Endless Blue by Wen Spencer is a rolicking good adventure. The characters, even the minor ones, wrap their fingers around your heart and squeeze. I read it in less than a day, nearly in one sitting. The book enveloped me in it's comprehensive world. Afterwards, I walked around in a daze, shocked to be back in my mundane, comfortable mid-west home.
Once recovered, I read it again, slowly, to savor it and to shake out all the jewels: the imagery, the subtle foreshadowing, the metaphors, the life-relevant themes... One can connect the dots on many different layers. It is truly a story about life, the universe and everything.
Each one of us has to make big decisions based on scant and conflicting data: How do I care for my aging mother? Should I change jobs? Should I marry this guy, or buy that car? WHO do I vote for?
How do we decide? How do we choose?
In this delicious story, Mikhail, Paige, Turk, Hardin, the Nefrim and assorted colorful lesser characters face many quandries. They each have their own variations on decision techniques sprouting from their own strengths, predispositions and flaws. To start with:
In the first chapter we learn that the Nefrim are waging an unprovoked, illogical war against humans. None of their actions make sense. Spaceships disappear. The human alliance is confounded, and losing.
Part of a vanished ship reappears, raising countless questions and answering none. The only clear information is that it contains a familiar, but unregistered "weapon". Are the Nefrim responsible? Are they trying to mass-produce these viable, useful things?
Mikhail is asked to gather his crew and jump into oblivion to find more facts. Faced with scant, conflicting information, the only thing he can sense for sure is a shade of greed lingering over the request.
How does he decide? The stakes are high. If he does nothing, the Nefrim may win. If he goes, he and his crew may disappear, accomplishing nothing for their sacrifice. If he succeeds, he may save the universe. He hedges his bet against the potential greed and jumps.
One choice blossoms into a multitude of life or death challenges and opportunities.
The external conflicts/decisions drive the captivating plot of this book. The beauty of the story sprouts from the internal conflicts. The stakes of each choice, big or small, are deftly woven into the story, and transmute as the characters grow and interact. Each decision alters the players' lives and souls.
In the end, the biggest decisions require the greatest leaps of faith.
Get this book. Read it twice. Once for fun, once to contemplate life and to grow.