1/09/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: TOR-UK/Pan Macmillan. 393 page hardback. Price: £17.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-230-70681-1.
check out website: www.panmacmillan.com
I hate to say this about a new author on his third book, but there are obvious signs of flagging when there is far too much reporting of events to get things moving along. This detachment also has an effect on the emotional content of the story when you cease to care about the characters. Allowing Dakota Merrick an escape clause, even if it is logical, has to change the set-up of the story fundamentally even if it only applies to her.
Much of this story focuses on the Mjollnir spacecraft having to limp across the galaxy, forever repairing their flight drive to track down Trader and get the powerful Mos Hadroch device before the alien gets it. Things aren't made that easy with the crew being dysfunctional amongst themselves. If anything, much of earlier two books doesn't really enter into this story when it should have been utilised or even have been combined here.
It won't be much of a spoiler to say that there are a number of deaths in this story. Even if you didn't like other members of the crew, having so many locked up in a spaceship for long periods, you would have thought there might be some emotional impact to such a situation or even a little paranoia that you might be next or who actually was doing it. Considering there is little care for the deaths amongst themselves comes over to the reader and you ultimately don't care, especially as outside of Dakota, none of them give that much of an impression.
I couldn't help feel that writer Gary Gibson probably got the story worked out in his head and when he committed it to paper went through the paces. With so much dialogue, it doesn't propel the story but pads it more than action would propel it. You're told what happens without the commitment to be concerned. The fact that you will keep reading to find out what is happening is more a testament to Gibson's writing and hoping he'll get back his previous form than the strength of the end to this trilogy. I've always said writing is a learning process so hopefully, he'll learn from and do better with his next book.
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