Nova War by Gary Gibson
Gary Gibson’s second book in the Shoal Sequence, Nova War, follows on directly from the events of the first, Stealing Light. At the end of Stealing Light main characters Dakota Merrick and Lucas Corso escaped the destruction of the Nova Arctis system, battered and bruised aboard a derelict Magi spaceship of such immense power and importance that it has the potential to start a galaxy ending Nova War.
Fans of the first book will not be disappointed, Nova War continues Gibson’s page turning, dramatic style of Space Opera. His writing is confident and easy flowing and whilst this is still undoubtedly hard sci-fi, it doesn’t get bogged down in page after page of scientific theory and description.
The story once again focuses around Dakota Merrick, a human with implants in her brain that allows her to engage with any machine she wishes. Dakota has discovered that Humanities knowledge of the rest of the galaxy (fed to them by the faster then light travel controlling species the Shoal) is highly inaccurate. The Shoal are not the only species capable of FTL travel, they have in fact been at war with a rival species, The Emissaries, a war in which they are slowly being defeated.
Dakota survives the destruction of a whole solar system only to become prisoner of the Bandati, a flying, insect-like species who have discovered Dakota’s dark past and want to use her to unlock a millennia old secret that could change the balance of the long war between the Shoal and The Emissaries. Dakota must try to stay alive while rival Bandati factions fight for her knowledge. Along the way she must deal with familiar friends and foes, including the wonderfully named and equally devious, Trader in Faecal Matter of Animals and the not quite human Hugh Moss.
The book contains some wonderfully descriptive passages and action packed set pieces, one in particular, where Bandati security forces face off against human criminals in the belly of a giant worm is superb. The stories conclusion is equally gripping, set upon a crumbling space station while rival factions battle for another lost Magi ship is breathtaking at points.
The Bandati are an excellent and imaginative creation, all clicking mandibles and gossamer-light wings. The descriptions of the Bandati home world are particularly effective, Gibson really makes his alien species and worlds come alive on the page, they feel whole and well defined in a way I have rarely read since China Mieville’s Bas-Lag series. The religiously fanatical Emissaries are equally impressive as terrifying, elephant like bad guys.
Dakota herself is given time and room within the story to grow as a character, as her abilities change, so does her characters strength. She is an unusual and morally questionable heroine and one that you want to stick with through the books 400 pages. Able support is offered by the conflicted Lucas Corso; their relationship was strained to say the least in Stealing Light but is pushed to new levels in the sequel. He spends most of the novel just trying to stay alive which while adding to the tension, does start to grate by the end. You do start to wonder why the Bandati are keeping him alive when he has clearly past his usefulness about halfway through. However, the best supporting character has got to be Hugh Moss, his back story takes up a sizeable part of the novel and helps to explain his drive to destroy the Shoal and stop Dakota Merrick.
While I found Nova War an entertaining and at times gripping sci-fi page turner, at times it was a bit adolescent and its themes will feel familiar to hardened fans of Space Opera. What it means to be Human and the dangers of technology are issues that have been addressed many times before, but I feel that Gibson’s is a name to watch, there is nothing wrong with providing entertaining escapism and I await the third in the series with some interest.
This Nova War book review was written by Charlie White
All reviews for: Shoal Sequence
Shoal Sequence: Book 2
Dakota discovered the Shoal's dark and dangerous secret, and now she works toward stopping not only the spread of this knowledge, but also the onset of the nova war. Fo...
Empire of Light
Shoal Sequence: Book 3
The nova war has begun to spread as the Emissaries wage a fierce and reckless campaign, encroaching on the area of space occupied by humanity and forcing the Shoal into a d...
Have you read Nova War?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Nova War reader reviews
7/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that's seen better days, offers her everything she co...
Marjorie B Kellogg
Set in the future on a distant world, Lear’s Daughters tackles the issues of global warming, pollution, exploitation of resources, and disastrous climate change. Long...
Iain M Banks
It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters. It begins with a murder. And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself. Lededje Y&...
The burgeoning new economies in near-Earth space are fuelled by a steady stream of comets, steered back home by huge nuclear-powered mining ships like Bella Lind’s Ro...
The Naked God
Peter F Hamilton
The Confederation is starting to collapse politically and economically, allowing the 'possessed' to infiltrate more worlds. Quinn Dexter is loose on Earth, destroyi...
The very far future: The Galaxy is a drifting wreck of black holes, neutron stars, chill white dwarfs. The age of star formation is long past. Yet there is life here, feedi...
When Streaker - the first starship designed and crewed by dolphins - discovers a derelict ancient armada with evidence of the first sentient species ever, she sets off a wa...
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into ...
James SA Corey
Humanity has colonized the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond - but the stars are still out of our reach. Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making r...
An Ancient Peace
The centuries-long war between the Confederation and The Others, a group of violent alien species, is over. Intergalactic peace is finally restored. Torin Kerr and her crew...
During all recorded history, the Moon has hovered above our heads, a timeless symbol for lovers' ecstasy. Goddesses & Gibson Girls have tripped the light fantastic ...
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, ...
James SA Corey
On Ganymede, breadbasket of the outer planets, a Martian marine watches as her platoon is slaughtered by a monstrous supersoldier. On Earth, a high-level politician struggl...
The Uplift War
As galactic armadas clash in quest of the ancient fleet of the Progenitors, a brutal alien race seizes the dying planet of Garth. The various uplifted inhabitants must batt...
Old Man's War
John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army. The good news is that humanity finally made it into interste...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: