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Friday, September 27, 2019

Review: Shadow Captain

Shadow Captain is Alastair Reynold's middle book in the trilogy that started with Revenger. Revenger was very much a pirate story set in space, and Shadow Captain has the unenviable job of fulfilling both the pirate story part, as well as changing it from a typical space opera into more science fiction. It succeeds in the former, but fails in the latter, as the author decided to hold back more exposition in favor of having a 3rd book in a trilogy.

The start of the story is slow, though it makes sense. We get a nice picture of the Ness sisters spiraling into the life they'd hoped to leave behind, as they're pursued by the law and have to make questionable decisions. They each have been corrupted by the events in the previous book, and have to reconcile their decisions with their image of who they are.

The book picks up in the last 3rd, and there's plenty of action and the conceits of the science fiction setting finally kicks in --- we get the impression that the cycle of civilizations has a longer arc and is more malleable than we thought as the book goes on. I'll pick up the next book in the series: even mediocre Reynolds is still more interesting than most other people's fiction. Recommended.

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