Ashes of Candesce (Virga #5)
A world of endless sky, with no land, no gravity: this is Virga. Beginning in the seminal science fiction novel Sun of Suns, the saga of this striking world has introduced us to the people of stubborn pride and resilience who have made Virga their home; but also, always lurking beyond the walls of the world, to the mysterious threat known only as Artificial Nature. In The
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Frankly, given the structure of the first four books, I'm surprised he didn't expand this--the first three center heavily on Hayden, Venera and Chaison, so having a second three centered on Leal, Antaea, and Keir Chen would have given it a certain symmetry, and allowed some room to flesh out the story. But, he didn't do that, so what did we get? On the one hand, this book feels rushed, like he was t ...more
Instead, he appears to followed the "write all the awesome ...more
There's an excellent summation of the series at BoingBoing.net, so I won't bother, just go look for it there.
Suffice to say this book fills the criteria that Neal Stephenson sets out for his books, they must introduce interesting ideas, but primarily they must be a cracking good tale. Full of adventure and em ...more
The first three books in the Virga cycle are incredible. Amazing. A rollicking good time in a world unlike anything you've ever encountered.
And then the fourth book comes along, which is by far the worst. It introduces a new protagonist out of nowhere, and while we do finally get some awesome glimpses of beyond Virga, there's just not enough good stuff to care. Worse, the plot picks up speed, and not in a good way - things are no lon ...more
(I assume this is the last book in this series anyway, as it wraps up all the character arcs and the meta-plot from the previous books. Certainly, though, Schroeder has created a rich enough universe to tell a lot more stories set in Virga/The Arena.)
Ashes of Candesce is the fifth and longest of the Virga books. It's long because Schroeder has set himself the task of tying together all the various plot threads of the previous books and wrapping them up in a suitably epic fashion. ...more
This book is intended as a conclusion to the entire series, so it has a lot to live ...more
The best thing about the book is Virga itself. It's such a rich, amazing concept: a steampowered low-tech (yes, kind of steampunk, but not just to get in on the trend) bubble world with no gravity except what's generated artificially, with an artificial sun in the center, wh ...more
The brief glimpses into life outside Virga were very interesting, as were additional details on life inside Virga where the details had something to do with dealing with floating in a giant bubble of air. The formal dance in the middle of the book was not, or the cha ...more
I expect the last book of a series to be the worst, but in this case it was by far the best. Several characters grew into their own and we're fun to follow. The plot was engaging and not too predictable, though a bit hard to follow (possibly not the book's fault).
Most of all, I appreciate the willingness to throw absurd genre bending elements into the story. The setting is a gem and I'd be happy to read more books set there.
The flaws? Mainly that the story doesn't always make ...more
If you read the other Virga books this one won't be a disappointment. Schroeder didn't suddenly forget how to plot, or describe, or make fascinating characters do interesting things. The climax isn't as swashbuckling as the prior Virga books, but we're dealing with larger matters in this story. It's a fitting ending to the increasingly complex world he's built.
Still wonderful adventure novels in a wonderful world.