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The Orphaned Worlds (Humanity's Fire #2)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,155 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
The fight is on. So let the battle begin.

Darien is no longer a lost outpost of humanity, but the prize in an intergalactic struggle. Hegemony forces control the planet, while Earth merely observes, rendered impotent by galactic politics. Yet Earth's ambassador to Darien will become a player in a greater conflict as there is more at stake than a turf war on a newly discover
ebook, 496 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Orbit (first published April 22nd 2010)
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Ben Babcock
It has been almost two years since I read the first book in this series, and nearly a year since I bought books 2 and 3! I’m very glad Michael Cobley includes a brief synopsis of the first book; it helped with my terrible recall. The Orphaned Worlds is probably better than Seeds of Earth in terms of both story and organization. As with the first book, there were elements that made me want to dislike this book, but I just couldn’t. It’s unabashedly fun space opera with AI elements reminiscent o ...more
Matthew Hester
I'm not sure what's more upsetting; the fact that Cobley seemed to be trying to channel Kevin J Anderson in the way he tells this story, or the fact that he failed miserably.

I was very nervous coming into this book after finishing the first in the series, and it would seem my fears were justified. Not only was this a let down from the already mediocre debut, but his attempt to set up additional story-lines stumbled and failed.
Though the only positive I can say about the way he did create new sit
The troubled sequel to a better book. Not as good as the previous, but hopefully providing lots of 'set up' for the third and final part.
Dylan Harris
Mar 13, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The language in this book is so appalling I found the thing impossible to read.

Most people, when they buy a cliché dictionary, use it to find annoying phrases to avoid. Mr. Cobley seems to have used one as a resource. Let me give you an idea of just how awful the thing is ... here are clichés from the preface:

- In the title, "has gone before"
- "ruthless ... enemy"
- "far away star system"
- "fertile ... world"
- "swathed in ... forest"
- "ancient secrets"

And that's just the first paragraph. Seriousl
While I had very high expectations for the series debut, only to be partially fulfilled after an intriguing beginning followed by an almost fatal descent in costume-aliens pulp, my expectations were tempered for this one; still the novel managed to under-perform them with occasional snippets of brilliance with Banksian overtones and a lively engaging style, but with a very 50's like content which is far from the modern space opera standards

The many threads of the novel are uninspiring and with t
Allan Heron
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in the Humanity's Fire trilogy by Michael Cobley who, in the interests of transparency, I'll declare as a friend of mine.

I enjoy sci-fi in movies but have never read much in the genre (but, then again, I don't read overly much fiction) so this Space Opera represents jumping into the deep end.

It's a complex story but it does manage to capture the imagination and kept me interested up to the inevitable climax setting up the final part of the tale. The story jumped from the
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Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A book that has a lot going on. Multiple plot lines, different concepts casually thrown in at random moments, extra races everywhere. I might have to reread it when i get the third in the series just so i don't miss important bits.
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
operatic. in the best way. still not sure about the ultimate powers at war here.
May 02, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
There are a lot of credulity-stretching things I had been willing to accept in this series, because the first book was so vibrant and well-realized. World-spanning, conscious forests? Sure. The idea of subspace being built up of layers of dead universes? Cool! Ancient cyborgs who want to conquer the galaxy? Okay, why not? But there's a fine line between outlandish ideas that are internally consistent, and outright magic. Sad to say, The Orphaned Worlds not only crosses that line, but swan dives ...more
Dec 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-read
I read Mike Cobley's first epic space opera book, Seeds fo Earth, prior to its release last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. The Orphaned Worlds, the sequel and part two of the trilogy, was a highly anticipated release for this year and upon getting a copy through the post I made sure it was high on the list of to-read books. While not quite on the same level as Seeds of Earth, The Orphaned Worlds delivers a whole lot of action, adventure and politics on a canvas even bigger than the first novel! ...more
David Alexander McLane
Definitely suffers from the middle book problem and honestly, it's just not as good as Seeds of Earth. After a promising start, the narrative quickly falls apart. The author is trying to weave too many different storylines together, causing them to feel very disjointed. It is typical of a lot of second-tier space opera in the sense that it desperately needed more vigorous editing. A halfway decent concept is buried under 600+ pages of aimless storytelling and irrelevant tangents and side plots. ...more
Mar 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, scifi
The second part of a trilogy is always the hardest part of a trilogy.

When done right, the effort is always lauded. This is why The Empire Strikes Back is so popular. Despite some obvious flaws with the narrative, the movie never appears to be just wasting time waiting for the denouement. But I think coming up with such a second act is a more difficult proposition than it appears. If, we as consumers are aware that there will be a third act, we realize that there won't be a sense of closure when
Daniel Heimstad
The Orphaned Worlds, Michel Cobleys second book in the Humanitys Fire series.

While the first book was an exciting opening to a new universe, the second installment seems to have lost momentum.

In the first book there are some fascinating references to Carl von Clausewitz classic, War, from 1832. The Orphaned Worlds continues this trend where some of the characters discuss the famous German Nazi general Eric Rommel. I love how the science-fiction genre can tie up “real-time” events to a world an
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Surprise surprise, I actually liked this book better than the first book in the series, 'Seeds of Earth' The pace of the book is steady, except near the end where it seems a bit rushed. Mr Cobley does an admirable job filling in additional details, giving us a richer view of this big, complex universe he has created.

There are plots within plots, and it's amusing to see various groups of villains getting in the way of each other at times. There are hints here also, of a far more dangerous foe, on
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely good read, I would recommend anyone of a harder sci-fi bent to read this series

This was an excellent middle book, it advanced the story nicely and never felt bogged down or reserved, there were some well executed reveals and there's enough foreshadowing for me to want to jump straight into the next one.
The characters are all well rounded and even minor characters generally have enough detail to relate to and none of them feel throw-away, even if they do catch it in short order.
The gala
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
After reading Seeds of Earth I stated that the first third was too slow, and the last third too rushed. But that as I had started the series now, that I would persevere with the second and third book, as I want to know how the story ends.

The Orphaned Worlds pace was more even, the cast of characters developed more depth, but I continued to find them annoyingly stereotypical.

The continued development of the story, by telling it from a different persons view point in each chapter, although better
Guy Ferguson
I did not enjoy this as much as the first in the series, yet I will read the last in the trilogy, if only to wrap up loose ends. Nods to Banks and Simmons are appreciated. Perhaps I was not concentrating but had trouble following sopme of the groups listed, and could not understand the Spiral groups motivations.
The notion of tiers of hyperspace universes was an interesting one, and perhaps the central, best idea in the whole book. Perhaps more should have been focussed on that concept.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2017-read
While I ended up enjoying this, I struggled with the pacing. There are some brilliant ideas at work here with a complex array of cultures and alien civilizations engaged in a struggle to take control of Darien and the technology it holds. The pacing just seemed off. As soon as I was drawn in the viewpoint would switch, diminishing the tension and flow of the story. It's only in the last third of the novel when things starting ramping up that the story became truly engaging. The ending is satisfy ...more
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-sci-fi
An acceptable second. The first book enaged me not because it was novel (pun), but because it did tick all the 'right boxes'. Apocalyptic, galaxy spanning, mythical, organic vs. high tech, a 'cyber space', multiple dimensions, interwoven character narratives.
This carried on all these themes, but it feels a little flat. At this point, I probably will read the conclusion, and vaugley enjoy doing so in order to conclude the threads. That said, this is a suitable, casual, read. It's not a genre defy
Jane Plumridge
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: michael-cobley
I found this book heavy going at the start mainly because there is so much to try and keep up with. Although I'd read the first book there was much more to get to grips with as the plot develops in numerous different ways and locations.

It continues the Work of the first book in weaving and latterly bringing everything together nicely so that the scene is set for the final book. The more you read, the more you begin to piece things together and really begin to care about the main protagonists.

l c
Martin Waterhouse
Another enjoyable 18 hours spent with the wonderful David Thorpe narrating; his voice work is a pure joy. The story continues along well in this second installment and gets progressively darker, and although it was slightly plodding in places, there were enough twists and turns to keep me going. As with the first book in the series the writing feels a bit dated but it's still worth the effort - I reckon - as this is one big old multilayered universe Michael Cobley's crafted and there are creatur ...more
Orphaned Worlds kept my interest long enough to finish it (and the third volume in the series), but the story was lacking in character development, the worldbuilding was a bit incoherent and the battle scenes didn't really hang together very well. I didn't really *care* about any of the characters, it was all just a bit meh.

Still, it's nice to find science fiction that I haven't read in the library. That's one of the reasons why libraries are worth keeping open - I don't mind wading my way thro
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cobley's done a great job of avoiding a dull, pointless middle book. Interesting tidbits that were dropped in the last book (in regards to the other two lost Human ships, hence the name of the book) are expanded upon wonderfully, answering plenty of questions while still managing to whet the appetite for more. Interesting new monkey wrenches are thrown into the mix with skill. Definitely looking forward to book three!
Jul 10, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, unfinished, shane
Alrighty, started this one instead of the first book because this was more highly rated. But, I'm sorry if I'm too harsh on this, I draw the line at any book that wastes about 10 pages on "what has come before." I mean, seriously? We have to be dragged through 10 characters, 5 worlds, many spaceships to get to the Prologue? Any good writer would make that a moot point through the storytelling. So, yeah, not gonna read this one.
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I've been on a a quest for a new Scifi series, something to fill the void left by the Star Wars expanded universe. This series is something else, something really good, something I didn't know I was looking for. This book picks up where the last one left off and keeps moving full bore. Never a dull moment, and all kinds of weird and interesting things thrown at you. Highly recommend the series.
Peter Higgs
Suffers a little from being the middle part of a trilogy, as it has a slight sense of things being shuffled into place for a grand finale. However, it felt a little more manageable than the first book because there was less of a frantic attempt to introduce numerous alien races and plot strands. Not bad overall, and I'm certainly keen to read how it all ends...
May 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tabled, sci-fi-read
Couldn't finish this one. Found myself finding reasons not to spend time reading. I didn't care about the characters and the plot pacing was achingly slow. Sorry, I really wanted to like this series, but I found the first book to be only average and this one went downhill from there. I was just never excited about it.
Oct 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tries to do way too many things with way too many separate threads. Virtually impossible to follow the story. Volume 1 was mich more tightly organized making me look forward to this installment. I will read #3, just because of my insatiable curiosity, but I sure hope it is easier to follow than this one.
Kontynuacja Ziaren Ziemi jest równie przeciętna co pierwsza część. W historii potencjał owszem jest, było kilka niezłych momentów - głównie pod koniec, ale wady pozostały - mało ciekawi bohaterowie, przekombinowane uniwersum, akcja tocząca się w ślimaczym tempie. Do końca doczytam, ale pewnie minie trochę czasu zanim sięgnę po kolejną część.
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Mike Cobley was born in Leicester and has lived in Scotland since the age of seven. Although the Scottish cultural heritage informs much of his own outlook (egalitarian, argumentative yet amiable, and able to appreciate rain), he thinks of himself as a citizen of the world.

While studying engineering at Strathclyde University, he discovered the joys and risks of student life and pursued a sideline
More about Michael Cobley...

Other Books in the Series

Humanity's Fire (4 books)
  • The Seeds of Earth (Humanity's Fire, #1)
  • The Ascendant Stars (Humanity's Fire, #3)
  • Ancestral Machines (Humanity's Fire, #4)