9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Action-packed and full of surprises,
This review is from: Deathstalker War (Owen Deathstalker) (Mass Market Paperback)
The seeds of rebellion have been sown, and now - in the third volume chronicling the life and times of Owen Deathstalker - the war finally begins. Deathstalker War is the strongest book in the series thus far, mixing in incredible action and excitement, shocking secrets and betrayals, human drama of the deepest kind, and some completely unexpected subplots. This is just good, old-fashioned space opera. As in the previous two books, Green does let elements of redundancy slip in from time to time, and the big finish is stretched out so much as to be a tad farcical, but this is still a gripping, wonderfully entertaining read.
Before the rebels actually go to war themselves, the war comes to them. On the home world of Golgotha, Empress Lionstone XIV is ravenously eager to put a stop to all the rebel foolishness and make plenty of examples of those who would defy her. Both sides know that four planets will basically determine the victor - Mistworld, refuge of bounty hunters and those who have fallen out of imperial favor , safe haven of espers and clones, and rebel stronghold; Shannon's World, once the ultimate pleasure world but now wrapped in mystery and known as Haceldama, the Field of Blood; Virimonde, an agricultural planet where the Deathstalker (now Owen's nephew) is lord; and of course Golgotha, seat of the imperial government.
The war begins on Mistworld, where Owen Deathstalker, Hazel D'Ark, and a young version of legendary rebel Jack Random, have gone to win the support of the Mistport Council. Aided by a fiendishly dangerous secret weapon called Legion, Empire forces manage to land in force on the planet without detection. The result is war at its ugliest, as Mistworld fights against overwhelming odds for its very survival. They forevermore have a war on this planet, going at it hand-to-hand in the streets, while blood flows in the gutters and men have to climb over dead bodies to advance from one enemy to the next. Then the scene shifts to Shannon's World, where Finlay Campbell, Evangeline Shreck, Giles Deathstalker (the original Deathstalker, who has emerged from 943 years in stasis), and the esper Julian Skye seek to penetrate the mystery that has swallowed up all the imperial soldiers sent to penetrate its silent depths and - most importantly - "rescue" a brilliant imperial tactician who crashed there some time earlier. After the bloody free-for-all of Mistworld's war, the adventure on Shannon's World could not have come as more of a surprise. I won't even dare describe it here - except to say that Green is a remarkably brave author. What initially seems unbelievably silly ends up being the most emotionally compelling section of the book.
Owen's nephew David, accompanied by his friend Kid Death, has set up shop on Virimonde, the planet Owen escaped from when he was outlawed by the Empress. The two young friends ignore their rebel commitments and basically just go about having all the fun they can possibly have on this peaceful, agriculturally rich planet. Then comes news that Lionstone XIV intends to mechanize the entire planet and make an example of the peasants who have been - with the implicit approval of David - flirting with democratic government. It is here on Virimonde that the true madness of the Empress is made clear to all - thanks in no small part to a seemingly omnipresent journalist and cameraman who manage to beam the awful pictures of the bloodbath back to the home world.
All of the principle characters converge on Golgotha in the end, hacking and slashing their way to the Imperial Throne itself. There's a lot of riveting military action, and Green throws in some rather shocking surprises to make things really interesting. The ultimate showdown, unfortunately, is drawn out far too long and becomes something of a farce in terms of its execution, but it was still compelling enough to keep me up into the wee hours of the morning determined to see how everything came out.
Deathstalker War sets the stage for a transition in the series. Everything up to now has led up to the war, and it will be very interesting to see what happens next and how the rebel leaders (whom we readers have already spent over 1500 pages with) will change. I was just a tad down on the Deathstalker series after reading Deathstalker Rebellion, but Deathstalker War has truly recaptured my imagination and fueled my interest anew. This is easily the best of the first three volumes in the Deathstalker series.