**** mild spoilers for Song of Scarabaeus ****
The Premise: In this continuation of the story that follows Edie Sha’nim and her bodyguard Finn, Edie has freed herself from her kidnappers and her goal is to use what she’s recently learned to help Fringe worlds with their reliance on Crib technology to keep their environments viable. Unfortunately, her freedom is short-lived, as the Crib government catches up with Edie and her friends, and reclaims her as their property. Edie has to cooperate or Finn suffers, so she reluctantly goes back to work as a biocyph for Liv Natesa’s pet project on a new terraformed world named Prisca. During the project she makes some startling discoveries about what the Crib is up to, including the use of children as their new breed of cypertecks. In the meantime she’s also asked to return to the place where it all began for her: the planet Scarabaeus.
Read the first chapter of Children of Scarabaeus here (pdf)
My Thoughts: I was anticipating this read so much that it leaped over all others in my TBR and landed on the top of my queue, and then I read it all in one day. I’m happy to say it felt very readable and I had no inclination to put it down once I started. This book had much of the same sort of twists and turns as the first, with escapes and captures, spaceship crashes, deadly planetary disasters and wild animals. Not to mention the manipulations of Natesa, who wants Edie on her project, which promises terraforming at a much faster pace than ever before and of Colonel Theron who wants Edie to work for him on Scarabaeus. Like the first book, Children of Scarabaeus has a lot going on. In fact, it surprises me how much happens in it within a relatively short number of pages (my eARC is numbered at 322 pages).
Edie and Finn begin the story with the same relationship they had when Song of Scarabaeus ended, which was a place where they trust each other completely, but things are still new and Edie isn’t quite sure where she stands. It doesn’t help matters that the chip in Finn’s head (the one that could kill him if he’s too far from Edie) causes emotional feedback that makes romantic entanglements complicated, or that Finn is a hard man for Edie to read. Edie wants Finn by her side, but she also wants him to be free, and not have to be by her side, especially when her skills make her a resource everyone wants. I wasn’t sure how things were going to go for them with their general lack of communication, but this book moves them forward a lot more than the first did, and the romance was not as understated as the first installment.
The descriptions of the biocyph and cyperteck technology as Edie sees it continues to be fascinating. I really love how it’s described visually instead of trying to explain the technical details behind it. When the cyperteck children are introduced, I liked how they related to the code differently from even Edie and other ‘tecks. Instead of understanding things visually, they go by sound and by feeling. The code is something living that needs fixing so it can be “well”, and the children instinctively work as a team to patch the code up. They have no idea what the code does, all they are interested in is the feel of the code itself.
Children of Scarabaeus does a very good job in tying up all the loose plot strings left over from Song of Scarabaeus. There were a few times where I thought the story was going to go one way (and this probably would have lengthened the plot), but Edie and Finn instead are steered towards their destinies. The way things are satisfyingly tied up leads me to believe that this series is now complete, which is in a way disappointing. This is a case where I would be really happy for more books and more adventures with Edie and Finn. I don’t really think that Children of Scarabaeus rushes to a conclusion, but it upon me before I wanted it to be. I wanted to spend more time, leisurely exploring the galaxy and watching the relationship develop between Edie and Finn. I could have used a book or two between book 1 and the conclusion here, and I think that would have also sidestepped the feeling that the plot twists and deaths in the story were a means to get to the appropriate ending within the pages allowed. I hope that the next series Sara Creasy writes next gets to be longer. And this is from a girl who balks at long series, so do not take my words lightly.
Overall: I really loved Song of Scarabaeus, and this is a worthy sequel that has the same action and awesome world building as it’s predecessor. It comes pretty close to pleasing me in the same way the first book does, but it has one handicap – it has to complete the story in one book, which means the romance and the complex plot are tied up before I was ready. I think the author did a good job at making these things satisfying (particularly the ending), but I would have been fine if I had to wait one more book (or two) for it. Thumbs up for this series – get both books.
Children of Scarabaeus comes out on March 29th.
Buy: Amazon | Powell’s | The Book Depository
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