RogerBW's Blog

Down Among the Dead, K. B. Wagers 18 May 2024

2019 SF, second of its trilogy that's also a sequel to the Indranan War series. Believing almost all her advisors and friends dead, Empress Hailimi does her best to work towards peace rather than the big battle everyone else seems to want.

Well, yes, for a significant chunk of this book Hailimi is going through a full-blown mental health crisis: after everyone has been telling her they trust her leadership and they're willing to die for her, it seems that that has happened, and she retreats inside herself (and away from the few survivors) to try to remain functional. It's gruelling but good stuff to see both how she goes in there and how she starts to come out again.

Meanwhile she's being trained to fight the gods. Well, not really the gods, only super-powerful aliens whom the most advanced species out there treat as gods. That's so much better, right?

"So they fucking hired him because he was basically the only one left?" I laughed. "Oh, he's going to be pissed for all of two seconds when I tell him that."

"Only two seconds?" Alba asked.

"He'll be dead after that," Hao replied.

Not at all what I'd expected, and I found the central romance profoundly unhealthy (gur ybir vagrerfg naq ure oebgure unir qryvorengryl nyybjrq Unvy gb pbagvahr gb oryvir gung nyy ure sevraqf ner qrnq fb gung fur'yy pbafrag gb gurve ercrngrqyl orngvat ure gb qrngu naq erfheerpgvat ure va beqre gb znxr ure fgebatre sbe gur ovt svtug), which rather soured the majority of the book for me; but that first third or so is solid.

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Previous in series: There Before the Chaos | Series: Farian War

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