23 July 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Blood of the Cosmos (Saga of the Shadows #2) by Kevin J Anderson

My rating: 4.3 out of 5

Another great installment of this exciting space opera trilogy from one of the genre’s finest exponents. It continues the series immediately from where The Dark Between the Stars (my review HERE) left off, and gives further truck-loads of the same fast-paced action and bigness which are hallmarks of Anderson’s epic stories.

Like the previous books, for a kick off we’re given a decent story recap which is a great feature of the series, one of the key things which make these books so readable. You can come back into it after some time away and quickly pick up the story again, brought back up to speed with key events and plot elements that jog the memory sufficiently to enthusiastically get right back onto the roller coaster. That’s exactly what this series is, a fast-paced action science-fantasy space opera with most of the tropes that make this type of thing so appealing. It’s fantastic science fiction, full of the sense of wonder that the genre is famous for and there are so many things to help you get lost in it.

All of the familiar players return and many of them begin to take on larger roles in the story, which evolves at a breathtaking rate. We learn more about the dark and insane Shana Rei and their diabolical plan for the universe, aided still by the murderous Klikiss robots who are now seeing things for what they really are. The enigmatic Bloaters, the strange organic nodules found in deep space and abundant source of ekti-x stardrive fuel, remain an anomaly for the moment. A few more subtle clues are offered about their essence and I’m very eager to learn what these are all about. I’m anticipating something big from them. The background to many of the characters continues to be fleshed out, recounting much of what was presented in the Saga of Seven Suns which will further help readers who haven’t read that earlier series. The action is practically non-stop and I was always eager to return to the book after having put it down, always treated to something pretty good whenever I did. The world building is nothing short of spectacular.

The large science-fantasy elements to this story are superb; the magical realm of the Worldforest on Theroc with the trees’ instantaneous communications across the universe, facilitated by the fascinating green priests, the inter-dimensional and matter-manipulating abilities of the Shana Rei and the mind-bending Faeros who, along with the Hydrogues, are again going to play pivotal roles in the story. The Onthos aliens, who made their grand entrance at the end of book one, once tenders of another ancient worldforest, are sheltering on Theroc and take on a new more sinister role. Big things are going to happen with the worldforest and the green priests in book three.

As you can see, there really is so much going on in this story and I’m assuming that any reader of this would have at least read The Dark Between the Stars and maybe even the Saga of Seven Suns. If so they’ll know exactly what to expect. The large scale of the story makes this a superb escapism read and I usually found myself reluctant to “snap out of it” after a session in the pages. Huge marks for pure entertainment that’s for sure.

It’s looking like it’s going to be one hell of a climactic conclusion to the trilogy because the story is still building. I’m preparing myself for quite a ride in book three Eternity’s Mind. I highly recommend this book and series to lovers of space action and adventure. Sure, there are more “intellectual” space opera works out there, but for pure entertainment (which is exactly what this is intended to be) it cannot be beaten.

4/5 for concept
4/5 for delivery
5/5 for entertainment
= 4.3 out of 5

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