Review | Chaos Space by Marianne de Pierres (Orbit)

Mira has fled Araldis on Insignia - as an Innate only she can pilot the ship with the gene she has inherited from her father. Setting course to the nearest OLOSS system in search of help for Araldis, she faces continuous obstacles and questioning, not only about Araldis but of the Biozoon, Insignia, in which they show more than just a passing curiosity. Along with the group of mercenaries she picked up on Araldis, Mira and Insignia try to find help. Rast, the leader of the mercenaries, has some interesting contacts that will help them on the way.

Jo-Jo Rasterovich is stewing in his cell, locked up after being set up. With his ship gone and no evidence to back his version of events he fears all is lost. Meanwhile Tekton is gathering pace in order to carry out his magnificent plan to impress Sole. With news of the quixite coming from Araldis he sets about finding a craftsman that will realise his dream.

On Araldis Trin is leading those that are left to the islands where they hope safety awaits. Although there is reluctance from another group that has joined them, the protection and leadership he offers is hard to resist. With their goal set all he can do is travel towards it while he awaits Mira's return and the hope of salvation for Araldis.

In my review of Dark Space I said that although I enjoyed the novel, I didn't find it fitted with the space opera badge it was given. With almost all events taking place on Araldis it seemed like the story of Mira and Trin, the two characters it focused on more than others. I enjoyed it despite feeling slightly misled and looked forward to the other books in the series with high hopes. I was pretty confident that Marianne would expand the canvas and show us more of the galaxy of the Sentients of Orion. I can honestly say that Chaos Space not only lived up to my expectations, but exceeded them.

What we get this time around is a much larger picture of events going on and also more characters through whose eyes we see these events. Mira is the main character, that much is clear, and her progression carries through nicely. From fleeing the studium at the beginning of Dark Space she has changed quite a bit, becoming more confident even after the events she is put through at the hands of Trin. Her interaction with Rast is one of the better points and goes some distance to advance her character. Rast is still very much the mercenary looking after herself, but this time there is that layer beneath the surface that we only catch glimpses of now and again - I do like Rast, her in-your-face attitude just fits perfectly.

We also get plenty more of Tekton in Chaos Space and he is as ridiculous as ever, his attitude and mannerisms are completely out of place in his situation. It's nice to see him plow forward with his plans, cock-sure of himself and completely devious to gain what he wants. What I also like about Tekton is the gift Sole gave him: two minds. He has a free mind, basically him, and also a logic mind which is the complete opposite of his character. The interactions between these two are amusing and help to make him a better character than he normally would be.

We have some sections following Jo-Jo, his incarceration and some back story that helps things later in the novel. We also follow a little of Trin and the plight of the survivors to further escape the horror they are fleeing. Trin is still a character that I dislike, but his story is one I'm looking forward to follow further in the next book, something which sort of surprised me after putting Chaos Space down.

Overall the story takes a good turn, following effectively through from the events in Dark Space and bringing some more elements into play, just like any good space opera should. With two books still to come there are endless possibilities on where the direction of the series will go, and I'll be looking forward to finding out where that will be. Marianne has taken a huge step towards creating a must-read series with Chaos Space and a great multi-layered space opera. Wonderful stuff!

SciFiGuy  – (14 November 2008 at 22:24)  

I've read her Parrish Plessis series and thought it was terrific. Hope to give these a try.

Mark Chitty  – (14 November 2008 at 22:34)  

I've not yet read those ones but they've been added to my list. I've heard good things about them, but I just need to find the time!

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