Disclaimer: Dr. Wendland was a professor at the graduate program I attended, and he is now a friend and colleague; however, I purchased an advanced-release hardcopy of this novel for full price.
I read Wendland’s first book in this world, The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes, in one evening. I wish I could have done the same with this book, but life kept interfering. Instead, I snatched moments of brief moments of time with this intriguing, elegant novel.
It’s hard to gush about what, exactly, I loved about this book without verging into spoiler-territory. I can easily say that it was distinctly different from Wendland’s previous book while still maintaining his vivid authorial voice and sharing more about this futuristic galaxy where humans have emerged as a powerful force, but only by riding the coattails of a previous alien race.
The main character, Mykol, is younger here, with all the immaturity and impetuousness that leads to crazy adventures. But the first character you meet, Riley, is our true guiding star. I’d love to learn more about her adventures, now that she knows more of the “truth” of her universe than most people.
I didn’t have a choice about which book I read first, and even though this one is a prequel, I’d be hard-pressed to suggest a reading order. All I can say is that you should read both. Wendland’s works are a return to a classic space opera, but they bring modern sensibilities that I think will age well with time. I’d been begging for this book for years — I hope he’s prepared for me to immediately start clamoring for another installment in his amazing universe.