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Shadow Captain (The Revenger Series Book 2) Kindle Edition
About the Author
"Shadow Captain does what a great sequel should do: it builds upon, rather than replicates, the earlier work while escalating the drama and upping the stakes. ... The worlds'-shattering conclusion has us very much looking forward to our next voyage with the Ness sisters."―B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog
"The sequel to last year's space heist story, Revenger, is an equally-gripping story about two sisters, Adrana and Fura Ness, on the hunt for the greatest treasure in the universe."―Kirkus
"A swashbuckling thriller--Pirates of the Caribbean meets Firefly--that nevertheless combines the author's trademark hard SF with effective, coming-of-age characterization."
―The Guardian on Revenger
"Revenger is classic Reynolds-that is to say, top of the line science fiction, where characters are matched beautifully with ideas and have to find their place in a complex future. More!"―Greg Bear on Revenger
"Alastair Reynolds [is] one of the leading lights of the New Space Opera Movement . . . . Revenger is tremendous fun." ―Locus
"Reynolds has sketched in a galaxy littered with the relics of former civilizations (human and alien), with plenty left to the reader's imagination, and room for a sequel."―Library Journal on Revenger
"An expert mix of the fantastical and horrific."―Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Revenger
"A blindingly clever imagining of our solar system in the far flung future."―The Sun on Revenger --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B07CWQN8FQ
- Publisher : Orbit (January 15, 2019)
- Publication date : January 15, 2019
- Language : English
- File size : 1308 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 473 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #115,688 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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That immaturity was expected in 'Revenger': they literally were callow youths swept up in the excitement of an adventure that turned out to be bigger than they could have ever imagined, and it drove the plot. Now their immaturity inhibits the plot, because it leads to a lot of situations where their responses flip-flop between outright ruthlessness and adolescent naivety with not much obvious logic for either state. It makes them inconsistent, which I found frustrating. Ironic really, I rail against the typical 'black vs. white' cardboard characters in science fiction stories, but this is too far into the ' random shades of gray' end of the spectrum to be entirely satisfying. Fura, in particular, is driven by demons and the reason for this I either missed or discounted. Certainly, I kept wanting her to either be the tyrant she clearly wants to be, or shuck the monkey on her back and be her own woman. I get the 'will she or won't she' supposedly provides some narrative tensions, but such vacillation, a couple of hundred pages in, was annoying. And especially when Adrana exhibits the same behavior. Presumably, it runs in the family!
In situational terms, having acquired Bosa Sennen's ship, the sisters suddenly find themselves assumed outlaws with need to clear their names. The method of this is both complicated by their own obsessions, and by circumstances of needing supplies and having to creep around the outer edges of the solar system to do so. The main sequence of this novel is that latter aspect, and it's populated almost entirely by unconvincing villains and pretty much nobody else. So where 'Revenger' beats with an optimistic heart, 'Shadow Captain' is considerably bleaker.
Overall, having crafted an entirely novel universe, Reynolds pretty much squanders it by constraining the action into two primary locations. So, I'm finished reading, but very ho-hum regarding the next novel. The mysteries that he sets up should have sufficient gravitas to drive another installment, so I know I'll buy it, but if the Sisters Ness don't grow up a bit, I also know I aint gunna like the experience.
SHADOW CAPTAIN is a sequel to a previous book, REVENGER. You should probably read that first. In Shadow Captain, we continue to follow the two sisters who killed the Dread Pirate Roberts...er I mean Bosa Sennen as they careen about the worlds trying to...well...be good pirates? Decent privateers? Polite robbers? Of course, it's not easy being a good pirate; this universe seems to demand the existence of a Dread Pirate much like the world of PRINCESS BRIDE, and the two sisters are pretty much stuck in the universal bad guy role. Whether they want it or not.
The plot contains a lot of guessing of just how much of Bosa Sennen is left in the sister that the dread pirate was conditioning to take her place (Adrana), and just how much the other sister's mind (Fura) has been taken over by the glowy fungus that is growing throughout her nervous system (and makes parts of her glow in the dark). To tell the truth, they both come across as conniving and demented, and I'm not sure that I could really tell the two apart if you gave me a pop quiz. Adrana tells the story from the first person perspective, but I expect that she is as unreliable a narrator as you can find. In fact, if there were no sisters and they were one person, I wouldn't be utterly surprised. Such a revelation would finally resolve the subject of their constant sisterly spats about who is Really In Charge. (No this is not a spoiler. I'm just engaged in wild speculation.)
The universe in which these two books are set is at first a bit obscure, but you can pick up hints here and there. Apparently, there was a very long meeting, and everyone (or, I guess, everyone who counted) voted to blow up the eight (eight--count'em EIGHT) planets of the Solar System, and make a lot of itsy bitsy tiny worldlets out of them. On high grade, posh planetoids, gravity is provided by a resident black hole ("swallower" in the books' terminology). The low-class wordlets--which may be little more than large space stations--have no gravity, except maybe that provided by spinning the whole thing. All these little worlds are arranged in shells around the "old sun". I gather it's a long time in the future.
I'm not entirely sure that Einsteinian or even Newtonian physics apply in the world of Shadow Captain. There is a reference to gravitational lensing around a black hole. However, the method by which the planets are kept in their orderly shells around the sun is mysterious--in fact, the astrophysics seems more Aristotelian than anything else--except that there are no crystal spheres separating the various shells.
The technology could be described as "steam punk", but I haven't noticed much actual steam power being used. Honestly, the tech seems pretty random. Interplanetary flight is accomplished by sailing ships. I'm not sure if these are photon sails, or something else, but sailing is certainly a suitable metaphor for traveling the "seas" of space, so I found myself taking to it readily. I was bothered that for some reason, people use crossbows as weapons, though they ought to be perfectly capable of building guns. In fact, there are guns here and there. But these seem to be artifacts gotten from caches of ancient treasures known as "baubles"; these "baubles" are one of the more interesting features of Reynolds' universe. I hope we get to visit more of them in future books. (A "volitional pistol" made an all too brief appearance. I would like to have made a closer acquaintance with its powers. Apparently, it makes you really, really hate someone just before you shoot him. Does it make killing easier on the psyche? Dunno, this isn't well explained.)
It seems to me that Reynolds wants to tell a story that is not full of the clichés of interstellar space opera--and that's refreshing. If you don't go with the clichés, then you have to be inventive, and I think Reynolds does a good job of inventing in these two books. There's also lots of mysteries to unravel. Like, where do the aliens come from? Do they have faster than light space travel? What's their role? What causes the recurrent rise and collapse of civilizations ("occupations") in the Solar System? There's hints of cosmic skulduggery, and surely the aliens are implicated, somehow.
Though it's by no means imitative, the tone of Reynold's universe reminds me a bit of Karl Schroeder's VIRGA novels. Like Reynolds, Schroeder gives us a limited universe, with hints of an "outside" that may just come crashing in some day. But the "universe" is confined enough so that it can have its own rules, and alien enough to give you that frisson of novelty that's missing from most F&SF these days.
Another reviewer commented on the peculiarities of the dialogue, which has some resemblance to English "Thieves' Cant". According to the English-Cant dictionary (URL deleted because Amazon seems to hate them) a "cove" is a man; but in Reynoldese, it actually means "a person"; it's non-sex specific. This is quite a convenience in today's world, which is oh so sensitive on anything having to do with sex. Excuse me. I mean to say "gender", of course.
I'm very much looking forward to the next book in the REVENGER series.
Some of Reynolds' books are excellent (especially his Revelation Space series), some are OK (The Medusa Chronicles) and some I don't care for. I'm not a Doctor Who fan so I didn't like Harvest of Time that much.
Shadow Captain is one of Reynolds' weakest books.
Shadow Captain follows Revenger, which I have read twice, first when it came out and then again before reading Shadow Captain. IRevenger is an excellent book and it stood up well on a second reading.
Unfortunately, where Revenger has a strong plot, Shadow Captain just wanders around. The writing and characters are not bad but the plot does not have a strong "three act" structure. Many of the fascinating features from Revenger are there: the world of the Congregation, some suggestion of alien manipulation and problematic economic systems. But the plot just wanders without any strong objective. Shadow Captain reads like a second book that the publisher offered to fund after Revenger. Unfortunately, the result feels like Reyonds just "phoned it in".
Fan boy that I am, I will undoubtedly buy the sequel in the hope that the result will be better than Shadow Captain. I hope that Shadow Captain will turn out to be a weaker bridge novel between strong first and third books.
Top reviews from other countries
A ridiculous, steam-punk meets space-pirates environment, with surprisingly shallow 'science' and back story. One-dimensional, unlikeable characters who barely develop over two novels, and whose motivation and behaviour are formless. Pointless, barely-described aliens which almost seem blue-screened into the plot as an afterthought. Puerile language which borders on infantile: the galaxy is the "swirly", the characters breathe "lungstuff", and refer to each other, ad nauseam, as "coves".
Above all, a dreary, predictable, un-engaging story. There are about two chapters' worth of plot in the entire book, stretched out, with banal dialogue and dull description, to fill a novel.
It is hard to tell if this is genuinely intended to be a young adult story, or is just a short story which has been padded out to sell as a novel. Either way, it is a disappointing offering from an author who is capable of so much better.
But despite that it still kept my attention. Everything from the first book was there; the twins relationship, alien mysteries, galactic secrets, the boundary between good and evil. It's just the star shone a little quieter in the telling.
How do you make a car journey more interesting in the middle? All the games have been played and you can't see the mountains/sea yet.
But I think we were shown some interesting scenery in this book.
Shame Lagg couldn't be explored in greater depth. A flashback may have been a bit corny.
No, there's nothing gritty in here from his Chasm City days, it's a pretty straightforward story, but hangs together well and has a good plot. I felt it was better than Revenger, and written for an older audience, but you will need to have read that book first to make much sense of this one.
On re-reading this again a couple of years later, it really is a good book, and is better then Revenger, mostly I think through being written from the point of view of Adrana. The premis of the solar system the book is set in is also fasicnating, I'd like to know more about what happened and how it became the way it is, perhaps the final book will tell us.
My biggest problem is that there is simply too much exposition and too little action. Call me shallow but I want a bit more plot development than is on show here. Much of the 1st half of the book consists in a lengthy voyage through Space. I appreciate that Space travel is likely to be dull, and sadly Reynolds manages to convey this boredm only too well.
I realise that I need to complete the novel before making a final judgement and I'll come back here and update my comments when I have.