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on September 4, 2002
Anne McCaffrey has become quite a good writer. If you look at the awkward writing in one of her early books, like "Dragonflight," and compare it with the superior writing in, say, "All the Weyrs," you can see the development. Ms. McCaffrey has always brought new ideas to her readers. But much of the pleasure for old fans has been seeing the level of writing improve.
Until now. The "Freedom" series has been interesting, but the ideas in it were not particularly new. It's plowed ground. Even the late L. Ron Hubbard has written a "defeat the evil alien invaders" book, although he didn't have the heroine sleeping with the enemy. Ms. McCaffrey brought her own style to the first three books, with some new twists and a sparer, more polished style than we had seen in earlier books. But in "Freedom's Ransom," the fourth book in the series, she seems to have run out of steam and skipped one or two rewrites. Not the least of her problems is that the series really concluded emotionally in the third book; this novel feels like an afterthought...
As other reviewers have noted, there is some sloppy research, and as an economics lesson, it's not going to cause Alan Greenspan any sleepless nights. And speaking of sleepless nights, there might be a few too many references to coffee in the course of the book.
Rumor has it her next book returns us to Pern. I'll look forward to it, and count this as an aberration.