Everyone is still too damned nice

Written by
S. H. Jucha in 2015

On reflection, The Silver Ships has quite a lot going for it, an original universe, a mysterious enemy, action and what could have been the basis for some interesting characters and development. Unfortunately, its sequel, Libre has not quite been able to take that foundation and run with it.

We pick up the story as Alex and Renee lead the charge to stop the mysterious silver ships from destroying Meridien society. As a society built on the French, they have decided their best course of action is not to fight, but to run away in a bout of space parkour. Typical. Anyway, Alex, the boy genius begins to build an armada and help the people of the planet Libre escape almost certain doom at the same time.

Now, the story is, as you might expect completely focused on the escape of the Librans from their planet. There are lots of new characters introduced, AIs, people and bit players. You sometimes wonder whether the story could have simply been better and tighter if it focused more on the lead characters, rather than splitting its relatively short span on talking about everyone a little bit.

Really, there are named characters that are simply there to feel sorry for because they die. Now, while that might work for George R. R. Martin, where even main characters die left, right and centre, this series is not like that at all, and you know it from page one.

This is honestly where the story suffers the most. Alex is now a static problem solver, along with his AI friends. Renee is his very beautiful lover (and nothing else at this point), all of these people who have never ever even heard of a military force somehow become soldiers with a magical click of logic leap. Now, I realise that there are issues with time constraints presented in the narrative, but the author’s plothole is one of his own doing. Nobody else wanted to write about planets full of pacifists.

The Silver Ships had lots going for it, even though there were many aspects of the book that were slightly grating (everyone is too damned nice) and simplistic (next to zero character development). There was a foundation there where that stuff could have been corrected here, but unfortunately, Libre seems to throw our characters into the perennial fire, without any time or opportunity to change and grow.

Rating

Still pedestrian, with the potential to have been so much more….

Read this if you…

Read number one and thought, “why not?”

Don’t read this if you…

Are after a story that is relatively complex beyond a sequence of events.

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