My rating:4 of 5 stars
This is the second book in the Interdependcy series by Scalzi, and it picks up pretty much right where The Collapsing Empire left off. To give a short recap of the story so far: The Inderdependency is a group of planets inhabited by humans who spread into the galaxy from Earth. They depend on the Flow, a sort of series of “streams” that allow ships to enter and travel from planet to planet in normal time periods. But the Flow is shutting down, or more precisely, changing. A few planets are already cut off from traffic (and needed resources). The current Emperox of the Interdepency, Grayland II, is trying, with the help of a physicist who is also her lover, to convince the noble houses that something has to be done, and soon.
The Consuming Fire is completely a second book in a series. It continues the story, it thickens the plot and the intrigue, it builds on the characters from the first book, and introduces some new players. One of the main strengths of this piece of the story is the worldbuilding which, while it does slow the story in some spots, gets all that out of the way so (hopefully) the third book can rock right along. Familiar characters are either developed a bit more (Grayland shows she’s not the fool some take her to be). There is a bit of a twist in the story that begs some interesting questions for the future of the worlds soon to be divided from one another. In all, it builds on the first book, and sets the stage for the third. Exactly what a second book is supposed to do.
That said, there are definitely times when the story drags a bit because of large doses of exposition and the above worldbuilding. It slows things down a bit, but if it saves interrupting what should be a fast-paced conclusion in the third book, I’ll forgive it. There are a lot of f-bombs in the story, especially from Kiva Lagos, but she is still one of the most interesting characters here, if only for not really knowing just yet how she will fit in with the whole picture.
The book is written in Scalzi’s usual style- light, dialogue-heavy, and fast paced. Even the expository sections are written with a humorous style that makes them less difficult to work through. The science is believable for the most part, which indicates that Scalzi has done some homework (not a new thing since most of his work is pretty solid there). It’s overall an easy read, and the series, I think, will prove a credible addition to the space opera genre.
Medusa “Deuce” Grainger is smart, confident, and as good a pilot as she is a poker player. A freelance shuttle jockey working for an independent terraforming company, she’s left her former life, and her father, behind. Mostly.
Now, her AI has downloaded another Personality off a wrecked ship, and he’s acting oddly ever since. Someone wants to sabotage her friend’s company out of business, evidence of tampering is being corrupted, and people have died. With an investigation looming that could shut down the company and cut off her main source of income, it’s up to Deuce to figure out what’s going on, and how all the pieces fit the puzzle. Along the way, she reconnects with an old friend and discovers someone is stalking her. Deuce will need to connect all the dots fast, because more lives are at stake than anyone suspects.
Learn more here.
After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here
A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.
A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here
Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?
Five and Daemon, the Yo-Yo Files #1, is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here
Things have been quiet. No demonic possessions, no otherworldly intrusions, nothing. And then Lucifer shows up in Johnny’s living room, claiming that two archangels are missing, and something is definitely not right in the heavenly- and other- realms. Saying he has nothing to do with it- this time- he asks Johnny and Cerise to help him find out what’s happening, and who is behind the disappearances. While they are trying to do just that, Lucifer is devilnapped by a larger-than-life serpent. He manages to get a clue to Johnny before he disappears. Johnny and Cerise are left to puzzle out the disappearances and try to find the missing angels. Oh, and stop what could mean the ultimate destruction of pretty much everything.
Snake’s Alive, the Yo-Yo Files #2 is an urban fantasy novelette with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here.