Reasonably enjoyable, but seriously needs more female characters. Will pick up the next one, but only because reviews lead me to believe that there wiReasonably enjoyable, but seriously needs more female characters. Will pick up the next one, but only because reviews lead me to believe that there will be more female characters. (Also, I enjoyed one POV quite a bit more than the other one, which makes everything feel unbalanced.)...more
Sherwood Smith and Dave Trowbridge's five-volume space opera, the Exordium series (of which this is the first), is out of print, which is a shame. AsSherwood Smith and Dave Trowbridge's five-volume space opera, the Exordium series (of which this is the first), is out of print, which is a shame. As the series begins, Jerrode Eusabian, Ruler of Dol'jhar and called the Lord of Vengeance, has set in motion a plot to assassinate Emperor Gelasaar of the Thousand Suns, along with his three sons. However, Gelasaar's youngest son, Brandon, escapes, and it's up to him to restore the House of the Phoenix to the throne Eusabian has usurped.
The universe Smith and Trowbridge have created is large, complex, and fascinating: the interplay between different cultures (the Panarchists, the Dol'jharians, the Rifters), the alien species, the religions. The plot is equally intricate; the authors keep the different threads going nicely and are adept at picking up threads left alone for a while -- for instance, the reappearance of a minor point-of-view character from the first book in a larger role in the fifth book surprised and pleased me. The characters are well thought out and engaging; even the "bad guys" are often sympathetically portrayed (with the exception of Eusabian, a villain through and through). ...more
So far, this is a series of seven (with, I think, a possibility of more). I would strongly recommend reading them in order, even though publication orSo far, this is a series of seven (with, I think, a possibility of more). I would strongly recommend reading them in order, even though publication order doesn't match the internal chronological order; many secrets will be spoiled if you read out of publication order. This is a loose review of the series to date.
The first three -- The Price of the Stars, Starpilot's Grave, and By Honor Betray'd -- go together to tell the story of Beka Rosselin-Metadi, estranged from her family until her powerful mother is assassinated and Beka's father gives her the task of tracking down the assassin; the plot opens up in the second book, when the Mageworlds start to threaten the Republic, and we spend more time with Beka's family, her father and two brothers (all introduced in the first volume, but given more time here).
The fourth book, The Gathering Flame, goes back in time a little to explore Beka's parents' past, while the fifth, The Long Hunt goes forward to the next generation. Finally, The Stars Asunder and A Working of Stars are set in the more distant past, five hundred years before the events of the first three, exploring the universe more deeply and resolving some plot threads introduced in the earlier books (so again, you really don't want to read these first, even though they're chronologically first).
The setting is excellent, particularly in the clash between the two systems: the loose confederation of planets which are the home of the Rosselin-Metadi family and their allies, and the Mageworlds, which threaten the other worlds with their magical powers. What with the fast pace, the vivid characters, and the intricate plot, I was sometimes almost breathless while reading these; I almost had an Unpleasant Incident when I finished Starpilot's Grave on an airplane and didn't have the next book in my carry-on luggage to start reading immediately. ...more
After an unexplained disaster destroyed her last ship, Lt. Jodenny Scott has joined the crew of the Aral Sea. Once on board, she must straighten out tAfter an unexplained disaster destroyed her last ship, Lt. Jodenny Scott has joined the crew of the Aral Sea. Once on board, she must straighten out the department she's assigned to, navigate the petty politics of the ship, and deal with her guilt over surviving the explosion of the Yangtze. On top of that, she's romantically drawn to Sergeant Terry Myell, with whom she stumbles upon a mystery which may explain what happened to her last ship.
The characters are well-drawn, the shipboard culture convincing, and the worldbuilding fascinating, with hints of a mysterious alien culture and dreams from the folklore of the Australian aborigines. Apparently this is the first in a trilogy, but although there are some points not wholly wrapped up at the end, it does come to a satisfying conclusion, at least as regards its two main characters. I really look forward to reading the next book....more