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03/25/2004 Entry: "Lee and Miller's BALANCE OF TRADE -- Suzanne's and Edith's Opinions"

Balance of Trade

For you Miller and Lee fans, I just finished their latest--BALANCE OF TRADE--and really liked it.  There's just a hint of a possible romance to come, so it's not SFR, but I thought it better than THE TOMORROW LOG

It is set in the Liaden universe a couple of hundred years prior to the Clan Korval series, and is a kind of "Cinderella" story about a terran teenage boy, Jethri Gobelyn, who has been raised on a trading ship, but is despised and given the lowliest jobs on the ship by its captain (who is also his mother).  He performs a deed that gets the notice of a Liaden master trader and drastically changes his life.

The book has Miller and Lee's trademark sparkling dialogue and wonderful character development.  Jethri just comes to life on the page.  I followed his trials and tribulations with great anticipation.  The book is stand-alone, but leaves enough unresolved threads (including that possible romance) that there should be a sequel, although on Miller and Lee's website they say they haven't contracted for one.  I hope that situation will change since Jethri is a character whose story is definitely worth following further--I just fell in love with him.--Suzanne


I finished this last week.  Honestly, if it didn't have Miller and Lee's name on the cover, I doubt I would have bought it.  The book has one seriously hairy-butt-ugly cover.  I can't figure it out 'cause the artist is famous and his other covers aren't bad.  (He did the cover on Martha Wells's last book, which I loved.)

I also liked the story and absolutely concur with Suzanne's statement that BALANCE OF TRADE has "Miller and Lee's trademark sparkling dialogue and wonderful character development."

The nice thing about this one is that you don't have to remember the names and relationships of 20-odd people.  If they'd written a sequel to the last Liaden universe book, I DARE, I think I would have had to read the whole series again to properly appreciate it.--Edith

--BALANCE OF TRADE review page

Replies: 2 Comments

I loved the story!! It is all I expected and more. Lee & Miller can tell a story like no-one else I've read. But I'm used to the cover having some obvious relationship to the characters with in. I don't get the cover at all. I'm not sayin its ugly, but Who are these people?

And as usual, they leave a few questions hanging at the end....making you want MORE PLEASE!

Posted by baggette @ 04/09/2004 09:43 PM ET

I've had a couple of friends sharpen their wits against the cover art. Case in point comment: "Personally, I think the hero on the cover looks like a turtle without a shell."

I thought the cover was striking. Haven't read the book yet.

Posted by Preeti @ 04/09/2004 09:59 PM ET

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