Scott's Reviews > Nova War

Nova War by Gary Gibson
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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 inevitable crash, as Dakota, the main character from Stealing Light bounced around from torture scene to imprisonment scene to beating scene, the pretty much aimless brutalising of her character slowing the narrative to a glacial crawl.

I almost quit, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Nova War isn’t as strong as Stealing Light, and the first few chapters may try your patience, but it continues the interesting story begun in book one, and is entertaining when it (finally) gets going.

Dakota returns, as well as scheming Shoal-empire super-fish Trader in Faecal Matter of Animals and Lucas Corso, Dakota’s on-and-off (mostly off) lover. The Shoal- the dominant species in our part of the galaxy, and the only race with lightspeed travel capability still rule, but their reign is threatened by the existence of the ancient lightspeed ship that Dakota is piloting.

The revelation in book one that lightspeed ships can be used to destroy stars hangs over everyone in the story, driving some to try and hide the tech, and others to try and exploit it for selfish means.

As the book begins the derelict superluminal ship discovered in book one has carried Dakota and Lucas to a system ruled by the Bandati, an insect like race who have their own interest in the ancient vessel.

The ship is captured, and after much long and aimless interrogation and harsh treatment Dakota and Lucas get taken by rival Bandati hives, who plan to use their knowledge of the derelict to unlock it and leverage it in their hive wars.

Unknown to the Consortium, the reigning power in Human space – The Shoal - have been at war with an equally advanced race – the warlike Emissaries – for millennia, a war they are slowly losing.

The Bandati hope to curry favor with the Emissaries by giving them access to the derelict ship, winning a better deal from them should they conquer the Shoal empire.
And so Dakota finds herself again at the centre of a struggle that could destroy the known universe, and the story once again gains pace.

There are some irritating plot developments in Nova War.

(view spoiler)

These annoyances don’t hugely detract from the book however and there’s still an interesting narrative here that will suck you along with it providing you don’t question it too much.

I’m looking forward to book three and I’m hopeful that it continues the quick, high-stakes narrative Gibson (eventually) re-establishes in Nova War.


Three superluminal ships punching through stars out of five.
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Reading Progress

July 14, 2018 – Started Reading
July 14, 2018 – Shelved
July 18, 2018 – Shelved as: science-fiction
July 18, 2018 – Finished Reading

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