Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Tempest

By Yoshiki Tanaka. Released in Japan as “Ginga Eiyū Densetsu” by Tokuma Shoten. Released in North America by Haikasoru. Translated by Daniel Huddleston.

This volume seems to be the best at balancing out the political; intrigue and the cool space fighting, as both really get a good chance to capture the attention of the reader. On the political side, we see the final decline and fall of the Free Planets Alliance, and much snarking about the negatives of democracy. But Yang is also there to remind us that even with all those negatives it’s still worth fighting for, and the author does a much better job of reminding the reader that the only reason the dictatorship is looking like the better option in this series is that Reinhard is not evil – that’s pretty much it. We see a few scenes where he reminds everyone who’s trying to do dictator-ey things that this is what leads to rebellion and unrest. That said, Reinhard may not be evil but he’s still having trouble with the whole “what’s next?” thing. Luckily, Yang may help him there, as the end of the book seems to tell us we’re headed for one final confrontation.

Last time Yang got more to do than Reinhard, so it’s appropriate that we get the reverse here. It’s interesting seeing all of his aides worry about his seeming passivity, and we see that it’s not just Reinhard worrying about what to do once he’s conquered everything – none of the Empire wishes to follow a bored leader. That said, behind the scenes machinations may be taking care of that soon. Someone is out to get von Reuentahl, and they’re being helped along by the man himself, who seems to have no interest whatsoever in self-preservation. He’s safe for the moment because of Reinhard, but there are seeds being sown here, and I’m wondering if he’s going to end up an antagonist sooner rather than later. Poor Mittermeier, who tragically has to be the one persona in the Empire with a happy, satisfying personal life.

Meanwhile, on the other side, we see Bucock make one final awesome stand against the Empire. It’s a futile one, but he does absolutely everything right, and the admirals on the other side are filled with praise for him. It must have looked fantastic animated, especially Bucock’s final “screw you” before his death. Unfortunately, his death briefly sends Yang into a tailspin. Yang is trying somehow to avoid the role that fate keeps spelling out for him. He does not want to be a leader of anything, and yet here he is. Fortunately we also see a bit of the Admiral Yang of old, as his retaking of the fortress is both impressive and a bit hilarious. And he’s also reunited with Julian, meaning the family is together again.

So it looks like we’re headed for one big Reinhard vs. Yang battle – again. We’ve got three more books left in the main series, can it really be strung out that long? Probably not. Something else is bound to happen to upset the apple cart. What that is, we’ll have to see. Till then, enjoy another excellent (if dryly written, as always – we get a lot of history textbook stuff this time around) book in this space opera series.

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