Queen of Candesce (Virga, #2)
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Queen of Candesce (Virga #2)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  693 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Venera Fanning was last seen falling into nothingness at the end of Sun of Suns. Now, in Queen of Candesce,Venera finds herself plunging through the air between the artificial continents of Virga, far from home and her husband, who may or may not be alive. Landing in the ancient nation of Spyre, Venera encounters new enemies and new friends (or at least convenient allies)....more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published December 30th 2008 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 2007)
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Russ
I read this book as part II of a double edition with Sun of Suns, the first book in the series.

Sun of Suns was a great book. It focuses on the world of Virga, which is a giant hollow sphere, 5,000 miles in diameter, filled with air and rocks, people and cities, fish and birds. At the center is a giant artificial sun, called Candesce.

Queen of Candesce loses some of the vitality of Sun of Suns. It's set in the claustrophobic, insular world of Spyre, one of the oldest habitats in Virga. Venera Fann...more
Ben Babcock
I read Karl Schroeder's Sun of Suns almost a year ago and liked it but didn't love it. Queen of Candesce, in addition to standing by itself, has made me wonder if I was uncharitable to the first book. I honestly enjoyed Queen of Candesce every step of the way.

There is no question that Schroeder's Virga is a fabulous example of world-building. But it was so obvious in the first book, so overt, that at times it overwhelmed the story. That isn't the case here. Virga still plays an important role, b...more
Michael Martineck
Loved this book. It's just so much fun. Unpredictable, but never silly. I found it very difficult to stop reading. Usually my eyes gave out before my desire to set it aside for the night. Schroeder gets a lot of credit for his highly imaginative world, but deserves more for getting me rooting for a character that's not all that sympathetic. At least not at first.
Bookbrow
Compelling story, Venera fanning is decent interesting character, wild world building i enjoyed the fact that I didn't know where the story was going. Schroeder has created a nice palate with the world he has created here. This series is a nod to Larry Niven's amazing The integral trees/ smoke ring duo. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.
Wise_owl
It's been some time since I read the first book in the Virga series, though I recall intensely enjoying 'Sun of Suns'. Queen of Cadesce also proves to be an immensely enjoyable book, centred around a character who was a sort of morally ambiguous... if not outright 'villain' than certainly of a villainous bent to the first books protagonist.

Virga is, for lack of a better metaphor, a giant balloon in space. A huge sphere filled with air. It's internal structure is filled with small artificial suns...more
Roy
I'm ambivalent about these books and it took me a while to figure out why: they're boring.

The ideas here are pretty solid. A world of varying physical constraints, with scores of nations no bigger than a few acres and armies of only a dozen men or so. But it's just not told in a way I found engaging.

It was slow. The political hoodoo was to much. And maybe worst of all, the plot is to dependent on bizarre random luck, people happening to pick up the right widget to unlock the doodad they'll fin...more
Cy
Queen of Candesce picks up where Sun of Suns left off, but from the very beginning it is clear that this book is an entirely different beast from its predecessor. Gone are all the major characters from the first book save one: Venera Fanning, the admiral's wife. The book focuses exclusively on her after the events in Candesce.

For the most part, I enjoyed this book because Schroeder's obvious skill with worldbuilding is on display again here, though it seems a bit less concrete than in his previ...more
Firestone

Queen of Candesce is a sequel to Sun Of Suns, so be sure and read that one first. It follows the story of Venera Fanning, who was floating through the nearly weightless world of Virga at the end of the last book.

She's landed on Spyre, one of the oldest settlements in Virga. It's made up of numerous nations, all full of paranoia, skullduggery, and political machinations. But they're so inwardly focused that they can't see their ancient, crumbling home can't last much longer.

While Sun Of Suns wa...more
Belarius
Jul 10, 2008 Belarius rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Steampunkers & Skybikers
Recommended to Belarius by: Malgas
Queen of Candesce is the direct sequel to Sun of Suns by the same author. And, like a solid Hollywood sequel, it provides a very similar experience to the first volume.

One could split hairs and discuss the pluses and minuses compared to Sun of Suns. Queen of Candesce mostly (but not quite fully) abandons the multi-character storytelling that helped make Sun of Suns a page-turner. Instead of leapfrogging all over the exotic setting, the author tucks in for a detailed examination of a specific sl...more
Jesse Whitehead
Karl Schroeder is probably the best science fiction writer still writing today. He also happens to be one of those sadly under-appreciated writers. I think his low number of fans is probably due to the fact that his books are hard to quantify. His ideas are so big that they can't be described in a few phrases or often even in a few pages. In fact many of the ideas that Karl Schroeder writes about would easily fill an entire series for most authors. Karl Schroeder just throws in three or four (or...more
Hotspur
Aug 21, 2008 Hotspur rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hard SF fans, steampunk fans
Recommended to Hotspur by: Frequency Picnic
Shelves: science-fiction
Just started this, and it's early days yet so no star rating. I loved the Virga, book 1. This is a sort of-steampunk meets space setting, a little bubble of reality space in a very odd setting where people can breathe air, and live on little constructed cities that have to generate their own air, power, light and weather with very rudimentary technology.

I found the first in the series (sun of suns) to be very imaginative, and this one shows every sign of being just as good. (Concluding review,...more
Peter
This is a sequel to Sun of Suns, and focuses on Venera Fanning, the clever and ruthless architect of the mission from the first book (as well as wife of the Admiral who led it), as she's stranded in the ancient and decaying city of Spyre, a huge rotating cylinder. Aided by the aging dandy Garth, who found and nursed her back to health, her efforts to escape back to her homeland quickly embroil her in intrigues that could threaten the entire world of Virga.

Whereas the first book was mostly a trav...more
Brittany
I read Sun of Suns two summers ago, and remember being completely absorbed in the fantastically imagined (but mathematically realistic) world of Virga. {book: Queen of Candesce] picks up where Sun of Suns left of. (Though it took me a while to realize this. I wish I'd reread Sun of Suns first.)

It follows the indomitable Verena Fanning as she attempts to gain control over her own life and reunite with her husband.

Karl Schroedr is a very good storyteller. Occasionally he slips into the cliche, but...more
Eva Mitnick
This second installment in the Virga series is nearly as mind-blowing as the first ("Sun of Suns" - Tor, 2006). Imagine an enormous balloon, at least the size of a planet, floating in space. Inside the balloon is breathable air, heated by numerous artificial suns. There is no gravity, so all the "principalities" must spin, most being wheel-shaped.

Venera Fanning, an exciting loose cannon in the first book, is back. She has crash-landed on Spyre, an ancient cylindrical place about 12 miles long an...more
Jared Millet
Now here's some good sci-fi for you. World-building is a big deal in science fiction, but one mistake some authors make when their fantastical setting takes center stage is to sacrifice character for the sake of the "Wow, look at this!" factor. This is something Karl Schroeder does not do.

Book 1 ended with Venera Fanning cutting herself adrift into the wide open spaces of Virga, the giant zero-g gasbag lit from within by artificial suns that is the setting for this series. As Book 2 opens, she "...more
Jenne
OK, so this Schroeder guy who I had never even heard of a year ago is now one of my favorite SF writers. I would not call him a "crossover" writer however; this is strictly for nerds. But nerds are cool, right?
..right?

Anyway, this is the second one in a series, obviously, and the deal with this Virga thing is that it's kind of an inside-out planet, with a big man-made sun in the middle, and a bunch of littler suns farther out, and then a sort of skin around the whole thing, so it's like a ballo...more
Sarah Sammis
For the 2009-10 Canada Reads challenge I started reading Karl Schroeder's Virga series. In typical fashion I read the series completely out of order. I stared with the final book, The Sunless Countries and went back to the beginning with Sun of Suns. Now I'm at the second book, Queen of Cadesce.

In the previous book Venera Fanning fell to her presumed death. Except she's living inside an artificial world. So instead of going splat, she's burned by a man made sun and lands on the crumbling remains...more
Bookmarks Magazine

The ingenuity and inventiveness of Karl Schroeder's miniuniverse has ushered the acclaimed author into the ranks of leading world-builders. In this second chapter of the Virga saga, Schroeder takes a different approach, with mixed reactions from the critics. He largely abandons the worlds and characters introduced in Sun of Suns and focuses on one character, the Machiavellian Venera Fanning, and one place, the world of Spyre. Most critics agreed that Venera was one of the most interesting protag

...more
Katie
I really enjoyed this book, even more than the last one. Venera Fanning is such a fascinating character, I loved getting a whole book dedicated just to her. In this book she goes from being an interesting/fun character to being one of my favorite characters ever.

The story itself was full of lots of twists and turns, but it had an overall cohesiveness that I felt helped bring all the crazy/random bits together. There was a point, near the end, where I started to feel like too much was happening...more
Stef
I liked Queen of Candesce better than Book 1 of Virga (Sun of Suns). I love the cranky, complex, action-oriented female protagonist, Vanera Fanning. I am impressed by the way she develops over the course of the story.

I absolutely love the narrator, Joyce Irvine. She has an unusually harsh voice, but it really works for this book (the POV is mainly the protagonist's).

The overall plot is space-opera based (various governments and government agents trying to defeat each other), which isn't a genr...more
Grayson Queen
The second book the series. I had high hopes for the direction of the story and the series.
As a story about political manipulation it had some weak spots but came through well enough.
I had two major gripes:

The first involved a scene where the main character had the ability to act but didn't not. It was especially frustrating because it was something that the character was more than comfortable with doing. The reality was the author didn't have her act in order to set the final scene of the book....more
Andrew Teale
Surprised at how good the first two books have been. It took some getting used to since there isn't a lot of world building until about half way through the first one. Once you get the basic understand of how their world works though, it makes a lot of sense. Looking forward to the third and fourth books!
Dan
The setting for QoC is not quite as jaw-droppingly awe-inspiring as Sun of Suns, in that this story takes place almost entirely on a world-cylinder within Virga. (If none of that makes sense to you, then do yourself a favor and read Sun of Suns.) But on the other hand, the deeper character building in this sequel makes it quite satisfying in a way that its predecessor did not. So I can confidently recommend both of them, and I look forward to reading the next in the series: Pirate Sun.
Adrian Smith
Great action and worldbuilding. Even better than the first one (Sun of Suns).
It kept moving with lots of great space opera, in a really unusual world.
City_of_lud Millington
Shifting from the first books main character, this book is all about Venera, who was my least favorite part of the first book. Venera is so one-dimensional she may as well be made of cardboard. The sassy, "I think I have a plan" is really tired, and I kept rooting for SOMETHING to not work for her.

That said, the world Schroeder has created is incredible. With visual after visual getting a "man, i'd love to see that in a movie". Unfortunately the visuals were writing a check the story couldn't c...more
Martin
Not quite the accomplishment of the first book in the series, but still a great read. It transitioned nicely into a book about one character from the four character ensemble in Sun of Suns. I would have enjoyed hearing more about the others, but I think Verena was the right choice if you're only going to follow one character (assuming the armorer is truly dead).

Taking place largely on one landmass made me miss the bikes and warships, but there was still a ton of action and I look forward to read...more
Raja
A solid follow-up to its predecessor, focusing on the most interesting character. Another wild ride set in a very well-realized, detailed, and warped setting. There were maybe two coincidences I had a bit of trouble getting past.

As in the first book, we're only given hints of a broader scope. Since the broader scope is actually the most interesting part of the series for me, the overall length of the series will probably determine whether I make it all the way to the end.
Paul Bard
That was fun!

A surprisingly twisted and sexy Jacobean revenge story.

Awaiting the sequels' arrival.
JW
This is the second book in what I suppose will be a trilogy. I'm not going to describe the setting, discovering it as you read is part of what's so awesome about it.

Sun of Suns was a swashbuckler, this is much more an an intrigue book, and a hell of a setting inside a hell of a setting.

I really can't describe this book closely without ruining something, but I highly recommend it, but read Sun of Suns first.
Jeanene
At first I was disappointed that the story shifted in focus from the original main character, but eventually I came around to the switch. I really liked the further exploration of the world Virga and its inhabitants. Once again the best thing about the book is the world itself, very rich, well thought out and unique.

I'm looking forward to the next installment.
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19169
Karl Schroeder is an award-winning Canadian science fiction author. His novels present far-future speculations on topics such as nanotechnology, terraforming, augmented reality and interstellar travel, and have a deeply philosophical streak. One of his concepts, known as thalience, has gained some currency in the artificial intelligence and computer networking communities.
More about Karl Schroeder...
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