Friday, 18 December 2015

The Phoenix Darkness - Richard L. Sanders


The Empire is still in disarray and wanting for a legitimate monarch. Princess Kalila, scion of House Akira, is desperate to reclaim her father's throne and birthright from the usurper Caewyn Martel. The two have already clashed in a devastating battle that halved their fleets and destroyed the Apollo Shipyards - a resource that will be sorely missed in the impending war. For war is coming and the Rotham are mobilising their fleet outside of the Demilitarised Zone. Their ships are being called for one reason: the invasion and occupation of human space.

Calvin Cross is the sole provider of this information, having ventured deep into Rotham space with a small handful of his crew. His mission is dangerous and the warships he scans are not without scanners and he had a Rotham spy in his midst, whose loyalties are ambiguous at best . . . Calvin desperately wants the Nighthawk for this mission, but his ship has been entrusted to Summers. Summers, who must find and destroy the last of the isotome weapons before they can be brought to bear against humankind and its space.

The Good
Richard L. Sanders had written yet another story that is full of twists and turns, The book is exciting and difficult to predict with the sheer number of people trying to create the universe they desire through chicanery and deceit. This means that the story is fast-paced and it gets going straight away, maintaining tension and uncertainty throughout.

The Bad
Once again, Sanders' writing is sadly lacking in description and this did detract from my enjoyment of the book slightly. The Phoenix Darkness is full of novel warships and a whole host of different worlds and environments, yet none of them have been described so there's little guidance for their visualisation. It's a shame really because it means his writing is quite 'stripped down' and predominantly focuses on events. The same is true for his characters and alien races; except for a few vague descriptions here and there, Sanders largely glosses over what they look like.

Another issue with the book is the use of words like should've and hasn't in its prose. Although this isn't a major issue and doesn't really detract from the story, it just doesn't look professional and is a constant (and unnecessary reminder) that the novel is self-published.

My Thought
Overall though, The Phoenix Darkness is pretty good and makes for an exciting and enjoyable read. It's a great instalment to The Phoenix Conspiracy series as a whole and I had a lot of fun with it! It's part of what is one of my favourite science fiction series at the moment and Sanders remains one of my favourite indie authors! I would definitely recommend this book (and series) to anyone who is looking for a sci fi series of action and subterfuge!

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