Chaos Space by Marianne de Pierres
Book Two of The Sentients of Orion series
Published by Orbit
395 pages and extras
Review by Mark Yon
This second book in the Sentients of Orion series steps the pace up a notch from the first (Dark Space), although the pace of the first was quite rapid.
Here the panorama broadens. Mira Fedor, our heroine of the previous novel, has managed to leave the beleaguered planet of Araldis, in search of allies to help assist the resistance movement there against the Saqr oppressors. Tekton’s Machiavellian moves seem to be developing a-pace as we are involved in political maneuvering across the League.
Behind all of these events, the Sole Entity continues its enigmatic omnipresence, manipulating and all-knowing… heading towards the third book in the series.
The broader canvas here shows an increasingly complex and engaging universe. Marianne has widened her fairly focused perspective of the first novel to get to grips here with broader political and social issues across the Orion League.
Having set up the characters in the first novel, here the emphasis is upon the plot rather than characterization. We do find some intriguing aspects of the Orion League, its members and history as backstory. There’s a nice sense of Iain M Banks and Peter F Hamilton here, something that I’m fairly sure is intentional. The political machinations reminded me a little of CJ Cherryh’s work. However the strength here is the way that Marianne tells her tale without becoming bogged down by the myriad background details.
Most pleasingly, the sense of wonder expected (or at least expected by me after Book 1!) does not disappoint and leaves the reader anticipating the next book in the series.
Mark Yon, February 2009