The Dark Between the Stars (SAGA OF SHADOWS) Paperback – 5 Jun 2014
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About the Author
Kevin J. Anderson has over 20 million books in print in 30 languages worldwide. He is the author of, among others, the X-FILES novels, GROUND ZERO and the JEDI ACADEMY trilogy of STAR WARS novels - the three bestselling SF novels of 1994. He has also co-written the international bestselling prequels to Frank Herbert's monumental DUNE series. He has won, or been nominated for, many awards including the Nebula Award and the Bram Stoker Award. Visit his website www.wordfire.com
Top customer reviews
It promises a grand saga, and seems to be setting something up, but the chapters are simply too short (or at least, too little happens in them?) for me to be able to maintain a handle on the characters and their motivations. I don't have any emotional investment in any character beyond the first two introduced, and the book just keeps introducing more; I'm not even sure if the new characters relate to the existing ones -- maybe I've just lost track of their names?
Perhaps my piecemeal reading style, reading typically for 10-15 minutes at a time is harmful to my appreciation of this work, but I feel like I'd need a notebook to draw relationship diagrams even if I sat down and read for a few hours.
‘Dark’ is book one of a new saga set in the Spiral Arm, a science fiction universe shattered by war and looking to rebuild relationships. The disparate groups are starting to rebuild alliances, but old fears are hard to quell and a new threat is on the horizon. Follow space travellers, scientists, entrepreneurs, royalty and many others as they tell their own story and that of ‘The Saga of the Shadows’.
I am all for a science fiction universe to be rich in content and vivid in scope, but there is detail and there is extraneous detail. Anderson is a stalwart of the science fiction genre, but he often works within the confines of already established universes e.g. ‘Dune’, ‘The X Files’. Here he is given open reign to create something from scratch and it feels like he has taken all the ideas he had as a frustrated tie in novelist and crammed them into one story.
Ambition should not be discouraged, but it should be handled carefully. ‘Dark’ is a massive book and in turn a very long audio book. Each chapter starts with a different characters name and the following 20 minutes or so tells their story. As Anderson develops the universe further he introduces more and more characters, getting up to about twenty individuals. Many of these individuals do not interact at all; therefore you are getting several story arcs that are yet to interlock. This is all very ‘Game of Thrones’, but whilst that series keeps the pace up, ‘Dark’ lags on occasion and you find yourself stuck with an uninteresting character and you just want to go back to the few that do excite.
There is a lot of detail and prose in ‘Dark’ so it is going to be a challenge for anyone given the task of narrating all 600+ pages. Thankfully, Mark Boyett is more than up to the task. Some of his more bland narration is as much down to Anderson’s writing style as it is Boyett’s ability. When he is asked to narrate as over twenty different people he is able to make characters distinct from one another to bring the story to life (and this is sorely needed at times).
There is a lot of book for your money with ‘Dark’ and any pleasure you glean from it will be determined by your love of the Space Opera/Saga genre. If you are a fan there is certainly enough going on here to interest you and plenty of detail. However, non-fans will grow tired with the overly complex universe building and abundance of characters. There are classic Space Operas out there that would be a far better place to enter the genre with; Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ (as mentioned earlier) is a prime example.
Nonetheless, its a joy to read, a rollicking space yarn is the best description I can think of.
But be warned, this is fantasy, not sci fi. All the plot resolutions are simply based on magic. It actually kind of reminded me of Stargate (a fun TV show in its own way), in that at a certain point all pretence of consistency goes out the window and the plot lines are tied up with magic interventions of higher powers. It's "...and then the priest realised he could cure the plague", "...and then the magical energy creatures showed up and defeated the bad robots". I'm barely paraphrasing.
I have not the faintest idea how this scored a hugo nomination.
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Most recent customer reviews
I forced myself through the first third before giving up. From a hard SF perspective, it's nonsense, and his characters are more wooden than Tom Clancy ever...Read more
I'll persevere with the series, you never know, cheers.