Queen of Nowhere Paperback – 12 Sep 2013
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"Fenn has a way with characters that makes them utterly believable, both flawed and fortunate. This strong series should appeal to readers of Sharon Shinn's 'Samaria' novels and fans of far future SF." "Library Journal" on "Guardians of Paradise""
When paranoia is a way of life, trust doesn't come easily. This is a compelling space opera from 'a star in the making'.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
That said, if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading the Hidden Empire series, then don’t be afraid to jump aboard. While there is a considerable backstory, and you would clearly benefit from reading the other four excellent books, Fenn’s writing is too slick and accomplished to leave her readers flailing around in confusion. I also enjoyed the fact that despite the epic nature of the story, which spans a number of worlds light years apart, Fenn manages to mostly keep the focus trained on a small handful of characters, thus raising the stakes for the reader.
And the stakes are high, because like a growing number of speculative fiction authors, Fenn isn’t afraid to kill off major characters. I stayed up reading far later than I’d intended to discover what happened next. And yes, there are some big surprises along the way – and not all of them are happy ones. Did I see the finale coming? No, but I wasn’t overly surprised when it did. And I’m really looking forward to seeing where this interesting series is going to go next – because, being Fenn, this could go anywhere.
I generally don’t like coming in in the middle of a series, and this is book five of Jaine Fenn’s ‘Hidden Empire’ series, so I contacted the author and was assured that ‘Queen of Nowhere’ was a stand-alone novel within the series.
Bez is a somewhat paranoid character, but then she has reasons to be. She’s fighting a secret war against a malign alien influence that was thought to have been long dead. Humankind had suffered the oppression of the Sidhe for millennia, but they were finally defeated a thousand years ago. Now few people believe they are still around, but they are. They can look like us, and they have agents placed in key positions all through human ruled space.
Bez, a supremely talented hacker, works alone. She has agents who supply her with intel, but these agents don’t know who she is, or even exactly what cause they’re working for. None of them even know Bez’ real name, as she has created dozens of aliases, fully realised identities, with their own backgrounds. She is the classic underground spy, working without any government backup, breaking laws to survive.
This is how Bez likes it. Her life is dangerous, but as long as she is careful, she might just survive long enough to see the Sidhe influence eradicated completely.
Then things start to go out of control. The only person she has ever trusted with her real identity and the details of her mission may not be trustworthy after all. And who is this person, who reveals himself to be not only aware of who she is and what she’s doing, but claims to have been helping her in the background all along?
While it certainly worked as a stand-alone story, it definitely made me want to pick up the previous four volumes to fill in more details of the background. If I force myself to be critical, I would say that it gets a little slow in the middle, but that genuinely is me trying my best to pick fault with a very enjoyable book.
Queen of Nowhere is the fifth novel in the Hidden Empire sequence. This sequence is interesting because it tries to be a fairly tightly-serialised space opera whilst trying to make each book a stand-alone, with the focus moving between different groups of characters. Queen of Nowhere brings Bez, a fairly minor character in the earlier books, into sharp relief (Jarek, Taro and Nual, our 'regular' protagonists, are relegated to bit-players in Bez's story). Compared to the frequent point of view changes and shifting between planets of the previous volume, Bringer of Light, Queen of Nowhere benefits from a tight focus on Bez and her storyline.
That said, Queen of Nowhere also depicts events on a fairly large scale, some of them happening many light-years from where Bez is. The book's structure intercuts between Bez and brief scenes on other planets as members of Bez's network get ready for the decisive moment of action and their enemies try to protect themselves. It's an efficient structure which helps get across a big story in a modest page count.
Fenn's biggest weakness - her fairly prosaic, indifferent prose style - has been addressed, with more colour and strangeness in her descriptions. A visit to a planet with both segregation of the genders but also a relaxed attitude to sex is fairly vividly described.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have really enjoyed Jaine Fenn's previous books in this series but am finding this really slow and boring, it does not seem to be going anywhere and I am 2/3rds of the way... Read morePublished on 18 Aug. 2013 by Lendrak
This book only adds to my enjoyment of good sci-fi writing, keep up the good work, Look forward to reading more.Published on 6 Aug. 2013 by mahabibi