Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
At first, I felt like this was going to be a single-track MilSF with big spaceships and disgruntled warriors, but soon I was very happy to discover multidimensional characters representing a much wider kind of cast than I usually see in these types of novels. Poetry, spies, sentient ships, (reminding me a lot of Leckie), and of course, disgruntled grunts fill these pages.
But do you know what I like the most about this? The ability to escape the world of war into a hard life of altruism, a-la the code of the sea that always helps those who are lost.
How this diverse and interestingly ethical cast of characters come together is a wonderfully plotted and subtly deep universe with great worldbuilding. It's light compared to some Space-Opera but much better than most. I'm reminded of the pacing of Becky Chambers with the very solid military aspects of Marko Kloos.
I can honestly say I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Some bits fell into the old Opera groves, but I more than appreciated all the actual divergences. The only complaint I might entertain is the role of the BDO (Big Dumb Objects).
The characters and the idealism within this torturous path of the tale more than made up for that. I should stress that this is rather better than the average Space-Opera, even if it doesn't go all out with the coolness.
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