Down Among the Dead proves K. B. Wagers’ brilliance as a writer. This was never a doubt in my mind. It’s been a year since I read the first book in The Farian War series and from page one of this second addition to the trilogy, I felt like I was right back in the action, remembering every character, feeling the pain of the conclusion and hoping to see the tough-as-nails protagonist get back to her on her feet. Down Among the Dead goes beyond a typical science fiction space opera to delve into the grief of losing loved ones, the fear of never again returning home, and the responsibility one has to keep evil from overcoming good.
I’m floored at Wagers’ ability to keep a universe and main character interesting after a fifth outing. I haven’t read the first series and that has never been a problem. Details of the past are perfectly sprinkled throughout, giving you an overview of the previous series’ actions while still presenting something new. Hail Bristol is a wonderful protagonist and, with each page, she becomes more layered. This is definitely not a light read, and that’s how it should be. We left her in a dark place and seeing her grow to fulfill her ultimate purpose is inspiring. I loved watching that growth arc and can’t wait to see where Wagers takes us next.
Overall, Down Among the Dead (and the series as a whole) must be read, if only as a masterwork on how to successfully engage in multi-faceted worldbuilding while still presenting well-developed characters. The writing is wonderful and I’m thrilled I was able to experience this second chapter. I can assure you it’ll be a 2020 New Year’s resolution to dive into Wagers’ first trilogy.
Down Among the Dead
Book 2 of The Farian War Trilogy
By K. B. Wagers
Published by Orbit Books
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.