaden Universe setting. The first, Conflict of Honors, was reasonably entertaining but nothing special.
I found Carpe Diem to be a much better book, one of the better space operas I have read in recent memory. The protagonists Val Con and Miri are great characters skillfully revealed as the story progresses: complicated, likeable yet humanly flawed, extraordinarily talented yet insecure in a way that rings true. And their romance is one of the more compelling ones I have encountered in science fiction. I particularly enjoyed the role of music in their lives and how music helps them connect with the world on which they find themselves stranded.
The bad guys are also complex, much better characters than the corresponding heavies in Conflict of Honors.
The plot develops slowly, and offers a few nice surprises. We don't really understand who the bad guys are, what they are doing, or why until about halfway through this book. And when we do understand, it is certainly a dark menace worthy of risking deep sacrifice to stop.