Ashes of Candesce by Karl Schroeder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I find myself enjoying this novel quite a bit more than the others, although none of them were bad. Lots of adventure and worldbuilding, with that neat combo of hard SF and steampunk, with the unique actual World Building of Virga taking front stage.
What really stood out for me was the inclusion of all the main characters from the first four books, each getting a great deal of limelight, plus a new character that really puts the context of the outside universe into Virga, itself.
I think I got the most enjoyment out of this one precisely for the trips-to-the-underworld grand philosophy, for the explorations of the nature of immortality, memory, grounding versus virtual, and the fine lines a lot of it can take.
For me, this is the epitome of science fiction. Swashbuckling, booms, and immortal nanotech constructs are just frosting on the cake.
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