“You’ve been reliably told that you’ll be out of power or dead within the next few months. That’s your biggest problem. Or at the very least, the one in front of you right now. If you want to save those billions of people, you’re going to have to save yourself first.”Rachela I, the First Emperox of the Interdependency
There’s something and then there’s something and this book was definitely something.
Emperox Grayland II, real name Cardenia Wu, has just survived a coup of the worst heads of the houses of the Interdependency, an interconnected network of space stations and environments all designed to work and thrive together. Though that’s out of her way, there’s still the pressing matter of the collapse of the Flow, a river-like network that allows faster than light travel between these systems. If it collapses, the entire Interdependency dies with it. With help from her lover/scientist Marce Claremont and sort-of-best-friend/angry pixie queen of citrus, Kiva Lagos, they set out to finally figure out how to save the billions of people who make up her kingdom and save the day before time runs out.
I can take a lot of lessons from this book, and series as a whole, with me into my own writing. One of the earliest tics I picked up on was how everyone in this series speaks in two manners: what they’re doing and what they’re thinking. For a dialogue heavy book, that’s pretty spectacular, as each page makes you spiral along to the next, every character interacting with one another in their own unique way. No two characters show the same side anyone else, and that makes each meeting something special.
With the exception of Kiva F***ing Lagos, and if you f***ing know, then you f***ing know.
Another is how almost no one is given a physical description. Odds are, they were introduced through their actions, letting those be the deciding picture generators. For example, one character is described as a, “…pleasant-looking young man who looked slightly dazed most of the time and who answered most questions with politely meandering answers that went nowhere. The couple sure looked great in pictures, however…” See, even with a single detailed description of this seemingly nothing character, I know everything about him. How he looks, how he sits, how he speaks, all of it.
This, to me, is a wonderful lesson as it shines the spotlight right back on what matters most, character, and not the 17 different ways you can describe your MC’s brown hair.
I don’t need to know that it resembles chestnut, Karen, not if it doesn’t tell me anything about her!
Overall, fantastically fun series and something I would recommend to anyone looking to get into science fiction with no previous experience.
Thanks for reading,