Orbus by Neal Asher
When I wrote my first Asher review on The Gabble, I said I wouldn’t swear to be an eternal fan of Neal Asher. I have to retract part of that statement, and until the advent of Polity golems for me to upload my brain to, that means I’m a fan. There, said it.
I really enjoyed Orbus. I’ve read reviews that say the main character is weak, but I can’t say I got that impression at all. Asher hooked me from the very beginning with this book, with the snippy dialogue between the two drones stowed away on an AI ship with a steampunk design to the sardonic interplay between Old Captain Orbus and his creepy but aptly named fellow crew member Drooble.
‘I don’t like your name … it sounds like a blend between dribble and droopy … it’s a silly name.’
This is the third book in the Spatterjay series and I strongly recommend reading the previous two or at least some of the other books from the Polity Universe. Being a Spatterjay novel, the book is laced with Asher’s usual gruesomely detailed explanations of how the virus is transmitted and the terrible effects bestowed upon any creature unfortunate enough to be cursed by it. Immortality may be desirable, but the risks of becoming something not human are even more far-reaching and potentially destructive than the early sections of the book might lead you to believe, as the virus gradually reveals its true secret. We hear Orbus’s own terrifying remembrances on his transformation whilst under the curse of the virus, the lengths he was driven to in order to survive and the masochistic lifestyle that followed. He questions himself endlessly.
With the mutating Prador, Vrell, as another of the main characters, we get a clearer insight into Prador civilisation which left my skin crawling. The three main groups of characters meet in the Graveyard, a border realm of wreckage from interplanetary war between Polity and Prador. A mythical monster from the nightmares of Prador childhood, the Golgoloth, and the fearsome Prador King also enter the fray, and something from ancient times with the power to destroy them all is resurrecting itself in a surprising way. The story moves on quickly and there are plenty of great descriptions of the technology and the aliens, something I’ve come to expect of Asher. Each chapter begins with an encyclopaedic snippet from HOW IT IS by Gordon which, unlike The Technician, didn’t seem to drag the story down so much. Each book I’ve read has expanded the details of the Polity universe in a new direction, and I loved the drones in this story as much as the human characters, and even the vengeful Vrell.
I have to confess to being just a tad disappointed by the ending – considering the forces involved and the level of technology it seemed a little too easily achieved. Having said that, I’d still recommend this book, although Asher fans won’t need me to tell them that. To those considering Neal Asher for the first time – this is not the book to start your exploration in, but certainly one to move onto.
This Orbus book review was written by Pippa Jay
All reviews for: Spatterjay
Spatterjay: Book 3
This is a follow-up to The Voyage of the Sable Keech tracing the journey of an Old Captain, Orbus - a sadist in charge of a crew of masochists - to a planetary wasteland ca...
Have you read Orbus?
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.
Orbus reader reviews
8.6/10 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...
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...
The Dreaming Void
Peter F Hamilton
The year is 3589, fifteen hundred years after Commonwealth forces barely staved off human extinction in a war against the alien Prime. Now an even greater danger has surfac...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oat...
While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya. The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient...
The Ninth Rain
The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the real...
The Court of Broken Knives
Anna Smith Spark
They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we pi...
With Blood Upon the Sand
Ceda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further t...
Dead Men Naked
After the sudden death of his best friend Neil, involving a 6-foot giant crow and quite some Tequila, Lou’s life takes an unexpected turn towards the impossible. As L...
Age of Assassins
Girton Club-Foot, apprentice to the land's best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But their latest mission tasks him and his master with ...