SF Reviews background image SF Reviews logo image
Contact SF Reviews   |   Get the Newsletter 

Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews


Copyright 2006 by Karen Traviss

In Association with Amazon.com In Association with Amazon.co.uk
SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Mediocre (2/5)

I first read this on the 30th December 2006.

This is the fourth book in Karen Traviss' Wess'har Wars series and it is pretty clear that there'll be a fifth.

The alien Eqbas fleet are on their way to Earth to kill, to cull, 99% of humanity, in order to prevent over-exploitation of Nature's limited resources.

Meanwhile back around Cavanagh's Star, Lindsay Neville and Mohan Rayat, condemned to death for genocide, survive. Their sentences have been commuted to live imprisonment. But their sentence is terrifying enough: to live in the depths of the ocean serving as slaves to the remaining Bezari forever.

Shan Frankland has some personal issues to deal with. They're mainly relationship issues like guilt and betrayal. She can sort those out while the Eqbas fly Earthwards on their mission of mass slaughter. No rush.

Well, it's clear that the next book -the fifth - in the series will be the one where the saga will be resolved. The options as I seem them are

  1. Eqbas will obliterate nearly all human life on Earth
  2. Humankind will have a trick up its sneaky sleeve and totally wipe the Eqbas off the face of the map, probably detonating their home world as well
  3. Shan will pull a rabbit out of a hat and some nonlethal compromise will be reached, such as Earth giving up fried steak or the Eqbas deciding to stop destroying planets

Clearly the Eqbas are unnecessarily fired up about restoring woods for rabbits to run and flowers to grow. Equally, Shan does seem to spend most of her time worrying at her personal problems as if trying to shake a solution loose. Meanwhile the real action of the book takes place in the background.

I have rather gone off this series. It is losing its impact. Karen has got the same problem the writers of Superman had: if you've got a superhero who can't be killed or even hurt, how do you make him or her interesting? Where's the risk and the danger. Where's the drama? Shan, Aras, Ade and God knows how many others are all but invulnerable superheroes, and that gives increasingly limited opportunities for excitement.

Shan does make an interesting moral decision at one point, and there's a suicide, oh and the "culling" of most of the Iseng from their home world. But apart from that, not much happens.

Loaded on the 25th January 2007.
Cover of Matriarch

Reviews of other works by Karen Traviss:
City Of Pearl
Crossing The Line
The World Before