Once before, the sentient races in the known part of the galaxy had united against alien invaders. Decades have since passed and new generations have grown complacent . . . dangerously so.
Long ago, much of the population of an entire planet fled their world before its sun went nova in thousands of ships, each one larger than a city. Now, the armada has arrived at the world they intend to make their new home. They regard the fact that the planet is already colonized by humans as a mere inconvenience, and their mode of communication is so different from anything humans use that they do not consider humans and their allies to be truly intelligent.
This time, the races of the old alliance will not have to worry about becoming an invader’s meal— but that will be small comfort if these new invaders decide that genocide is justified for their own survival. . . .
This book is a continuation of the Starfire series and is published quite a few years after the previous book in this series. David Weber is no longer in the authors list and, even though the book was quite enjoyable, this shows. The book starts a new story arc in the Starfire universe but the basics of the story seems to be similar to previous books, that is, another day another invader. I have nothing against that. It is a type of story that I normally like.
In general I did like the book. The book is well enough written, some of the interesting characters are back and there is some nice “slugging it out” action in space. I did not like it as much as the previous two books though. Those where both 10 out of 10 stars for me. I think the absence of Weber shows. I wrote that the book was well enough written but it does kind of lacks the “touch” that he usually manages to get into his books. I especially missed him in the details of the space fights which were not bad in this book but still somewhat superficial compared to what Weber can do if he sets his mind to it.
The book references back to previous books quite a lot so, even though the book is readable without knowledge of the prior books, I would not recommend it. Unfortunately most references go all the way back to Insurrection, the first book in the series, which was the book in the series that I liked the least.
The book spends quite a bit of time on the Aliens and the story flip-flops back and forth between the alien viewpoint and the humans all the time. I cannot make up my mind if I liked this or not. The way the aliens communicated and how it was written in the book was interesting. It did however become a wee bit tedious to read through all those brackets with emotions in them after a while. On one hand it was interesting to follow the other side as well but on the other hand I usually ended up thinking, enough of this, lets get back to the good guys.
Speaking of good guys, maybe that is the wrong term to use since the entire war is pretty much the fault of the humans. Personally I thought it was rather cheap and unimaginative to use the old “dumb military office cannot keep his finger off the bloody trigger, mistakes sensors for an attack and screws up big time” plot element. I got off to a quite bad start with the book thanks to that.
There is no real conclusion in this book. As a matter of fact, pretty much all of the book is more or less setting the stage for this new story arc and it is not until the end of the book that the humans finally starts to get organized and put together some coherent, longer term plans for kicking the alien’s butts out human space. Now that will of course pose an interesting moral dilemma since the aliens are in reality homeless and, as I noted previously, the blame of the hostilities really falls on the humans.
Although the book was not as good as the previous two books I did enjoy the book for sure and I will definitely read the next one.