The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Scalzi continues to kick butt in the second book of The Interdependency. I’m used to the second book of a planned trilogy to be all setup for the third book which can mostly be climax. Yet, within this book Scalzi continues to have mini-climaxes and story beats and surprises.
The story continues to be a sort of updated Dune/Game of Thrones type story with multiple families vying for control of the Emperox. Some of them want to manipulate her and others want to unseat the Wu family from their position at the top. There’s also what seems to be a throwaway line involving some simulated folks that isn’t paid off in this novel, so I assume it’s going to turn out to be a huge plot point in book three. The big difference is that Emperox Cardenia is coming into her own rather than being sideswiped by the events and deaths in book 1.
All the characters continue to be a blast to read, especially Kiva. I’m sad that it seems there’s a lot less of her, but I think that makes sense given the shift in the center of the gravity of the story. Warning – if you’re SOMEHOW or for some reason reading this review before having read The Interdependency 1 – this book is not for the prude of mind. Especially the Kiva chapters. If that doesn’t bother you, you’ll probably have a lot of fun.
I’m reading this series because I’m a voting member of this year’s WorldCon (Discon 3) and after the first book, I was leaning strongly towards Murderbot winning the series award. Now, after this one, it’s neck and neck. That’s my way of saying that while I loved the world-building of the first book (and I am a huge world-building geek), it dragged the story a bit. Now that we have the world in place, Scalzi can put the pedal to the metal and really push the story. I liked this one better than the last one. The battle continues as I move on to Network Effect before coming back to The Last Emperox and finish out both those series. (Then I’ve got a couple more series to read before I make my final decision for the category)
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