In the almost two centuries since the discovery of the first inter-universal portal, Arcana has explored scores of other worlds . . . all of them duplicates of their own. Multiple Earths, virgin planets with a twist, because the “explorers” already know where to find all of their vast, untapped natural resources. Worlds beyond worlds, effectively infinite living space and mineral wealth.
And in all that time, they have never encountered another intelligent species. No cities, no vast empires, no civilizations and no equivalent of their own dragons, gryphons, spells, and wizards.
But all of that is about to change. It seems there is intelligent life elsewhere in the multiverse. Other human intelligent life, with terrifying new weapons and powers of the mind . . . and wizards who go by the strange title of “scientist.”
I wanted to like this book so very very much! It’s a great premise, and sounded like something that I’d particularly enjoy… but reading it felt like slogging uphill through liquid clay. I don’t know why, but it’s just not for me. So, I give up, and I’m counting it as officially abandoned / Did Not Finish!
That was fun – I hadn’t read this one before, so it was good to get some fresh material in between re-reading the first few books of the series. Resolute (KL #4) does fill you in on the essentials enough that it doesn’t matter if you have missed this, but I did like learning the extra details, and especially getting that look inside Jack’s head.
This might sound a bit odd considering the subject matter, but one of my favourite things about this book was the feeling of realism. Yes, I know. But after all, that’s what makes the best sci-fi: that it could just be plausible. More than anything else, though, it was the characters who sold it for me.
Bryn is an excellent heroine, competent and mentally tough, but not unbelievably so, and despite her army training she isn’t a kick-ass superwoman who can take down any physically stronger opponent. Yes, she’s had hand-to-hand training and knows how to use a gun, but she’s as human (hah) as the rest of us and her reactions aren’t faster than a speeding bullet. She’s a dab hand at logistics from the sounds of it, and can think on her feet, but she’s an ordinary girl thrust into extraordinary circumstances. It’s how she then deals with that that makes her awesome.
The villain is nicely creepy (and I never was quite sure if he or the other boogeyman was responsible for a couple of things that happened to Bryn – could have gone either way) and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book with all the competing elements.