When you don’t often read older science fiction, it is wonderful to get a pleasant surprise, such as with A Matter of Oaths by Helen S. Wright.
“The web is based on a simple concept: a direct link between mind and machine.”
My review of A Matter of Oaths
I really enjoyed A Matter of Oath! It has so many things I love: Space opera, political intrigue, a no-nonsense romantic subplot, space empires and it isn’t overloaded with too many fight scenes.
I don’t often read books that was published before 2000 – much less books from the 1980’s – not because I necessarily dislike reading older works, though they are often so problematic, but because I am busy reading the new books that come out. I did however pick up “A Matter of Oaths” after a recommendation of it from a trusted source. And boy was I glad that I did!
I really enjoyed all of the characters. They felt like people! Brilliant people with huge personalities – as space opera ought have. I really am a sucker for competent people.
A Matter of Oaths has two protagonists: Rallya and Rafe. Rallya is a female spaceship commander in her over 60 – and she has bad hip. While Rafe is a black man with curly hair and patchy skin and everyone clearly thinks that he is beautiful and very attractive!
Nobody really care what gender their partners are. The main romantic pair is two men and they love each other deeply. The sex scenes are steamy but non-explicit. The spaceship and properly the wider society is queer norm, which is always a joy to see.
The worldbuilding is underplayed with a lot of what is going on not on the page, which means like it feels like it is part of a much bigger series.
It’s the kind of book that don’t hold your hand with the world building but just expect you to keep up. I am a sucker for this kind of space opera! The writing feels modern and not even the techno-babble feels outdated!
To the modern reader it evokes Ann Leckie and Becky Chambers.
This review was originally posted: February 11, 2018, Updated June 23, 2023.