Book Review: Revenger (Alastair Reynolds)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Gollancz

Pages: 432

Release Date: September 15th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

The galaxy has seen great empires rise and fall. Planets have shattered and been remade. Amongst the ruins of alien civilizations, building our own from the rubble, humanity still thrives.

And there are vast fortunes to be made, if you know where to find them.

Captain Rackamore and his crew do. It’s their business to find the tiny, enigmatic worlds which have been hidden away, booby-trapped, surrounded by layers of protection–and to crack them open for the ancient relics and barely-remembered technologies inside. But while they ply their risky trade with integrity, not everyone is so scrupulous.

Adrana and Fura Ness are the newest members of Rackamore’s crew, signed on to save their family from bankruptcy. Only Rackamore has enemies, and there might be more waiting for them in space than adventure and fortune: the fabled and feared Bosa Sennen in particular.

Revenger is a science fiction adventure story set in the rubble of our solar system in the dark, distant future–a tale of space pirates, buried treasure, and phantom weapons, of unspeakable hazards and single-minded heroism and of vengeance…

Review:

I’ve been struggling with reading a bit the last few weeks so this took me longer to get into than usual, and I wasn’t sure about it at first. I’ve decided to put that down to personal struggles rather than the fault of the book, because towards the end I was hooked and raced to the finish.

Fura and her sister Adrana sign on to work as Bone Readers on a ship crewed by Captain Rackamore. They want to work to save their family from bankruptcy but space has other plans for them: Baubles, prickly ship mates and the infamous Bosa Sennen.

I loved that this book was about sisters rather than romance. I’m so sick of unrelateable romance stories. As someone with three sisters, this is the kind of relationship I want to read about, and I’m sure I can’t be the only one.

I struggled to get into the story at first and I think part of it was the language. The crew use slang words that it took me a while to get used to. While this all helped with the world building and the space setting, sometimes I just wasn’t sure what they were talking about, and it wasn’t until quite far into the book that I really felt I understood it all. It also moved very quickly from ships to land to ship, introducing lots of new characters with complicated names and then abandoning half of them for various reasons (no spoilers!) It made it hard to keep up sometimes.

Our narrator, Fura, undergoes a huge change over the course of the book, as characters often do, but I felt hers leapt suddenly without warning: one moment she was a naive girl with no idea what she was doing aboard a ship, and the next she was this hardened space veteran, and I felt the change was too sudden for me. On the other hand, it’s good to see events affecting a character, as it does irk me when they go through terrible things and act like nothing has happened.

I was intrigued by the mystery of the quoins and aliens looking after the banks, but have to say I was disappointed by the revelation: although it helped explain a certain characters motivation, the whole thing seemed rushed and just didn’t have much of an impact on me.

My favourite thing about the book was definitely the villain. Bosa Sennen is one creepy villain with a mysterious history that causes one character to kill himself at the sight of her. I’d love to read more of her space adventures as her back story really intrigued me.

Despite some difficulties getting into the book, I really enjoyed it overall and it’s made me want to read more sci-fi/re-watch Battlestar Galactica (again!)

4

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