Review of NETGALLEY arc Bone Silence – Book 3 of the Revenger series by Alastair Reynolds #Brainfluffbookreview #BoneSilencebookreview #Netgalley

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Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in this gothic YA space opera, Revenger and Shadow Captain. I was delighted to be approved to read this final instalment, Bone Silence, as I really wanted to know what happened to the Ness sisters.

BLURB: Two sisters ran away from home to join the crew of a spaceship. They took on pirates, faced down monsters and survived massacres . . . and now they’re in charge. Captaining a fearsome ship of their own, adventures are theirs for the taking. But Captain Bosa’s fearsome reputation still dogs their heels, and they’re about to discover that, out in space, no one forgives, and no one forgets . . .

Firstly, I’d recommend that if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading at least one of the previous books in this series, then don’t start with this one – put it back on the shelf and go looking for Revenger instead. While this story is still full of space battles, weird aliens fighting amongst themselves, and struggles to overcome peculiarly horrible diseases – a fair chunk of the book is taken up with resolving some of the big mysteries regarding the world and how it has come to be the way it is. If you haven’t read at least one of the previous books, not only will you find it difficult to understand what is going on – at least initially – you also won’t care as much as you should about the ongoing chaos and how to resolve it. I think Reynolds has managed to pull off a difficult balancing act – providing plenty of action and adventure with two spiky but ultimately sympathetic protagonists and yet also giving us a complicated world where the initial rules don’t actually apply. It is in this book we learn exactly what the dynamic is.

I am impressed at how much I still cared for both girls, given they aren’t particularly nice, which isn’t a surprise, given what they’ve gone through, and their own conflicted feelings about each other. There is a fair amount of sibling rivalry that causes friction and distrust, particularly at times when things are getting tricky. The characterisation is well handled throughout and I particularly liked the truly horrible antagonist Reynolds managed to produce in this book. After the horrors of Captain Bosa, I had thought that any other baddie in this series would be something of an anti-climax, but nasty Incer managed to be someone I loved to hate.

One of the outstanding aspects of this series is the dark, brooding Gothic quality of the writing which is sustained throughout all three books particularly effectively. This is a dystopian world where bad things happen to good people, however, there are enough shafts of light that it didn’t become too overwhelmingly grim, which is a tricky balance to accomplish. The ending worked, tying everything up satisfactorily, but without making it too tidy, which would have jarred in this universe. Highly recommended for fans of space opera with a bit of a difference. The ebook arc copy of Bone Silence was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book.
9/10

11 responses »

  1. I didn’t realize this series was YA, but it’s been on my list to start at some point. I’m so glad this third book earned a 9/10 rating from you😁

    • And I’m still puzzling over the YA classification, to be honest. Granted the sisters are both teenagers when they get swept up in the adventures – but there is not a whiff of romance or cool young men. And it’s quite dark.

  2. I haven’t read any of these so I didn’t want to read too much in the review, but I love space operas and I haven’t heard of the series. So I’m going to go check out the first one! Also that cover is just gorgeous.

    Ash @ JennReneeRead

  3. I still have to pick this author up but I confess I’m very intrigued with your description of ‘gothic’ I don’t tend to expect that with Sci-fi so this makes me prick up my ears (or something like that!)
    Lynn 😀

    • Space opera tends to be characterised by quite an upbeat tone – and this one has quite a bleak, grimdark quality, which I don’t enjoy in fantasy, but really hooked me because the sheer novelty and quality of the writing.

  4. Sadly, despite my admiration for Reynold’s work, the first book in this series did not agree with me – still I’m happy to see that many other readers, yourself included, are enjoying this series and that it ended in such a satisfactory way 🙂

  5. I am glad to hear this was another win for you and that you enjoyed this series so much. Nice to hear it’s not overly grim even with the bad things that happen.

  6. Oooo, this does sound good…It reminds me of Treasure Planet, that steampunk/scifi take on Treasure Island that Disney made a while back. I MUST write about it at some point. I mean, space pirates–how can you go wrong with space pirates?! lol

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