Re-Read, August 20134/5; 4 stars; A-I enjoyed this book much more the second time through and am really glad that Lee and MIller have written a sequel. I am hoping that some of my favorite characters, such as Miandra, Norn ven' Deelin, scout ter'Astin and Tan Sim will be in the next book, along with Jethri. My only complaint about this book is the ending. There were some pretty significant facts revealed in the last few pages. I had the sense of a racing train screeching to a stop. The casual mention of Grig being a couple of hundred Standards old, followed by the revelation that Jethri was a clone were two major pieces of information that, if handled better, would have contributed a lot to the reader's understanding of the Liaden Universe as a whole. February 1, 20123.25/5; 3 stars; B+I enjoyed Balance of Trade. That being said, if you are new to the Liaden Universe books, do not start here! Part of my enjoyment arose from the fact that I had a pre-existing, deep appreciation of the culture that Lee/Miller had created through the other Liaden Universe books they have written. In many of the Liaden books the reader is aware that 'trade' is a big deal. In this book, that reader gets a chance to really understand the 'gift' of trade that some individuals possess and the intricacy of the process. This story is also an insightful demonstration of the depth of 'honor' that imbues the Liaden culture. There are also enticing tidbits to nibble on about the 'old tech' and hints of the history long 'before'. In later Liaden Universe books there are references to things like the healing chamber or 'autodoc' that seem commonplace. In Balance of Trade, which takes place long before most of the other books, the reader gets an idea of the introduction of this amazing technology to their world.The characterization in this story was good. I loved the character of Jethri Gobelyn . He embodies the concept of honor that underlies so much of the Liaden culture. The same with Norn ven'Deelen. There is . just the barest hint of the magical and mysterious character traits that are more strongly presented in the other Liaden books. On the downside, Balance of Trade is tedious at first. It slowly gathers speed and is rollicking along quite nicely by about page 200. That is a long ways to expect a reader to go if they don't know these authors and that will deliver. Lee and Miller always deliver. This is probably the weakest of the Liaden Universe books that I've read and I still give it a B+. Read it, but wait until you've read some of the other books.