Some Desperate Glory

Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh from @orbitbooks #BookReview #SciFi

Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh

Orbit Books, pb, £8.79

Reviewed by John Dodd

In advance, I love Space Opera, always have.  It doesn’t have to be a long story, but it does have to be epic, not just in telling, but in scale.

I was not disappointed in this book.

Kyr is a soldier, forged in the drifting colonies after Earth was destroyed, set against the tyranny of the Ma-Jo, an alien race who work under the confines of an AI known as the Wisdom that decides what their direction as a species is and what they should do next.  As she finishes her training, she is assigned to the nursery, a necessary position, but not what she wanted, out on the front line of trying to get vengeance for what was done to humanity.

And then she encounters Viso, one of the Majo, and the world changes around her…

This begins a tale on such a grand scale that it compares to Wagners Ring cycle when placed against normal space operas.  We learn through Viso that the Majo are not what they seem to be and that the Wisdom exists beyond the realms of what we comprehend as time and space.

If you don’t like or understand time travel, this book isn’t for you…

In a supremely audacious move by Tesh, the entire universe changes mid-book, the details for which I’ll not give, but the normal causality break that would occur from something like this is held by the idea of the thing that can do it.  Thus we seem to be starting again from the middle of the book and going onward, but there are other things in place.

I want so badly to be able to tell all the details of what happens here; I really do, I write about time travel all the time, and I’d never considered the possibility of what Tesh does in this book.  We go from one side of the conflict to the other, one side of history where humanity was obliterated, to the other side when the reason they were obliterated is given with such clarity as to give you pause to agree on the destruction of a whole civilisation.

This was superb, the sort of intelligent story that movie studios refuse to make a film out of because the executives can’t get their heads around the concept. 

Don’t make their mistake; read this…

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