Fleet of Knives is brimming with everything that makes a space opera epic—fast-paced chases through space, unseen enemies bursting from the pages unexpectedly, deep characters who struggle with their high-stakes lives, and a galaxy-scale setting. All together, it makes for an exciting, no-holds-barred ride through space.
Powell has continued the brilliance in this second addition to the Embers of War series, bringing us back to the characters we’ve come to know. There are deep histories with everyone involved, filled with tragedy and past losses that must be coped with on a daily basis. It’s so easy to connect with the characters. These crews are each other’s families and that camaraderie creates a meaningful connection for readers.
The use of several perspectives gives the story a well-rounded feel that keeps the action going page after page. We see a crew lost in the fold, barely holding on aboard a planet-sized ship. We see our trusty captain and the Trouble Dog continuing their mission to save lives, while also dealing with the loses from the first book. Most interesting is the inclusion of the always conflicting villain and her commitment to doing the wrong thing that’s tinged with a smidgen of right. It’s fascinating to see a villain that isn’t super villainous, one who makes horrifying decisions but feels them deep down and is convinced she’s actually saving the universe from destruction.
I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say the fancy fleet of marble ships isn’t what it seemed. All hell breaks loose pretty early on, thanks to our favorite telepathic grizzly bear. You’ll be shocked and itching to know how it ends.
Overall, Powell’s epic space opera series is one of the best of its kind. There are loads of drama, space chases, and characters we can connect with on an emotional level. Fleet of Knives is a story you won’t be able to put down.
On a final spoiler note…
Most importantly (to me, at least), there’s a glimmer of hope for the sentient trees of Pelapatarn. One survived! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about an entire planet of sentient trees dying in a war. The tragedy is still strong, but there might be a future for the trees!
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
Fleet of Knives
By Gareth L. Powell
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