Friday, July 02, 2021

Review Day: Artifact Space by Miles Cameron

There are no major spoilers in this review.

Artifact Space (Book 1 of 2 in the Arcana Imperii duology) is an engaging, accessible foray into "realistic" science fiction by Miles Cameron. My only other experience with Cameron's work was The Red Knight, which I found to be an exciting, yet exhausting, experience. In contrast, Artifact Space had me enthralled and energized to keep reading late into the night.

The book tells the tale of Marca Nbaro, an orphan who finagles her way aboard a merchant greatship to escape her past and present. As the world grows more threatening through the byplay of conspiratorial factions, Marca must grow out of her negative self-perception and distrust of others in order to ensure the survival of her ship and new friends.

Classic sci-fi tropes like alien races, relativistic space travel, and ships controlled by artificial intelligence are prominent. However, the exact proportions of each element are blended together into an amazing worldbuilding smoothie that offers a fresh taste of its many influences. This is an enjoyable mashup of Corey's Expanse series, Card's Ender's Game series, and Whedon's Firefly TV show. The economic undertones and merchant subplots sometimes felt like the cast of Critical Role playing a game of Jaipur.

The author effectively captures the intensity, instability, and uncertainty of the setting while still grounding the plot in a warm bubble of friendship, human perseverance, and positive relationships. The protagonists are worth rooting for and often behave in ways that surprised me, as a reader more used to modern sci-fi books with dark or cynical themes. Some of the supporting characters are not as fleshed out, but "proper name overload" is not nearly as bad as in The Red Knight. The ending is dramatically self-contained enough to satisfy, but big questions remain unresolved that are clearly reserved for the final volume.

This is a book that I would recommend to anyone with a passing interest in sci-fi, especially someone with toes in the water who wants to get into the more meaty stuff. While there may seem to be a lot of technobabble and unexplained terminology up front, the author reinforces the language through repetition and narrative clues that don't interfere with the story's momentum. I was in the right mind space to understand the world and its acronyms just a few chapters in.

Final Grade: B+

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments


Previous Post: End-of-the-Month Highlights Day


Next Post: Independence Day

 

You are currently viewing a single post from the annals of URI! Zone history. The entire URI! Zone is © 1996 - 2021 by Brian Uri!. Please see the About page for further information.

Jump to Top
Jump to the Front Page


July 2021
SMTWHFS
123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
OLD POSTS
Old News Years J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
visitors since November 2003