Series: The Frontiers Saga #5
Released: October 12, 2012
A time to recover…
A chance to make a new ally…
A brief respite to repair and rearm…
An opportunity for a people to regain their honor…
For every civilization there comes a moment when a stand must be made against tyranny.
The time has come for the Alliance to draw a line in the sand.
Finally! The Frontier Saga books haven’t been bad up until this point, but I must admit that I’ve been waiting for some reassurance as to whether they’re good enough to justify the amount of time that it will take to read the number of books this series already comprises of, never mind the number of books that will eventually be released.
With this book I started properly understanding what this series might become, and my occasional doubts have turned into an excited curiosity about what will be done with this series going forward.
It’s almost a little unfortunate that I read The Expanse as recently as I did, and that the work of art that was the latest book in the Expanse Series is still fresh in my memory. It’s impossible not to draw comparisons between the two works. However, it’s an unfair comparison: The Expanse is a heavier, more elaborate, deeper story, while these books, so far, aren’t that – they’re something different. In the same way that a three minute upbeat song by The Beatles can be brilliant while a twenty minute long piece by Pink Floyd can also be brilliant, in a completely different way, these books need to be and should be appreciated for what they themselves are. I’m starting to worry that I haven’t quite afforded that fairness to the previous books in the series, and maybe I still have some way to go. After reading this book I’m thinking that I’m getting there, the books are getting there, or both.
In this installment of the saga everything starts coming together a bit for me. Not the overall story or the universe, but the characters. For better or for worse this book is relatively economical with details. Where the book could easily have spent five pages elaborating on everything from the expressions, thoughts and opinions of characters, details of the surroundings, and other world-painting devices, this book for the most part doesn’t. We follow the main plot, and the branches that are directly relevant to it. The reader has to extrapolate the rest from there. While this has made for some pleasing action-packed books, it’s much harder to care about the action when one hasn’t been given the opportunity to start caring about the characters first. In this book that hasn’t changed, but by this point I have seen enough of the main characters that they’ve gone from being a slightly caricatured cast in a play, to being actual people who are involved in a series of events. Only now am I starting to appreciate the number of books that will follow this one, and the fact that I’ll be given the opportunity to know this world, and these characters, better with each one of them.
No, this book isn’t mind blowing, but it’s a very good step in the direction of the Frontier Saga being a series of books that I might soon go around recommending to everyone. I’m not quite there yet, but at this point I think I’ll be more surprised if I don’t get there than I’d be if I did.