Science Fiction/Space Opera/Military
Whilst a devotee of Science Fiction, I admit to being less than impressed by most Space Opera, so I come to this book with baggage.
This is one in a series of books with the collective title ‘A Forgotten Gods Tale’ and I have no knowledge of the rest of the books.
If you love action in your space fiction, and empathise with the soldier’s mind and philosophy, you’ll probably be engrossed in this tale from the outset. Whilst the characters, and there are many of them, are generally well drawn, the omniscient point of view prevents the reader getting close to them.
As the tale unwound, I found I was unable to accurately determine who was protagonist and who was antagonist. This made it impossible for me to empathise with anyone. The story is so full of deception, betrayal, shifted loyalties, myth and uncertainty that I became lost in the complexities of the plot.
There’s some great writing here. And the story, convoluted, wide-ranging and intricate, will appeal to those who love the genre. For me, frequent shifts in viewpoint and location made the read more difficult than it should be. I suspect there are at least two books here: some pauses in the relentless action that consists mostly of brutal battle scenes would ease the reader along between the acts of violence. I felt almost physically bruised during portions of the story.
There are a number of underlying threads and themes, but all appear negative and dark. There was, for me, no light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been seeking it, but I hoped for some redemption after the violence, treachery, pointless courage and endless brutality.
But I was filled with a compulsion to finish the tale. I did want to know what happened. Unfortunately, as this is a series, the ‘end’ was no more than a close to this chapter of events, and the struggle goes on. Not for me, however.
There is great imagination here, a well-developed world set in a universe far into the future, but with battle scenes that, but for the advanced weapons, could have been played out in a 20th century war.
The underlying role of the gods appealed to me at first, as these creatures were displayed as deities for whom human beings were, for most of the time, largely irrelevant. I could almost imagine an analogy with the myth and legend that characterises most organised religion on Earth, except that, as the story unfolds, these creatures are given so much life that they cease to act as the fantasies they clearly are. They become too real, too physical, too overbearing to be relegated to the role of simple likenesses of deities in current positions of supremacy in our modern world. As a non-believer, I see all gods as insubstantial constructs of those who create them, but these became solid and concrete; too substantial to exist.
Readers who enjoy the blasts of future weapons, the dark humour of the uniformed men who deal in death for a living, the conspiracies of greedy political leaders bent on power at any cost, there is much to be enjoyed in this book. For me, the saving grace was the analogy with corrupt religion and the parallel simile with political life in a world driven by the power-mad.
I can’t honestly say I enjoyed the book. But it kept me reading to the end.
[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]