Tuesday 19 March 2024

Book Review: Cascade Failure by L. M. Sagas

Pros: fun and interesting characters, tight plot, some thought provoking moments, good fight scenes


Here’s the back cover blurb, which is simply perfect.

There are only three real powers in the Spiral: the corporate power of the Trust versus the Union's labor's leverage. Between them the Guild tries to keep everyone's hands above the table. It ain't easy.

Branded a Guild deserter, Jal "accidentally" lands a ride on a Guild ship. Helmed by an AI, with a ship's engineer/medic who doesn't see much of a difference between the two jobs, and a "don't make me shoot you" XO, the Guild crew of the Ambit is a little . . . different.

They're also in over their heads. Responding to a distress call from an abandoned planet, they find a mass grave, and a live programmer who knows how it happened. The Trust has plans. This isn't the first dead planet, and it's not going to be the last.

Unless the crew of the Ambit can stop it.

The characters are so much fun. They’re all neurotic in complementary ways. Surly and snipey at times, talkative and playful at others. Eoan’s curiosity about everything was a real joy. Despite their arguments it’s clear Nash and Saint are a tight knit crew. Seeing Jal and Anke dropped into the crew’s dynamic made for some great interactions.

The plot is tight with enough down time to get to know all of the characters between chase scenes and fights. There are some real tense moments.

The politics of this future are suitably complex without taking over the story. There are a few decent questions about morality and whether it’s better to focus on the needs of society at large vs saving your personal friends and family. And who should make the necessary sacrifices.

It’s a book about the choices we make and how we deal with the consequences of the bad decisions of our past. Of working as a team to complete a goal. Of betrayal and redemption.

It’s a delightful story that, though it dealt with heavy issues at times, left me feeling hopeful about the future.

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