June 6th, 2008, 07:19 AM
Saga of Seven suns
Has anyone read this and how do you rate it?
I have loved it so far, very much looking forward to the last book. I think Kevin J. Anderson handless his huge amount of characters very well across all 6 books. After reading quite a lot of Hard sci-fi, its nice to have a book that doesn't focus on the tech so heavily. It's been more like a TV series with small story arcs occurring in amongst the main story and some fantastic characters, I have never found it hard going at any point. Great character driven sci-fi.
June 6th, 2008, 08:20 AM
Personally I gave up after book 4; I fast read through book 5 and 6 to see what happens and I will do the same with book 7 . About 15 minutes in a bookstore will do. Just too much of the same . It would have made a great trilogy, but 7 volumes is way too much...
Originally Posted by Muskdog
June 6th, 2008, 09:53 AM
Everyone has their own preferences in reading. I loved the first 6 books of the series, and eagerly await the 7th and last. Has there been letdown in the later books, perhaps yes, but minimally in my opinion. But, in all honesty what long series doesn't have one or two areas that seem to lag, it must have been very difficult to write essentially one very long story and keep everything coordinated and interesting. I look on that series as the one totally connected scifi (opera-type to some extent) epic published in recent years, that I have enjoyed. Several smaller trilogies were great, but not this length.
June 6th, 2008, 11:42 AM
I like to rock the party
I've never heard of this series, what's it about?
June 6th, 2008, 12:16 PM
I would not like to give away much of the plot, but it is a series, all interconnected, so not just individual novels set in the same 'universe'. The whole story is told in 7 books. The whole gist of the story is that mankind uses a 'found' technology to convert gas giants to stars, and as such destroys one planet of an advanced species of beings who live there. There are multiple species throughout the galaxy, and this embroils all in a galaxy-wide war. There is good character development, good plotting (all seems to be consistent so far), mostly space battles, and some innovative ideas. I have been very pleased so far.
June 6th, 2008, 02:48 PM
One thing I found annoying was due to the amount of characters and stuff going on in the book, you had to wait ages to get back the resolution/follow on of a cliffhanger chapter end. I am quite impatient.
June 6th, 2008, 02:59 PM
I agree, and that is why I really don't like the books where the action is interrupted chapter-wise to skip to the next scene/character, as much as I like the ones where the story just continues. But almost all books seem to be written in that fashion, I guess it conveys the feeling that one has to continue reading, and reading, and reading to get to some ending point. I have gotten used to it.
June 6th, 2008, 06:46 PM
Here's a review I wrote back in 2005 that didn't make it to print. I think I felt I was just too grumpy!
Hidden Empire (Saga of Seven Suns (Book 1) by Kevin J Anderson
Paperback: published July 2003. ISBN: 0743430654
OK – Space Opera. Big spaceships, larger than life characters, big events, huge character list, multi perspective viewpoints, often extending over many books…. This is the stuff that I (and I’ll assume other) readers like about this particular style of story.
Kevin J Anderson is the co-writer of the recent additions to the Dune series; he has written many other books.
This is a 680 page book, of which there are 4 books to date and more to follow – possibly seven?
In that large tome, there are one hundred and fifteen chapters, each one from the different perspective of the characters. (There’s also a timeline, a glossary and a list of the Great Kings of the Terran Hanseatic League at the back). All of these are the sort of things that are rather expected in this sort of book.
The story itself concerns the expansion of humans from Earth to a point in about 400 years time, where they are spread across the galaxy. During this expansion, the Terrans are met and (in David Brin’s words) ‘uplifted’ by a race of aliens called the Ildirans, who maintain a saga called The Saga of Seven Suns – a book which makes the Dorsai’s Final Encyclopaedia look like a mere pamphlet. The first book introduces characters from across the broad range of planets and races, clearly setting up issues that will no doubt be addressed in later books. For example, there is Basil Wenceslas, the leader of the Terran Hanseatic League, King Frederick, the puppet figurehead of the League, Jess Tamblyn and his family, who are Roamers, transient spacers who spend their time surviving out ‘on the edge’, collecting hydrogen based ekti, the fuel that the races need for faster than light travel. There are aliens, on many planets, such as the priests from the forested planet of Theroc who use cuttings from the planet’s worldtree to allow instantaneous communication across the empire (thus getting round that difficult problem of interstellar communication). There are robots with an uncertain past and an unclear motive. There are big spaceships and big battles.
This should already start ringing bells for space opera readers. More signs are there that this is ‘big stuff’ is given in the first chapter, when two archaeologists are introduced who use the Klikiss Torch to explode a sun – exploding suns in the first few chapters?. That’s got to be space opera, right? More importantly, this action sets into motion events involving a mystery alien race that are clearly involved in later volumes.
Hopefully by now you are starting to realise that this is a multi-layered wide canvas, and this will either excite you or make you decide to go elsewhere. However, when I had finished the book I was not excited. My overall impression was one of, ‘Unh.’
Why was this? My first possible problem is that the book is not a tightly written book – it takes a leisurely travelogue through the varied environments and there is no impression of haste. However, this was a relatively minor problem to me. After all, I said, if you are enjoying the ride, then you’re here for the full multi-volume set, right?
It takes stamina to stick with it, I told myself and praised myself for doing so.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I found that all of the characters, whether human or alien, all speak in the same tone. Yes, there are weird and unusual words used, but my overall feeling was that the narrative style of the book is rather monotone. This did temper my enthusiasm rather. More disappointingly, I found that the book was so similar in terms of tone and style that I could almost interchange the book with the co-written Dune series, not something I was hoping for.
In summary, my overall impression, perhaps unfairly, was that this was ‘space opera by numbers’. Let me give one example, from page 463:
‘The jowly admiral spoke without preamble. ‘We have obtained more images of our alien enemies’, Stromo said. ‘My highest tactical advisers are studying every fragment of these signals, but I want you all to see them. Understand what we are up against’.
‘If those aliens ever show themselves, we’ll kick their butts’, muttered one of the recruits near her. (Tasia). His comment was answered by rowdy chuckles from his friends.’
As this example shows, Hidden Empire is full of characters and events that, if you’ve read this stuff before, will not be pushing the boundaries. This is not a book that you will be looking at as anything new. It is fun, it is entertaining, and the writer deserves credit for making me keep the pages turning. If that is all you wish, then all well and good.
However, I found it too similar in style and tone to the new Dune books for my liking. Though I will probably read other books in the series, overall I felt that they were more at the easy-read, don’t-strain-your-brain end of the pile, rather than more sense-of-wonder-provoking space opera such as, say, Alastair Reynolds or Peter Hamilton’s recent work.
Hobbit, August 2005
June 6th, 2008, 07:30 PM
Hobbit, points well taken. In spite of the failings, I really like the series, and now awaiting the 7th and final book. I have not read his other books, especially the Dune books, so I lack that perspective. Overall, I agree with the problems, but like the story enought to overlook them.
June 7th, 2008, 02:46 AM
Basically what I liked was, nice epic story, some very likeable characters, some good nasty ones, plenty of action, fast paced, explosions
June 7th, 2008, 03:49 AM
Based on the weakness of the new Dune books I dont think I would ever spend money on a KJA book again, much less seven. I have heard good things about the series, but mostly over on the Dunenovels.com website, where one is most likely to run into one of his fans.
Originally Posted by catsrule1
But I gotta tell you, I did not know what they were about before reading this synopsis here. It sounds like a total rip off of the Dark Phoenix arc in Marvel's X-Men from the eighties.
June 7th, 2008, 10:42 AM
Sorry, I have never liked the Dune books, nor read any of the later ones, nor read anything else by Anderson. I don't like a lot of the new scifi, but I did like this series. If you aren't into space opera, and grand scheme type novels/epics, and you don't like his style of writing - you probably should avoid this set. I'm the type who still rereads his old Andre Norton books, A. Bertram Chandler, Kenneth Bulmer, and Garnder Fox books and enjoys them. "New" writers I like are Stephen Baxter, Jack McDevitt, Robert Forward, and the like. I don't know anything about the Dark Phoenix arc, and just know X-Men from the old Marvel comics and the movies.
Originally Posted by Omphalos
June 7th, 2008, 11:08 AM
On Book 6: Metal Swarm
I'm currently on book 6 of the Saga of the Seven Suns - Metal Swarm. I've been getting the Audiobook version to listen to on my work commute and the narration of it is excellent. It's interesting how the author crafted the storyline in such a way that one mistake by a group of scientist has managed to trigger all of the events that move the story along.
Good science fiction often means having a bad guy - some alien race bent on humanity's destruction. Kevin J Anderson finds no shortage of these has he keeps the events rolling. There are also some interesting good guy races, like the Verdani and Wentels - who have seen it all before, and prove themselves to be solid allies.
The Science Fiction Fix
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