Series: The Interdependency #2
Published by Tor on October 16, 2018
Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy
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The Interdependency, humanity's interstellar empire, is on the verge of collapse. The Flow, the extra-dimensional conduit that makes travel between the stars possible, is disappearing, leaving entire star systems stranded. When it goes, human civilization may go with it--unless desperate measures can be taken.
Emperox Grayland II, the leader of the Interdependency, is ready to take those measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But nothing is ever that easy. Arrayed before her are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth--or at the very least, an opportunity that can allow them to ascend to power.
While Grayland prepares for disaster, others are preparing for a civil war, a war that will take place in the halls of power, the markets of business and the altars of worship as much as it will take place between spaceships and battlefields. The Emperox and her allies are smart and resourceful, but then so are her enemies. Nothing about this power struggle will be simple or easy... and all of humanity will be caught in its widening gyre.
The inferno started in The Collapsing Empire continues to build in The Consuming Fire. An emperox and her trusted few must find a way to save as many as possible in this second of tightly connected stories in the Interdependency trilogy.
The background, characters, and world-building were introduced in the first book so The Consuming Fire can pick up where the other left off. It actually took a step back and gave a history lesson of the empire. Never fear, it is neither dull nor unnecessary. Scalzi shows how it all ties in with what is going on now.
The book paces well and offer a variety of introspection, set up, and action scenes which jump between a handful of narrators including the plotting villains. Political intrigue was the name of the game in The Collapsing Empire andit remains the case in this book. Grayland might have survived one assassination attempt, but now she is surrounded by people who are setting up a coup and others who want to give assassination another go. Meanwhile, she must get people united and ready to give up their whole way of life to survive and she only has a few allies she can trust. Where I thought she was in way over her head in book one, she really came into her own in this story showing she was a woman to be reckoned with and fit her role as emperox.
I loved the feisty, foul-mouthed Kiva Lagos in the last book and was tickled she was right back in the thick of things. Kiva kicked butt and took names as usual.
Marce is back in his research role and it is Marce who gets a great side exploration adventure to get more answers about the Flow and he uncovers a series of surprises that pretty much change the game. And, if you noted there might have been a little spark between him and a certain emperox? You were not mistaken and it grew into something more.
The Consuming Fire wrapped up some of the conflict that built in the book and cleared the decks for the big finale in the third book, The Last Emprox. It ends with some threads left dangling, but kindly wasn’t left as a cliffhanger. I can’t wait to see what comes of the new things they learned from Marce’s space journey and the big confrontation that will happen on End.
Those who enjoy a futuristic space adventure laced with political intrigue and wry humor should definitely give this series a look see.
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