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The Killing of Worlds (Succession #2)

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,343 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
Scott Westerfeld, the acclaimed author of Fine Prey, Polymorph, and Evolution's Darling, reached new heights of excitement in last spring's The Risen Empire, and left readers begging for more. Now he comes through with the dazzling payoff in book two of Succession, The Killing of Worlds.

Captain Laurent Zai of the Imperial frigate Lynx is a walking dead man. Unjustly held r
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 1st 2003 by Tor Books
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Jul 31, 2014 Gavin rated it liked it
This was the sequel to The Risen Empire and the conclusion to the Succession duology. It's basically just the second half of the story! As you might imagine this is of a similar quality to the first book and has the same strengths: Good world building, fascinating technological developments, and a story full of interesting moral dilemmas and political intrigue. Unfortunately it retained the same weaknesses: The imbalance between the world building and the techno babel, and the characterization. ...more
Sep 23, 2011 Kane rated it really liked it
When I read books in a series, I tend not to go for the next one right away. I like to have a change of pace in between and usually I'm pretty good at remembering what happened in the previous installment so there's no big loss of momentum. Sometimes it's forced...*cough* George R. *cough* R. *cough*…but usually I just like to look forward to something I already know I'm going to like. If you've read my review of Scott Westerfeld's Risen Empire, the first in this duology, you'll know that I love ...more
Aug 02, 2014 Desinka rated it liked it
This was the second book in the Succession two-book series. I expected The Killing of Worlds to contain the culmination of events and be action packed and engaging. However, I felt the story dragged and I managed to get bored on a number of occasions. I was prepared to attribute The Risen Empire's lack of dialogue and characterisation to my assumption that the first book was focused on world building but things didn't change for the better in the second book. I was overwhelmed by the technical d ...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
This sequel to The Risen Empire wraps up the Succession duology. I usually associate this flavour of militaristic, big concept space opera with British authors like Iain M. Banks and Peter F. Hamilton (to name but two) so it’s good to see this work coming from the other side of the Atlantic. The military actions depicted here are really interesting and it’s obvious that quite a bit of thought have gone into them. The same goes for the tech concerned. Westerfeld was clearly thinking out of the bo ...more
Mar 03, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it
This book was advertised to me as a "space opera," which made me pretty sure I was going to hate it. What the hell does that mean space opera, I hate space shit in general, why am I reading this.

Well, the answer was because the writing style is really fucking amazing and basically all of the characters are fascinating and perfect. That's why.

My biggest issue with both The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds (which I'm rating and reviewing as a unit because it makes more sense to me that way)
Miki Habryn
Nov 24, 2011 Miki Habryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I've been conned. I remember reading what I thought was the first past of this series some years ago, but I also remember the grand reveal being exactly the same as in here. Luckily, it was long enough ago that I enjoyed the re-read - though I'd recommend finding the combined two-volume book that I apparently read earlier rather than reading this in isolation, since it really doesn't work half as well standalone.

Also, if you're writing SF, you should take care to check your physics asser
Aug 06, 2015 Felicia rated it it was amazing
This book is proof that words on a page can be just as, if not even more exciting, than an action-filled movie. A perfect space opera with a massive story told through the eyes of distinct individuals that, by the end of the book, you hope to meet again.
Oct 04, 2015 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-50-scifi
Outstanding! An amazing wrap-up to a very good story. The single most exciting battle scene I've ever read followed by a clever, dramatic closing. Oh, how I wish Westerfeld would write more like this. I've added this to my Top 50 SciFi list; highly recommended series.
Jun 25, 2014 Peter rated it liked it
I just lost my first review because of some kind of error in saving it, and I am very frustrated because it was one of my longer reviews. Anyway, this is the sequel to The Risen Empire, but really it's the second half of a longer work that was split in two to meet retailer demands.

It starts after a cliffhanger, and much of the first bit is an extended battle sequence, which is pretty good as these things go... lots of tense moments, surprising attacks and counter-moves, and some cool ideas. I d
Mar 23, 2014 Xan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este libro es la continuación de El imperio elevado, en la que una parte de la Humanidad ha abrazado a las inteligencias artificiales como seres superiores, los Rix, y otra parte los combate mientras que proclama que ha acabado con la muerte, el Imperio Elevado. No es posible leer los dos por separado porque continua la acción donde acaba el primer libro, es en realidad una única novela.
No puedo decir que no me guste, o que lo que propone (la vida eterna gracias a un simbionte alienígena o una
Dan N.
Jul 25, 2015 Dan N. rated it really liked it
Imagine a far-distant universe where a cyborg/AI humanity challenges the power of an empire led by a 1,700 year-old young, handsome zombie. This is the essence of Scott Westerfeld’s space opera, Succession. Unfortunately, this well-paced book was halved into a duology by Westerfeld’s publisher. The result is one story in two parts: The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds. Westerfeld, an author best known for his YA stories, does an excellent job weaving an imaginative war between competing ev ...more
Sep 19, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
I've been getting tired of trilogies, but I have to say I was sorry to finish this and see there are no more stories about these characters. Yes, the story arc has finished and it makes sense to quit here, but I'll miss them -- Zai, the Senator, Rana and the Rixwoman, and even the House, were all complex and fascinating. And Westerfeld's technique of telling the story in small chunks focusing on what was happening to an individual character at that moment was very effective; it didn't feel chopp ...more
Jan 05, 2016 Jacob rated it really liked it
Well that was fun! The first one, The Risen Empire, had a lot of neat things in it but some annoying weaknesses. This one keeps the neat stuff and gets exciting with it -- politics, a very detailed space battle, nanotechnology, world-spanning sentient AI, different kinds of artificial gravity, and a number of other things. This is definitely one of the better science fiction books I've read in the last few years, along with Ancillary Justice and Permanence. Of course I would recommend starting o ...more
I enjoyed the battles and tactics enormously, which is still kind of surprising to me. Apparently, His Majesty's Dragon brought me into the naval-battle fold.

I also loved the political battle and tactics going on back at Home.

I loved the commando and the savant and their relationship.

But even more, I loved with the fiery passion of a thousand suns the two AIs, Alexander and House.

The mystery aspect is well drawn-out, everyone behaves plausibly, and all the interactions between characters make th
Apr 04, 2011 Cassy rated it it was amazing
This was book two of Scott Westerfeld's Successions series and it was just as enjoyable as the first one was. This one was a lot more action packed than the first one was and we learn a lot more about the empire in this book.

The first half of this book is almost strictly battle. It's the Rix commander that escaped in book one trying to help take down the empire. She is making her way across Legis VI to try and do Alexandar's bidding. I like it because Westerfeld really shows you a personal side
Sep 28, 2009 Jack rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
The first third of the book is titled "Space Battle" and it is, for the most part. Westerfeld does some things well - his description of smart machines encountering one another at extremely high velocity seems very plausible (given the circumstances and capabilities he describes, that is). But to interweave one narrative that's measured in fractions of a second with others that are at human speeds was jarring - as if he described a bomb igniting from the bomb's POV, then jumped to a discussion a ...more
Nov 14, 2011 Melanie rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 29, 2012 Katie rated it liked it
Here's what I have got to say: If you haven't read Scott Westerfeld yet, make that a priority STAT. Every single Westerfeld book I have read, I have loved.

Uglies (Uglies, #1) by Scott Westerfeld Pretties (Uglies, #2) by Scott Westerfeld Specials (Uglies, #3) by Scott Westerfeld Extras (Uglies, #4) by Scott Westerfeld

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld

Peeps (Peeps, #1) by Scott Westerfeld The Last Days (Peeps, #2) by Scott Westerfeld

The Risen Empire (Succession, #1) by Scott Westerfeld The Killing of Worlds (Succession, #2) by Scott Westerfeld

[bookcover:Zombies Vs. Unic 7171748 orns]<-One short story of his in here.

^I love all those books.
Ethan I. Solomon
Feb 02, 2014 Ethan I. Solomon rated it it was amazing
I can't stress enough how close this book came to having five stars, which to me is pretty much a perfect book. (Side Note: I think Goodreads should have a 10 star system, there's very little room for subtle ratings with only 5)

As in the first book, the technological and social aspects are unparalleled in this book. The cover offers a review saying that it was a modern Asimov or Frank Herbert type book, but I honestly think that in those two aspects he actually in many ways surpasses them. Here
Feb 13, 2009 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is book two of the Risen Empire series. We read book one for January's book group meeting. Three of us thought it was super cool - nanotechnology! space battles! living dead! Basically, your classic space opera. One of us felt it was a thinly disguised romance.

In Killing of Worlds we pick right up with Captain Zai engaging the Empire's dread enemy, the Rix. It is his mission to stop at all costs the compound mind on Legis XV from communicating with that ship. The War Council back on the Em
Daniel Roy
May 03, 2011 Daniel Roy rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
If you read 'The Risen Empire' and are wondering whether you should read 'The Killing of Worlds', then what the heck is the problem with you? Yes, of course you should read it! Don't you want to know what happens to Laurent Zai and his crew? Sheesh.

If you haven't read 'The Risen Empire', and are wondering whether the conclusion of the Succession 2-part series is worth it, then I'm happy to report that it is. It's hard to match the sheer adrenaline and intensity of the opening of 'The Risen Empir
As I mentioned in my review of The Risen Empire, this isn't really a sequel -- it's merely the second half of the story, which was broken up for publishing reasons. Unfortunately, it suffers more from this break-up than most novels do, because as far as I can tell Westerfeld did nothing to make the transition more seamless -- the epilogue of The Risen Empire is the prologue of The Killing of Worlds and otherwise the story just jumps right back into the action where it left off.

Were the books in
Deuxième et dernier tome d’une fresque incroyable, ce roman reprend les promesse du premier tome là où elles avaient été laissées, et les honore de la plus belle des manières.

En effet, le premier tome nous promettait de la violence, de la trahison, de la basse besogne politique, mais aussi (et surtout) des personnages plus grands que nature, des dilemnes cornelliens, et de l’épique à tous les étages.

Et j’ai été servi dans tous ces domaines. La partie la plus évidente, c’est la violence, la guerr
Aug 28, 2013 Onefinemess rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi

This book (and the one it follows) have one of the longest space battles ever. Longest in the sense of how much of the book they occupy, not how long the battles actually last. I think it was like half the last book and over half of this book. Which is fine - it was decently enough done. I just found it a little surprising I guess - maybe I'm used to multiple battles instead of single instances. *shrug*

On the whole, these books felt very... TV or movie-ish, if you catch my drift. The pacing and
Apr 01, 2012 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
A Fine Space Opera With Richly Drawn Characters Courtesy of Scott Westerfeld

“The Killing of Worlds: Book Two of Succession” is one of the best examples of early 21st Century space opera science fiction I am aware of, light years ahead of popular works like David Weber’s “Honor Harrington” series with regards to the quality of the writing and of its protagonists. Scott Westerfeld has written some of the best space battles I’ve come across, that are most admirable for their excellent plotting and
Mar 10, 2013 Patrick rated it really liked it
This is the second book in the Succession series, and it lives up to the promise of the first, The Risen Empire. I recall seeing someplace that Scott Westerfeld only made this a series at the behest of the US publisher, which probably explains how thoroughly tied together the two novels are.

In The Killing of Worlds, we start immediately where The Risen Empire ended. Captain Laurent Zai and his crew aboard the Lynx are engaging with a Rix battlecruiser in the Legis system, and the expectation of
"The Killing of Worlds' is pretty good, although not quite at the level of excitement and intensity of its predecessor, "The Risen Empire". A recurring theme of any sci-fi book or series is that it's really hard to make the ending live up to expectations. In this case, both books are underpinned by a terrible secret that has held the Empire together for centuries. When we finally find out the secret, it just isn't that amazing or shocking.

But the ending aside, this was a good, compelling read.
Aug 12, 2012 Mei rated it really liked it
It's hard for me to review books, I think. Mostly because I finish reading them late at night (yes, 10pm is late at night for me) when my brain is tired and also because I am one of those people who hate spoilers of any sort, and I never figure out what counts as a spoiler for most people and what doesn't (for me anything that reveals ANYTHING is a spoiler).

I found the entire series elegant and well put together. I very briefly found some of the characterization forced, but it was subsumed by la
Joe Slavinsky
Jan 16, 2016 Joe Slavinsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thrilling conclusion to "The Risen Empire", and I was thrilled. Yet another book that was hard to put down, with great characters, plot, & pace. Although it appears that Mr. Westerfeld isn't necessarily planning another volume, I would appreciate his revisiting this section of space, at sometime in the not-to-distant future.
May 20, 2012 Lona rated it it was ok
The story itself could be pretty good if it weren't shadowed by the writer's ridiculous need to detail every little thing. The story drones on and on about things that really just don't matter to the story as a whole. I got through the first book, ending in frustration at the lack of any decent closure and began the second only to find yet another tormenting drawn out beginning to the next book. It seems as though this book has become even worse in torment, keeping the reader thirsting for answe ...more
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Scott Westerfeld is a New York Times bestselling author of YA. He was born in the Texas and now lives in Sydney and New York City. In 2001, Westerfeld married fellow author Justine Larbalestier.

He is best know for the Uglies and Leviathan series, and his next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014.

His book Evolution's Darling was a New York Times Notable Book, and won a Special Citation f
More about Scott Westerfeld...

Other Books in the Series

Succession (2 books)
  • The Risen Empire (Succession, #1)

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