Posted by David
When I say Michael Cobley, you might remember a heroic fantasy series form a few years ago, the Shadowking Trilogy. Yes it’s the same Michael Cobley but he has made a leap form heroic fantasy to a big space opera.
Ok so this story basically runs something like this:
Earth is faced with an alien invasion at the hands of The Swarm, and in a last desperate attempt to survive they launched three colony ships.
150 years later the decedents of the colony ship Hyperion made a new home for themselves on the world Darien, alongside their new and enigmatic allies the Uvovo, denizens of the planet’s forest moon.
Suddenly the colonists lives are turned up-side down when they receive a message form an Earthshpere vessel on its way to Darien, along with their strange allies the Sendruka Hegemony, who seem to posses their own devious agenda.
An ancient device is found on Darien possessing unimaginable power; a mechanical leviathan awakens across the galaxy with dark intent; the other colony ships will be found and the Darien colony must hide a dark and powerful secret; will the galaxy be drawn into a new interstellar war?
What can I say, I loved this book and I cant wait for the next one The Orphaned Worlds.
Ok, first of all the simple things in life; the chapters are short and each one is titled with the name of the character you will be following in that chapter. This makes it easy to follow the several lead characters in the story and helps avoid you getting lost or confused.
The world created by Michael is vast and I do mean vast, containing multiple alien species, alliances, histories, cultures, shapes and sizes. The aliens are distinctly alien and the words are unpronounceable.
There are several elements that are very familiar and takes me back to things like the Zerg from Starcraft as the Swarm, the colony ships as a last desperate attempt to save humanity and so forth. This might rob the sense of uniqueness but personally I found no problem with it.
On the opposite side there are many aspects that are very creative as well, such as the theory of hyperspace and its multi-layers, the warpwell ( not telling you what that is) and the uvovo themselves.
The plot is very well laid out with lots of twists and turns as the story proceeds. Even though there are multiple characters each with their oven storyline, Michael keeps them well apart, and when they meet up it’s perfectly done.
The characters are well formed and relatable, and easy to fall in love with; my personal favorite was Chel the uvovo, and Kao Chih, a colonist form one of the other colony ships on a desperate and dangerous mission to reach Darien. Each character has just enough mystery, drama, action or suspense tied to them to make you come back time and time again.
Now the biggest complaint I had was the complexity of the story at times; like I said Michael creates a big world with layer upon layer of detail which can become a little overwhelming at times. But the breaks I took between reading sessions grew shorter and shorter the deeper I plunged into the story.
All in all this was a rich, well laid out read that was definitely not a disappointment.
Sure it has it’s flaws but then again it also has some amazing space battles, later on in the book, and intriguing mysteries, to ensure you stay reading right from the start of the book.
Well done Michael!
I give it a well deserved 8/10
Also, if you want to find out more about Michael, visit his blog by clicking this link, and go ahead and order your copies here for US, here for UK, and for those in SA, please use the link at the top of the blog.