Character-Driven Space Opera: There Before The Chaos by K.B. Wagers


This post is by Liz Bourke from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


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I’ve been thinking about how to review There Before The Chaos for weeks. K.B. Wagers’ fourth novel, the opening volume of a second trilogy about gunrunner-turned-empress Hail Bristol (star of Behind the Throne, After the Crown, and Beyond the Empire), it turned out to be the kind of character-driven, deftly-wrought, emotive space opera that I adore. And that I find difficult to discuss with any kind of measured distance or attempt at assessment. Does it live up to its predecessors? Does it succeed at what it sets out to do?

I’m not entirely sure I can tell, because it succeeds so well at being exactly the kind of book I wanted it to be. (Though I shake my fist at the cliffhanger ending! What a hook.)

Hail has survived the events of the Indranan Empire trilogy to be—relatively—secure on her throne, with a named heir ...