My rating: 4.3 out of 5
Following up the very entertaining Pelquin's Comet [my review HERE], this second book of an obviously ongoing series strikes pretty much the same chord, being a fast-moving short novel with many of the hallmarks of solid space opera. The story follows on chronologically from Comet and I'd say that you really need to have read that first to get the full grasp of the plot here. It continues to build the story, introducing more key players while also revealing more tantalizing facts and hints about the Dark Angels as well as the ancient and mysterious Elder aliens and their caches of artefacts scattered across the galaxy.
We have some of the same central characters who we met in Comet, including Corbin Drake who is a respected representative and field operative for a large bank, an identity he has established over the course many years. As we learned in Comet, there is far more to Drake's past that even he initially realises. He is again tasked by his boss to assess an Elder artefact cache, but this time his presence has been specifically requested by someone from his dark past, a fact which makes him and his employers just a little suspicious. Alongside this, a number of ex-Dark Angel members are being assassinated and a couple of former Angels attempt to make contact with their ex-colleagues in an attempt to prevent their deaths and to discover the reason why they're being hunted. One of these we met in Comet, Leesa, who is also trying to distance herself from her past and we learn and see more of Leesa's special "talents" as she and her friends regroup, along with reuniting with their ship the Ion Raider. The team of former Dark Angels struggles because not all are keen to revisit their old way of life, but it is still clear that somebody wants the Angels dealt with once and for all. The book ends rather suddenly, not quite a cliff-hanger but still very abrupt and is obviously going to be continued in book three [of which there's no news of yet...]. I hope it comes quickly because the plot is really starting to thicken up and there is still so many intriguing things to be revealed. All very tantalizing stuff.
The more I read of Whates' work the more I like it, and his style is similar to some others I could mention, infused with a cool "pulp" style which makes it so entertaining. Reading this really is a whole lot of fun and it's a good flowing story with stacks of action, cool ideas and interesting characters along with a plot that keeps you thinking right up to the [sudden] end. It really is exactly like reading the first book, so if you liked that then you're going to get just as much out of this one.
In short, this book [and series] epitomises the reasons why I read this sort of stuff, being great entertainment and an effective escape from the "real world". If you haven't read Pelquin's Comet yet, do so immediately and then rip into this one soon after, you'll be left satisfied [and hanging out for book three] just like I have been. I'd put money on it. Enjoy.
4/5 for concept
4/5 for delivery
5/5 for entertainment