book review, indiecember, science fiction

The Final Wars Rage by S A Asthana

In the second book of the trilogy, the action is centered on the moon city state of Nippon One, the emperor who rules it, and his three sons.

Set two weeks after the end of The Final Wars Begin, the ruling family of Nippon One are at odds in what action to take against Port Sydney, after the martian‘s aggressive action towards the Earth colony of New Paris.

Port Sydney is also in turmoil; the ruling quantum computer, the High Council, is expressing more extreme demands, and General Crone’s sanity is cracking under the guilt of his actions, and the web of deceit he has woven.

On Nippon One, Bastien Lyons, New Parisein orphan, disgraced Martian military Lieutenant General and believed dead, has embraced despair and his monsterous new life as Viktor. However the events he set in action in the first book are rolling towards disaster with increasing speed, and there is no escape from the ties of Earth and Mars for Bastien.

The second book in a trilogy is a difficult beast. It doesn’t have the excitement and novelty of a first book, and it must set up action to carry through to a third book, but without providing conclusions to most of those threads.

Unfortunately, The Final Wars Rage suffers from this malady. The chess game of the three colonies is front and centre, and while the machinations of the various players is both fascinating and infuriating to read about, there is a sense of dissatisfaction as we must wait until the final book to witness the checkmate.

What it means to be human is a theme that is explored more deeply than in the first book. From the artificial intelligences and engineered humans of Port Sydney, to the transhumans and cyborgs of Nippon One, what it means to be human in the twenty third century, and who exactly should survive, are important themes.

Where this book falls down slightly in comparison to The Final Wars Begin is the delicate balance between the huge humanity wide story and the personal story of the individual. This was handled expertly in the first book, however the second book keeps a greater distance from its characters, and I struggled to engage with them. The characters are well written and realistic, and Bastien’s character arc is strong as he loses himself in darkness, but I didn’t develop as strong an emotional connection with them as I did in the first book.

I award The Final Wars Rage

The Final Wars Rage is available for $3.95 ebook and $12.99 print book on Amazon.

Read my review of The Final Wars Begin.

This book completed my 0-9 reviews square of the Indiecember Reading Challenge.

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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