I didn't know that pain could be this bad, but I was apparently wrong. I'm still trying to decide who to blame for this travesty of a novel. I haven't read any of Elizabeth Moon's materials, so my view is a little skewed...
But it's probable that both woman lent their weaknesses to this one. Anne McCaffrey tends to focus more on her characters, to this book's detriment. The novel itself is simply a soulless connection of odd passages in a hideous woman's life as she makes her way from a slave up the military lines.
There's not exactly a underlying POINT to this novel. Sure, you feel pity for Sassinak in the beginning, as her parents are slaughtered and she becomes a slave. Then you just start feeling sorry for her because she's in this gutless, flimsy excuse for a novel. Then, you just kind of go numb.
The novel really jerks from one portion of her life to another, with no real reason behind each jerk. And the end...really trails off, because you don't have a clue as to where the climax is. Throughout the book, suggestions of a conspiracy involving the subjugated races are brought up, but that, of course, goes no where.
In the end, you're left with a hollow, empty feeling of having lost something infinitely precious. That is, your time and your money. For the love of all that's holy, please spend it somewhere else!