Saturday, 16 July 2016
FANTASY BOOK REVIEW: THE HIGH GROUND BY MELINDA SNODGRASS
The High Ground by Melinda Snodgrass
According to Melinda's introduction pace, she created the High Ground universe and George RR Martin enjoyed it so much he wanted to be a part of it, handing her two characters he thought would be a perfect fit into the story. Part of the Imperials Saga, the Emperor's daughter has to make a difference when she enters into The High Ground, an elite training academy if she wants to take the throne. Tracy also wants to make something of himself, he needs to become a captain in order to get the distinction of being a hero.
Thracius Ranson Belmanor, or Tracy for short wants to graduate with honours, but as the son of a tailor, he can't get better marks than an aristocrat, so he has to rethink his choices if he wants a career. For him, life is unfair and status means getting ahead faster in this novel. Tracy's turning down to enter the High Ground means he might never become the man he wanted to be as his father can't possibly afford to send him to college wen he can get a scholarship there. On the flip side, Mercedes, the princess doesn't want to go to the High Ground either and as far as she is concerned, no one can make her. Stubborn as she is, her father thinks this will make a woman of his daughter, but she believes she might be outclassed by the other students if she does go as she hasn't been classically trained in any of the combat modules.
I like how Melinda has wrote about her characters, one wants to get his captainship fair and square, but dislikes the way many aristocrats can get the highest honours without trying as hard as him, while Mercedes likes her existence in the palace, and doesn't want to leave, whatever her father may think. The characters are all made up into different sections, the Imperial Family, the High Ground officers, The Fortune Five Hundred (FFH), who are privileged and get ahead more than most as titled people, the Students at the High Ground, a mix of commoners or intitulado (untitled) and elite. Mercedes has to contend with doing her father's bidding and taking a risk, leaving the palace she calls home for adventure. Her father had told her many things and gave her advice, to find a consort when she ascends the throne, make sure he's a military leader so that he will help her keep it without fail. A chance meeting of Mercedes and Tracy one night sets up a later scene which makes good sense.
The High Ground is a story of camaraderie, conflict and the need to become someone of worth in other people's eyes in an uncertain world. Melinda shows she has shown her worth of George RR Martin's praise.