20 June 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Helix Wars (Helix #2) by Eric Brown

Helix WarsHelix Wars by Eric Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Helix Wars, sequel to the best-selling Helix is a fast-paced adventure novel about the ultimate threat to the Helix itself and to humanity, whose role it is to protect it.

The Helix: a vast spiral of ten thousand worlds turning around its sun. Aeons ago, the enigmatic Builders constructed the Helix as a refuge for alien races on the verge of extinction.

Two hundred years ago, humankind came to the Helix aboard a great colony ship, and the Builders conferred on them the mantle of peacekeepers. For that long, peace has reigned on the Helix. But when shuttle pilot Jeff Ellis crash-lands on the world of Phandra, he interrupts a barbarous invasion from the neighbouring Sporelli - who scheme to track down and exterminate Ellis before he can return to New Earth and inform the peacekeepers.

Helix Wars, sequel to the best-selling Helix, is a fast-paced adventure novel about the ultimate threat to the Helix itself.

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Following on from the earlier book Helix, where a human starship crashes onto a huge and spectacular helix shaped construct containing thousands of worlds, Helix Wars continues the story a couple of hundred years later. It's a good yarn, no doubt about it, but this was definitely my least enjoyed Eric Brown story to date. The reason for this is not so much with the delivery, which is typically good, but I was surprised to find myself rushing a little and trying to avoid text skipping during a large portion of the book. This is the first time I've experienced this while reading Brown's work. I think I know why, many of the action sequences were just a tad painful, and certainly felt like the author was positioning them in the story for the sake of having action, not so much because they'd add to the story, which I guess in general they did, it's just that it was a bit too much. I don't remember Helix being like this. With all that said, the tale itself is good, and contains the usual Eric Brown epic scale and wonder, huge alien artifacts, species and cultures, lots of good sci-fi stuff. It's certainly advisable to read Helix first, as this introduces much of the background information and characters that have roles in this book. The conclusion is okay with enough room left for further expansion, etc. and I sense that there could be further Helix stories in the future. Mostly recommended, mainly if you enjoyed Helix, but it's not a book that I would steer a first time Eric Brown reader toward.

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