Embers of War – Gareth L Powell

This is a space opera tale of a sentient spaceship, Trouble Dog, that is attempting to repay a perceived sort of debt to society for formerly acting as a warship. Now it is part of the House of Reclamation, trying to rescue spaceships that get into trouble. The crew have their part to play as the current mission starts: to investigate the disappearance of a ship in a disputed star system.

On that missing ship was one Ona Sudak, a poet. Separately, intelligence officer Ashton Childe is ordered to find and rescue Sudak.

Both strands come together and become involved in something more significant than the disappearance of a single ship.

I did not like this. The story is OK. It features some cool stuff, like sentient ships, but I found the writing so clunky and pedestrian that I lost interest. It’s fun in places, but only rarely. And ever so predictable. The characters do not seem believable. The dialog is, to put it mildly, often unconvincing. The futuristic universe has nothing that marks it out as unique or fresh. To put it another way, this is derivative. Now that can be overcome, but there needs to be compensating factors and there are none to be found.

A dead end. Not recommended.

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