Burndive by Karin Lowachee

Karin Lowachee

Ug, I'm sick and at home feeling like mud, so may as well take the time to catch up with my reviews.

Burndive has been on my TBR pile for about a year and I liked the first book of the series so much (Warchild), that I am not sure why this book was there for so long. Too many books is the likely reason!

Each of the three books of this space opera triology has a different protagonist in the same universe. In this case the story focuses on Ryan Azarcon, a blond, blue eyed celebrity with famous parents. He's very different from Jos Musey, the main character in Warchild – he's more sheltered and protected by his connections, but even those aren't enough for him to stay unaffected by war. While Ryan is on EarthHub, he witnesses a bombing, which affects so deeply the only way Ryan knows how to cope is through self-medication – drugs. And things don't get better when he goes home to Austro, he witnesses more violence in the form of shooting at a nightclub. With his mother the top PR person on Austro and his father an infamous starship captain (who was introduced in Warchild), life is complicated for Ryan, and only seems to get worse. Even the friendship Ryan has with his bodyguard Sid has complications.

This book seemed to start a little before Warchild ended, on a parallel storyline, and then continued where it left off. We meet characters in Warchild like Jos and Warboy, but they are secondary ones. Compared to Jos, I thought that Ryan was 'softer' than him, because he's been lucky enough to be kept apart from the horrors of war by his parents, but Ryan had other skills because of his fame. It was interesting to see Jos and his father through Ryan's eyes though – his upbringing taught him about reading others.

Overall: I recommend these books if you like well written world-building and character driven development. The writing is top-notch, and despite the background in space, it focusses on individuals. I really like the way the characters interacted, especially Ryan and his father and Sid. I wish Lowachee would write a book about how Cairo Azercon was adopted by his parents, I was curious about his background, though some of it was revealed throughout Burndive.

Cagebird is the third and perhaps last of the series. I went to check the author's website and didn't see anything about further books, but I did see news about a new trilogy starting Fall/Winter 2009 which orbit books described as "Victorian era steampunk…in the style of Philip Pullman taking us from the Arctic North to steeped rooftops of civilization and the savages to the east." The first book is The Gaslight Dogs.

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