Book review: On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington)

Book cover for On Basilisk Station by David Weber

In addition to having a (ridiculously) long reading list, I also have a library of books that I’ve purchased and haven’t read. Some of these books have been sitting on my digital and physical bookshelves for 5 years or more. Usually this happens because I see the book through one of my daily deal emails from Amazon. The book title looks interesting, the description fits with one of my preferred reading genres, the reviews look promising, and the price is too good to pass up.

Such was the case with On Basilisk Station by David Weber. I saw the book in an Amazon Daily Deal email in January 2014 (date thanks to Amazon for keeping track of my purchases). The book fit with one of my preferred reading genres, science fiction. The reviews were encouraging. And the price was certainly too good to pass up since it was free.

From there, the book sat on my digital bookshelf. Each year when putting together my reading list, I had every intention of reading it. It just never made it to the top of my reading list, until earlier this year. So after languishing for over 5 years, I finally read On Basilisk Station.

On Basilisk Station is the first novel in Weber’s Honor Harrington series, which is a part of the larger ‘Honorverse.’ There are over 30 books in the Honorverse with the Honor Harrington portion making up 14 of those entries. As you might expect, the first book in the series spends a lot of time building the characters and the surrounding environment.

The book, and the Honorverse on the whole, is built around the Honor Harrington character. In On Basilisk Station, she is put in charge of a ship and its crew for the first time. As a young commander, she is given the responsibility of protecting an outpost in the far reaches of space from an encroaching, combatant galactic system. In addition to battling external forces, she also has to overcome her immediate commanding officer who makes every attempt to deliberately sabotage her mission. The book focuses on development of the primary characters and sets the stage for future entries in the series. However, there is enough action in the book for it to stand on its own, and ithas plenty of interesting science fiction concepts regarding how we might travel, explore, and inhabit space in the future.

I enjoyed On Basilisk Station, but not enough to make it a Must Read or Fun Read. It’s a good story, and it’s well written. The only downside for me is that it is more of a space opera, which isn’t really my thing. I enjoy stand-alone books more, or series that are much, much shorter in nature. However, if you like being immersed in deep environments like the Harry Potter universe or The Expanse by James Corey, then the Honorverse may be a great fit for you. In that case, I’d highly recommend reading On Basilisk Station, seeing if you like Harrington’s character and Weber’s writing style, and then deciding if you want to dive deeper.

For now, I’m going to pass on another Honor Harrington book. Instead, I’ll be off looking through those books languishing on my bookshelves for my next read.