Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Orphaned Worlds (Humanity's Fire, #2)” as Want to Read:
The Orphaned Worlds (Humanity's Fire, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Orphaned Worlds

(Humanity's Fire #2)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,451 ratings  ·  72 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
Paperback, 480 pages
Published May 19th 2010 by Orbit (first published April 22nd 2010)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Orphaned Worlds, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Orphaned Worlds

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,451 ratings  ·  72 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Orphaned Worlds (Humanity's Fire, #2)
Dirk Grobbelaar
My metal skin is cold and pitiless, unforgiving vacuum of space presses in upon me. My old alloy bones bend and crack, my flexar veins degrade and constrict, my neural network burns with damage and pain. But I am not dead! Convergence is strength, convergence is the only path. All else is weakness

I enjoyed The Seeds of Earth. I also vastly underestimated the scope of the overall story. The Orphaned Worlds sets that record straight, and then some. It is not the easiest book to get into, initially
Kara 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 ...more
Matthew Hester
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Dylan Harris
Mar 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
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.
Dec 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 16, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Allan Heron
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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
operatic. in the best way. still not sure about the ultimate powers at war here.
Danny Seipel
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I really liked Book One. This one is okay, but not great. It's a bit slow, seems to be mainly setting up for the finale.
The main problem for me was the cast of thousands and the huge number of threads the author is twining into one plot.

Every new chapter would be about one of the many players and I would have to remember what they were up to the last we heard of them.

And so very many coincidences, fortuitous or otherwise.

But I wanted to see how it all ends so I persevered. And, like I said, it
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Summary: Huge scope, intricate and convoluted plot, great characters (human and otherwise), and a very workable premise. Classic Science Fiction at its best, highly recommended. Same as book 1 really. Looking forward to book 3

Plotline: Multiple threads run through the story bringing diverse aspects together all gathered around an inspiring central premise

Premise: At it's heart a good vs evil premise in plain sight but cleverly hidden. Much more to come

Writing: Descriptive, the reader is right th
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I read part 2 and 3 of this series back to back so it's a bit blurry what happened in which of the two books.

After the first book the next parts impressed me a bit less. Still high stakes and lots of action, cool aliens and galaxy building. But plot wise there were some parts that felt either rushed or unnecessary: a whole sub plot through the layers of hyperspace (which is an awesome concept in Cobley's universe which deserved more attention than just the hunt for a mcguffin which petered out a
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel  Diaz Venegas
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really dragged the first half of this book. I just felt the author was trying to set and contextualize every character without nothing much happening. The second half, especially the last 100 pages are very engaging and set up the third book very well.
Jane Whittenworth
May 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Enjoyable, but not as good as Seeds of Earth. Sometimes a little too complex with a lot of twists, but generally a good read and will definitely invest in the next in the series, Ascendant stars.
Philip Chaston
Jun 10, 2020 rated it liked it
The middle book of this trilogy keeps the blood moving: creative pulp space opera!
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very classic space opera full of colorful characters
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
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: scifi, fiction
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 Cobley´s second book in the Humanity´s 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
Benjamin Kahn
Similar to the first book in this trilogy, the story itself is entertaining enough, but the overall concept is a little hard to follow. I find it a big mess, with several sides vying for supremacy, and I don't really understand how they all interact. But if you can ignore the big picture and just concentrate on the story, it's entertaining. There are a couple of slow spots, but overall, it moves fairly quickly.
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.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Shadow Captain (Revenger, #2)
  • Guardian (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier, #3)
  • Ancestral Night (White Space #1)
  • The Cruel Stars (The Cruel Stars, #1)
  • Salvation Lost (Salvation Sequence #2)
  • The Rosewater Insurrection (The Wormwood Trilogy, #2)
  • Velocity Weapon (The Protectorate #1)
  • Drysine Legacy (The Spiral Wars, #2)
  • Kantovan Vault (The Spiral Wars #3)
  • Bone Silence (Revenger, #3)
  • A Night Without Stars (Commonwealth Universe, #7)
  • Salvation (Salvation Sequence #1)
  • Prador Moon  (Polity Universe, #1)
  • Expedition To Earth
  • Embers of War (Embers of War, #1)
  • Rando Splicer (The Spiral Wars #6)
  • Spaceside (Planetside #2)
  • Manifold: Time (Manifold, #1)
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Humanity's Fire (5 books)
  • The Seeds of Earth (Humanity's Fire, #1)
  • The Ascendant Stars (Humanity's Fire, #3)
  • Ancestral Machines (Humanity's Fire, #4)
  • Splintered Suns (Humanity’s Fire #5)

News & Interviews

Magic and myth, getting real and standing up for what’s right, love and longing, growing up and falling in love. Get ready for some of the best...
39 likes · 12 comments