Review: Void Black Shadow and Static Ruin

This is the second book of Corey White’s trilogy that started with Killing Gravity. It continues to deliver on a well-tuned space opera. I had been away from the characters for several years and fell right into the narrative. I read both Void Black Shadow and Static Ruin back to back. Since I’m not digging too deeply into plot, I’m covering about both here.

I like that though White is clearly writing a space opera, he’s not writing in a world without logic. His evil galactic empire isn’t shaky enough to put all its eggs into one Death Star. And it’s also populated with the sort of punch-the-clock evildoers who wind up working for evil in the real world.

It’s also a world with consequences. While White and his protagonist, Mars, may understand how you wind up as a file clerk for the Empire, they neither excuse or forgive temptation into more nefarious vocations. There’s a “break in to Devil’s Island to break our guy out” trope in here that runs aground on the kinds of terror that runs amok in such places. Those responsible are neither excused nor forgiven, but Mars gets her scars, too.

Evil’s not incompetent either. Mars’s plans do not always go as she expects or as a reader of space opera might expect. Competent foes and real consequences are in play.

I quite like the mix of full-bore planetary-class superpowers and real-world dynamics here. Being able to throw a starship around with your mind has less practical application than one might wish. White brings that home without losing the operatic scope.

The protagonist remains a space witch, though some unpleasant alternatives are put forth as well.


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