Review: Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon (Orbit)

Title: Trading in Danger
Author: Elizabeth Moon
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 6 Nov 2003
Review Copy

Ky Vatta is kicked out of the military academy for what should have been a small act of kindness. For the daughter of a rich trading family it should mean nothing but disgrace. Instead she is offered a captaincy that will take her away from her troubles and set her on a new path.

Her orders from Vatta Trading are simple take her ship to the scrape yard and come back with a profit. But her instincts find more profit and trade along the way and this is how her trouble starts.

All novels are about journeys. Some are plot driven and some are character driven. I’ve always preferred character to plot. I need someone or something to engage in and someone else’s to see that journey through. Elizabeth Moon has shaped a world and a situation that allowed her to take us on Ky Vatta’s journey through Ky’s eyes.

Moon really gets to the heart of the character by showing more than directly telling us how she handles herself as her and the crew of the Glennys Jones are put in a situation that they never planned. She also intersects this with scenes from other places allowing us, the reader, to see the wider situation so we’re aware of the full extent of trouble that could be coming Ky’s way.

With such a large dangerous backdrop Moon stays tightly focused on the consequences for Ky and her crew. We never get to see the full extend of what they find themselves in and we don’t need to. It is only a backdrop to the changes that take place in Ky, her ship, and her crew and I’m hoping that it’s also creating the basis for their next adventure.

A story about a trading ship could be quite boring, or so I thought, as there are only so many times you can see a ship travelling from planet to planet. Good writers though can make anything interesting; actually they show us what is interesting about anything. At no point was did my mind wander. I wanted to know what could happen next and how Ky was going to get out of it. I found it very hard to put down, which is rare with me.

Perfectly balanced. Emotional and adventurous. Trading in Danger has one of the most touching and best endings I’ve had read in ages. And the adventure is only just beginning. I’m eager to see where Ky Vatta goes next.

10/10 (I just couldn’t think of anything I wanted done differently)

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