Hello people! How are you? And how are your reading going? I hope that your week has started in the best possible way! I am finally here to review a book that it was such a great reading! So let’s start!
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and to the editor.
Title: The Consuming Fire
Series: The Interdependency #2
Author: John Scalzi
Page Count: 304
The Consuming Fire―the sequel to the 2018 Hugo Award Best Novel finalist and 2018 Locus Award-winning The Collapsing Empire―an epic space-opera novel in the bestselling Interdependency series, from New York Times bestselling author John Scalzi
The Interdependency―humanity’s interstellar empire―is on the verge of collapse. The extra-dimensional conduit that makes travel between the stars possible is disappearing, leaving entire systems and human civilizations stranded.
Emperox Grayland II of the Interdependency is ready to take desperate measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But arrayed before her are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth―or at the very least an opportunity to an ascension to power.
While Grayland prepares for disaster, others are preparing for a civil war. A war that will take place in the halls of power, the markets of business and the altars of worship as much as it will between spaceships and battlefields.
The Emperox and her allies are smart and resourceful, as are her enemies. Nothing about this will be easy… and all of humanity will be caught in its consuming fire.
I have to admit that I was a tad scared when I started this book because on one hand, I knew that this was going to be good (well, not knew knew, but I was almost sure) because the first book was, to me, not only an enjoyable reading, but one of quality but, on the other hand, I had some great expectations for this one. With the first one I was curious because I wanted to read this author and I had read some pretty good reviews about this series, so yeah, curious. But I have a strange relationship with sci-fi so I had no expectations. Then I read it. And loved it. Hence the great expectations for this second volume. And you know what? It was even better than what I was expecting!
Here we have all the things that I loved in the first book, like great characters, humor and wit at every turn (and I really, really love the spaceships names! They crack me up every damn time!) and an intriguing plot, with action, twists, plot and some science, just to spicy up the mix!
The first book set up the pace and put in places all the actors, given or taken, and the main event, and this second book carry on the story and defines the characters for us, giving them life and personality, while the end of the universe is nearer than ever.
Often the second books are somehow disappointing, especially in a trilogy, because they just serve as a bridge between the first and the last book. It is a sad thing because I don’t know why a duology is bad, but it is a thing that happens. And happens. But this was not the case. This second book was even more substantial than the first, giving us more perspective about, well about all, really! We gain more knowledge about the history of the Interdependency, and hence about the world in which our story is set, we make new scientific discoveries, and we see the characters found their place in the world, growing more complex and complete at every page.
I think that this happens rarely, but if we speak about complexity and development, this second book was even better than the first one! I don’t know which one I enjoyed more, I cannot choose a favorite here, but if the first one has a sort of levity to it, that amused me more, the second one has some epic scenes and the characters become something more. And I loved this!
The Emperox is quietly and slowly but with certainty becoming a real ruler. She may be quiet, and not used to the court politics (or to the court in general) but underestimate her won’t do any good. I like how she is quiet and reflective, insecure, too, in this new role for which she wasn’t ready (because, honestly, she wasn’t to be an emperox) but she is also determinate to do the right thing. And quiet is not synonymous with weak. She has some interesting ideas, a ton of willpower to see them through and she will reserve some amazing surprises. One of the best scenes of these books, one of the most epic ones, has her as the main protagonist. And I was there shouting “Go, Cardenia, Go!”.
And then we have Kiva. In the first book, I enjoyed her and her unique personality, but I wasn’t in love. I think it has more to do with personal taste than anything else, because if the world I have used more for the Emperox is quiet (I know!) the world that I would use for her is “loud”. She is loud, she is boisterous, verging on rude more often than not. But she is quite unique. And her heart is in the right place. She is also proud, loyal, and brave. She was a surprise, once I got to know her better, and I think that she is one of the best features of this book.
They are obviously not the only characters, but they are the best of them!
I think that between the others, my favorite was Monsieur Chenevert. He is one of the new characters, he was fun, and I hope to see more of him in the next book because I have high hope!
I have to say that Marce was the character who disappointed me the most. It is not that he is bad, but he fell flat. And his relationship with the Emperox is the weakest point of all the book. I mean, I like it and I ship them, too, because they are sweet and awkward and are a cute couple but… it seems like something put there because a love story, of any sort, would have added something to the book. But in truth, it is not so.
All thing considered, this is not a big thing, and it didn’t diminish my pleasure during the reading, because there is so much going on, and we can enjoy the company of such great characters that really is a minor thing.
We have also some scheming, plot and some twist. And we have a really good twist, the main one, that was just amazing. It is also the part in which the title is explained and it was great. Simply great.
It is true that not all the scheming and intrigues are unpredictable, but they keep the story flowing. We have some interesting new addition to the scientific and historical discoveries, we learn more about the past, as I was saying before, and in doing so new questions arise. And we learn something more about the future, or the possibilities of it, since the Flow is collapsing and their world is fast approaching its end. But the pace is never slow, and the interest for the story never quiver while reading.
And with the great characters and the entertaining plots, we should not forget the humor and the wit of the author, that makes this book entertaining and fun. A hell of a ride in the space and in the politics of an Empire.
What more can I say? I hope to read the last book really soon because I need to know what would happen next! And what about you? Did you read this series? Or other books by this author? Let me know!!