Arms-Commander by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
At this point, I have no problem admitting that the formula for these books is not only comforting -- but highly entertaining. And having a female main character getting in over her head and becoming a master tactician and battle-mage doesn't hurt, either.
I think what I enjoyed most about this early chronology book in the land that Modesitt created is the admission, the understanding, that the magic isn't quite magic. That it's high-tech at its core. But more than that, the tales are always about finding a balance in one's understanding, pushing forward out of necessity, and coming to some serious conclusions that usually wind up being quite deadly to all the others who just can't think of ANOTHER WAY TO DO THINGS.
In this case, the misogyny of the land, the brutality against women, and their inability to let women have power. Sure, this is quite timely for us, too, but I keep seeing one hell of a big takeaway here: equality and mutual respect is the only way to do things. Even when you're on the underdog side, even when you think that all things are hopeless, it is RESPECT that is the longest-lasting, the most powerful solution.
It's not enough to keep killing more and more men because they just can't imagine that you're just THAT GOOD. They won't believe you when you say you don't want to take over everything.
Unfortunately, might always does tend to make right. Only respect and understanding have an iota of a chance of changing things for the better.
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