In book 6, Weber got the feedback that long-winded expositions about wind, sail, gunnery exercises, weather, etc.... are very boring to readers of SCIENCE FICTION. Unfortunately, he simply moves that obsession with pointless detail from naval battles to land battles, focusing strongly on the Siddarmark situation. Now we get useless details on pike formations, artillery, howitzers, steam engines, etc.... Once again, I find myself flipping through pages until where the plot resumes and the technical treatise ends.
As far as plot goes, we get 3 major arcs divided into sub-plots. There's the Irys/Daivyn/Hector plot arc to humanize the story. It's interesting but overly wordy because Weber repeatedly bludgeons the reader over the head with the direction Irys is headed. That entire plot arc would have been much better with about 30% fewer pages. But look on the bright side - at least we were spared long meeting minutes. I'd rather read 10 excessive pages on how Daivyn enjoys himself while Irys watches Hector than discussions among council members of both sides.
Then we have the situation in Siddarmark before the Charisian Imperial forces land in force. There's way too much detail on geography and I can't be bothered to constantly switch to the map view to figure out where everything is. There's fewer detail on bloody torture, but Weber still spends absurd amounts of time on atrocities. We get it already, David. No need to hammer it in every time you shift narrative from one combat theatre to another one. The entire Glacierheart sub-plot was boring as heck, even if he threw in a couple of named-characters because it's hard to care about guerilla war in the mountains between dozens/hundreds when we just came from a massive naval engagement of 200+ ships.
Then there's all the logistics. Gah. It's boring to check maps and see why the Raven Lord sub-plot matters. It's boring to check the geography to figure where this Gap and that river is. We aren't all that fascinated by small advances in technology either, especially when we've all been expecting it.
The reader has to slog through about 2/3rd of the book before we get to the part everyone is waiting for - when the Charisian forces join the battle and the superior technology comes to bear in the land battle.
This is the only plot arc which lived up to the expectations of the series. We get a couple of sharp battles where new technology gets flaunted, new tactics get shown off, and some sneaky-deceptive strategy that Weber made his style in the Honor Harrington series. Once you get to June, the action and paces picks up sharply and the book becomes much more interesting.
That is the central problem with how Weber has written the Safehold series. Clearly he remains capable of spinning a good yarn, but it's all the fluff and tedium that's driving the loyal readers up the wall. If this book had been HALF the length with 60 pages of the political/personal arc, 60 pages of the Siddarmark situation, and the same 200 pages of the final third of the book - I'd give this book 4.5 stars.
As is - only 3 stars. More like 2.75.
One last point - the Gbaba has now re-entered the storyline which suggests that Weber realizes his readers are reading the 19th century stuff in order to move on to the 30th century stuff. So I hold out hope that we'll eventually get back to starship and Gbaba War, part 2.