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Nova War

(The Shoal Sequence #2)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,920 ratings  ·  64 reviews

Found adrift far from Consortium space, pilot Dakota Merrick and Lucas Corso are taken prisoner by the alien Bandati. There, Dakota discovers that humanity’s knowledge of the galaxy is frighteningly inaccurate. The Shoal has apparently been fighting a frontier war with a rival species, the Emissaries, for thousands of years. As yet, the latter seem unaware of their FTL tec

Kindle Edition, 569 pages
Published September 4th 2009 by Tor (first published April 9th 2009)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  1,920 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Dirk Grobbelaar
Before I even launch into this review I have one word: Emissary.

Imagine an alien race that is half Cthulhu, half Mammoth and all bad attitude. If that doesn’t inspire you to read Nova War I’m afraid nothing will.

What a fun book! Filled with violence and sense-of-wonder, the second novel in the Shoal trilogy takes the story waaay beyond the events of Stealing Light. As far as hard Space Opera is concerned, this is turning into a biggie, even though it retains an intimate flavour (despite the vast
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
In Stealing Light Gary Gibson built something pretty cool, an interesting story that took off and soared into a galaxy-spanning narrative.

I expected this breakneck flight to continue in the sequel. I was (partly) wrong.

In Nova War Gibson spends the first hundred or so pages flying his creation around in circles, the whole thing burping smoke and bits of fuselage as it rapidly loses altitude and spirals towards the earth.

Honestly, at around page 100 I was unsure I wanted to be around for the inev
May 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This sequel to Stealing Light fixes many of its predecessor's problems; distractingly overt reference to other books is absent, as is clumsy foreshadowing and very predictable plotting. This makes it much better, but there are still some problems, mainly at the detailed sentence level of occasional poor grammar and bad phrasing.

The over-arching theme of both books (with at least one more to come) seems to be about nuclear proliferation and who should be allowed to control such devastating weapon
Neal Asher
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Righto, Macmillan kindly provided me with a copy of Gary Gibson’s Nova War. It should be enough to say that on the first day of picking it up I was busy and only read it for an hour or so, but on the second day I polished off the rest of the book. There’s a prison sequence in this that did seem to drag a bit, but not enough to make me abandon the book, nowhere near, otherwise it kicked along very nicely. For those of you that read and enjoyed the book before this, Stealing Light, here’s more of ...more
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, read-2013
4.5 Stars

Nova War by Gary Gibson picks up right where Stealing Light leaves off. This book has a much different feel than the first book. It is much more a space opera than anything else. A great deal of the cyberpunk has been removed from this second book, almost literally speaking.

Dakota Merrick is the star, the center, and the pivot point for the world as we know it. She goes through some dramatic changes that alter her forever. I love her character, her strength, and her unique ability to ov
Aug 07, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quit-reading
I wrote about my distaste for the first book in the series, which had SO MUCH potential but was completely overpowered by sloppy writing and self-indulgent gratuitous eroticism. Dakota Merrick has all the parts in play to be a strong, intriguing character with a lot of depth... but she wastes it by spending the first book fucking everyone (including her ship). Other reviews suggest the series gets stronger as it goes, so I popped open the second one to see how the writing evolves.

It opens with t
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Boulder Boulderson
Pretty much meh. It's ok, but when you've read some Peter F Hamilton or Iain M Banks then it begins to look distinctly worse. Characters do not act in sensible ways, the narrative loops in strange ways, the descriptions of battles and vessels evoke nothing in my mind...found it fairly difficult to wade through to be honest.
James Cox
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read! The characters, the plot, the world building, all are awesome.
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gary Gibson keeps up the pace and intrigue with this middle installment of the trilogy. I stayed up until 4 in the morning to finish the last quarter - always a good sign. The book opens with a new cast of (alien) characters. Handled badly, this could have been a turn-off, but it sucked me quickly into their part in the story arc, fleshing out the stage upon which the story is set.

There's some deliciously inventive, tongue-in-cheek stuff in here, which feels like Banksian perverseness turned up
VERDICT: 2 stars. This is a pretty interesting universe, but I didn't like this story as much as Book #1. It took a long time to get rolling, and put me to sleep twice.

(view spoiler)

Cue Boo
Oct 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nova War
Gary Gibson
Tor, 2009

Nova War is the sequel to 2008’s Stealing Light a book that, surprise surprise, has yet to get a release here in the states. Nova War dispenses with some of the mystery of the first novel and trading it instead for some serious action. Indeed things are ratcheted right up to eleven and amongst all the action and excitement I felt that Gibson still managed to do an excellent job in creating unique and memorable characters and wound up with a book that surpassed its pre
“Gideon” Dave Newell
Gibson’s second book in the Shoal Sequence continues following its two protagonists from “Stealing Light”, Dakota Merrick and Lucas Corso, largely in two separate narratives. Having concluded their previous story in possession of the ultimate prize, a superluminal and ultra powerful starship full of technologies denied to humanity, Gibson promptly removes that advantage from them in order to ratchet up the stakes. While a good part of the first half of the book is a snail-pace chronicle of their ...more
2,5 stars
Gary Gibson has watched "Star Wars" [Exogorth] and "Flight of the Navigator" / "The Last Starfighter".
There is still too much torture and blackmail in this sequel.
I didn't like the return of a supposedly dead antagonist from the previous book.
For a space opera the world of the book is still rather small.
The books is a sequence of scenes in which one character forces another character to do something she / he doesn't want to do.
The end of the book reminded of the Peter F Hamilton's Night
Arsen Zahray
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Rankin
After such a bright start in his book one I found the second to be a slog that given my limited time defeated my will to complete it.
Lilla Smee
essentially entertaining, but the writing quality bugged me no end.
Adam Whitehead
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dakota Merrick and Lucas Corso have recovered an alien spacecraft belonging to the enigmatic and long-extinct Magi. Possessing a functional FTL drive, the ship holds the key to freeing humanity from its dependency on the Shoal, hitherto believed to be the only race to possess the secret of superluminal travel. Unfortunately, Dakota and Luca are now 'guests' of the Bandati, another Shoal vassal species equally anxious to gain the secrets of the drive. As different factions of Bandati battle one a ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gibson clearly learned a bit since Stealing Light, with less emphasis on the characters' (especially the female protagonist's) physical attributes and more emphasis on substance: where I found Dakota to be no more than Barbarella in the first book, now she is much more serious, competent, and even scary towards the end. That said, the characters spent a large part of the book locked up and caught in political machinery that they had little control or even insight into.
Cristian Iorga
It takes a while to get started as it spends too much time of the main characters in the same place, but it does universe exploration in parallel which pays off later. I bet there must be a better way to do it which don’t feel to take so long. Also, as with all of his books, the story is too straightforward. It would really benefit from some some surprises.
much much better than the first book, like an order of magnitude better, still the main conflict of the series looks like a moot point, people can figure out how to do the thing for their own pretty easily
Steve Lee
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The continuing adventures of Lucas and Corso. This one didn't go where I expected, which is always a good thing. I've already purchased Empire of Light (book 3) and will start it later today.
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better than the first book in the series!
May 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-space
I really like the premise and the world building, but the main characters really come across as morons. Still mentally debating trying book 3, which really says something about everything other than the main characters.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This book opens with Dakota and Corso in the clutches of the Bandati, being tortured for information. Communication barriers and misunderstandings relating to differing physiologies mean that the whole experience ends up being far worse for the humans than, one feels, the Bandati originally intended. At least, that's what one's given to believe at at least one point of the narrative. One soon learns that two major Bandati Hives are at war - or at least, at daggers drawn - over something they dis ...more
Jan 26, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Dnf, 22%

Tried to give it my best, but i found I only enjoyed one of the many povs and couldn't make myself read the others just for them
Mark Zieg
Nova War raised the bar on Stealing Light in almost every respect, kicking off with an epic action sequence: consider the gigantic "space worm" from The Empire Strikes Back; set The Restaurant at the End of The Universe deep within its gullet; then send in NYPD detective John McClane to bring out a suspected crimelord "with minimal casualties" :-) Cap that off with an aerial chase right out of Point Break, and you have a killer opening to a book that just doesn't stop. Well-done from start to fi ...more
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the first third of this novel slow. I'll admit that 'protagonists in prison' is one of my big dislikes. Or, more accurately, I dislike it when authors show characters doing nothing, or being victimized. By way of comparison, in the Count of Monte Cristo, though it's been decades, the time the protagonist spent in prison he was still acting on his environment, not being nothing but a victim of it. Equally, Zelazny's Corwin of Amber (at the end of Nine Princes, I think), regardless that hi ...more
Jun 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Captured by the winged Bandati, Dakota and Corso are in on the beginning of the Long War's escalation when Trader sets off a flurry of novas in Emissary systems. When things finally got going, this was as good as the previous book, but nearly the first third was taken up with Dakota and Corso being repeatedly tortured and brutalized to no purpose. Also, Corso is presented throughout as not very bright when it comes to intrigue--and yet Dakota leaves him in charge of a major new peacekeeping orga ...more
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Gary Gibson's first novel, Angel Stations, was published in 2004. Interzone called it "dense and involving, puzzling and perplexing. It's unabashed science fiction, with an almost "Golden Age" feel to it ..."

His second novel was Against Gravity in 2005; the Guardian described it as "building on current trends to produce a convincing picture of the world in 2096."

Stealing Light was first published

Other books in the series

The Shoal Sequence (4 books)
  • Stealing Light (The Shoal Sequence, #1)
  • Empire of Light (The Shoal Sequence, #3)
  • Marauder

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