War in Heaven (2011)


War in Heaven‘s predecessor stacked the game pretty high in terms of plot, characters, ideas and an ending that seemed to cover almost everything. Sure, the big bad got away, but overall most of the biggest plot threads got resolved.

Turns out, nothing ever ends and the big bad from the last volume is even worse than previous thought and while the battle for Earth was won, the war for humanity might be lost. Sounds like the same again, just more of it, but unlike the previous volume that started with a spurt and never slowed down, War in Heaven‘s biggest weakness is pacing.

It starts with an introspective round trip by the main character, until he decides to join the fight against the big bad. A short space voyage later they arrive at another world where they fight a guerrilla war against the big bad’s forces. Sounds exiting, but actually it feels like the plot is moving forward at a glacial pace.

Not that there’s nothing happening, but compared to the previous book, most of the action is set in a highly claustrophobic environment with not a lot variety (one that takes up an awful big chunk of the book) and the various moves against the enemy are a far cry from the non-stop action of the first book.

Then again, the book ends with a really neat climax that rivals and probably surpasses everything in the first book in terms of destruction and violence, including an ending that I felt, was interesting.

Not sure I liked or disliked it, it did seem to come out of left field, even if it made sort of sense and was fitting. That said, given that none of the narrators here were entirely reliable, I do wonder how correct the epilogue’s narrators opinion about the flaws in the previous narrator were, or how much just utter self-deception to deal with pain.

Anyway, if you liked the first one, read this as well, it’s definitely worth it, even if it’s a bit slower going.

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