Fall of Angels by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I may be an unpopular reviewer here, but considering when this came out and the kind of style it has, I'm reminded of the huge slew of resource-gathering civilization-building games, including Civilization, itself. Or if we're talking about modern literature, I'd point to the LitRPG novels that are taking the writing world by storm.
The fact is, this timeline-early novel of the world surrounding Recluse is, in fact, a Tower Defense game.
Start with some high-tech that breaks down, protect yourselves on a hill, get enough resources and infrastructure building to survive, and hold out until all your enemies give up. This magical world of Recluse was also built on a foundation of high-technology, and these Angels were survivors of a war and of a universe-hopping jump. Unfortunately, previous settlers from the opposite faction had already settled here.
It might seem a bit simple, but at least to me, it's endlessly diverting. I fell in love with the characters and the subtext was complicated and heartbreaking. What else could it be? It's a clear depiction of three camps in the battle of the sexes. The ship survivors are mostly female. A surviving male engineer is a good man and an egalitarian man who is used and used until there is hardly anything left of him. The women are forced to become warriors. Their enemies in all the surrounding lands want to destroy them because all their abused women are finally seeing hope and escaping to this besieged community. The patriarchy, obviously. But we also see the rise of matriarchy and it is NOT as idealistic as any might hope. The understory, the pull and push of this angle is actually quite cogent and hard because there are no obvious winners... just a ton of losers.
And yet, legends are born, heroes are made, and this particular book is something of a fantastic old, old history lesson in the series.
And it is just about here in my reading that I'm wondering if I chose correctly in reading these in publication order or whether I ought to have read them in chronological order.
I suppose I could always do another read after I've caught up with all 20 (currently) books. :)
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