Embers of War - Gareth L. Powell

After all the books I've read and reviewed, it feels as though reviewing this kind of book ought to be easier than it is, but what's the shorthand for 'I didn't love this book but I didn't hate it either, still I'm probably not going to pick up any more in the series'?

 

So, Embers of War. A book that promised so much but, for me at least, didn't really deliver. First off, it's written in first person and that is never a good sign - in fact, I think there are reviews I've written where I've talked about how much I enjoyed a book despite it being written in the first person! First person from a number of different characters' points of view, including the sentient warship who first got me interested in reading this book.

 

Essentially the premise of the book is that in the aftermath of a war, which was ended as a result of a genocidal attack (killing soldiers of both sides and the sentient lifeforms from the planet where they were fighting), one of the warships involved has now changed its allegiance to an altruistic organisation that spends its time rescuing everyone. Said organisation is, of course, dramatically underfunded and overstretched. Our former warship gets sent to the sight of a space liner crash, hot on the heels of a mission where one of the crew has been killed and the captain is now, as a result, on borrowed time. 

 

Of course, since otherwise this would be a damn short book, nothing here is quite as it seems. Alongside the humanitarian mission is a more covert one, as one of the liner's surviving passengers is later revealed to be the officer who gave the order for the genocide in question. Likewise, the liner in question and the ship that was the subject of the previous unsuccessful rescue both turn out to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. All of which feels like a very long set-up for the book that comes next in this series, where all the chickens come home to roost, not that I'm going to be reading it...