Again, breaking from my technology theme to support a friend.
I have to admit to a bias and really liking this book (The Tarantula Nebula) over the first (Reckless Faith). The characters were more mature and developed in David’s mind and that was so very clear in the writing. The plot retained the intricacy and pace that the first book did. Once again, I put it down and immediately wanted the sequel (which is presently being drafted… I have to wait?!).
The crew of the Reckless Faith find themselves at the ship’s AI’s origin. There they have to resolve issues of planetary occupation and a science research program run amok (the writer’s exploration of the ethics of science for the sake of science?). In this we learn the origins of Seth, the connection to a heartless pirate named Aldebaran, and the relationship to the planet Umber.
Of course, life is not quite that simple. The crew finds themselves needing to hunt down some resources for Seth to use to improve the ship, and then the crew runs afoul of pirates and the law. Even once that is sorted out, there is a long road for the crew to travel to reach their ultimate goal of freeing Umber.
Overall, my nits about this book are small compared to the first. I think I can count them on less than a hand, and all of which are small — practically easily forgotten, and perhaps not shared by others. So as for what not to like about this, at this point it comes down to waiting for the sequel.
The one scene that stands out in my mind (in a good way) is a visit the crew pays to a pirate colony. The colony has been attacked by assassins, and the scene writing where the crew is in the dance club was utterly creepy. It was some excellent writing (perhaps David showing some Maine influence a la Stephen King?).
My truly personal bias in this book is the exploration of some races and facets of an intergalactic culture of my design. David used these ideas with his aforementioned elaborate creativity and provided an excellent touch — something for me to consider for my own writing!
I look forward to the sequel — the third and final book — and how this story will wrap up.