18 February 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Eternity's Mind (Saga of Shadows #3) by Kevin J. Anderson

My rating: 4.6 out of 5

Bringing to a conclusion a superb science-fantasy space opera epic, Eternity’s Mind delivers much more of that we've seen in the previous books of the Saga of Shadows (see my reviews of books one and two). Told in the same style as those and also Anderson's prior seven-volume Saga of Seven Suns, the story moves along at a good pace, being fast-moving yet not causing me to become lost or disoriented at any point. In fact, the rapid switching between character viewpoints is one of the features of this series that I've really enjoyed. It's a fitting finale to the saga that has been some of the most entertaining fiction that I've ever read in recent years of any genre. It's not for the intellectual or hard sci-fi crowd (not to diminish the storytelling) who will be able to pick holes in many aspects, I'm sure. But if you are a reader who relishes being entertained by tales of massive scale, getting lost within myriad story threads and the wonder of it all then this is a series to which you must give some serious thought.

As in the previous books, the world building is spectacular. Readers familiar with the series will know exactly what I mean and will enjoy the continuing story of the Bloaters and the strange Onthos aliens who come to the forest planet of Theroc to “care for” the huge Worldtrees that contain the enigmatic Verdani mind. As events unfold, some foes from earlier times also make a return but this time there are some surprising results. Things initially continue to get worse for the humans and Ildirans of the Spiral Arm, but then discoveries are made and elements begin to awaken which turn the course of events around completely and lead to a conclusion that is awesome. I felt that the ending was great, and it built up at a steady pace then concluded nicely over the final chapters without any cliffhangers at the very end. That said, there is certainly room left for us to see more of this universe, although the authors says in his Dedication that Eternity’s Mind “is the end of the Seven Suns universe, for now”. We'll see, but I would like to see more because it really is a spectacular setting.

The Saga of Shadows novels
Despite being a moderately long volume (576 pages in hardback form), at no point did I even come close to losing interest which is a testament to the excellent entertainment and escapism qualities. This was the same for the other books of the series as well. Anderson sure knows how to spin an entertaining yarn, that's for sure. Characterization is (typically for this series) very good, and perfect for the genre. This time, my firm favourite was one of the least likeable in an idealistic sense, but I thought she was great. Readers of the series will recall Elisa Enturi, the extremely loyal deputy to big-hitting Roamer businessman Lee Iswander. Her devotion to Iswander and his empire is admirable but she doesn't always know where to draw the line between hard-line business practice and plain insane behaviour. This is exactly why I liked her, she had good depth and the most interesting motivations. This is nowhere near the first time that I've liked a baddie the most – says a lot about me maybe?

Overall, this is a fine conclusion to the series which contains two other novels and also two shorter works (Whistling Past the Graveyard and Island in a Sea of Stars), the first of which is a prequel novella that lays the platform for this series and providing a link to the prior Saga of Seven Suns. If you're a fan of rollicking space opera and value the entertainment aspect of a story, you should read this series. I think you'll find what you like.

4/5 for concept
5/5 for delivery
5/5 for entertainment
= 4.6 out of 5

Buy the ebook HERE (Amazon)
Buy the paper book HERE (Book Depository)

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