Revenger by Alastair Reynolds
Illustrated by: N/A
Published: September 15th 2016, Gollancz
Length: 425 pages
Narrated By: N/A
Genre: YA Fiction, Science Fiction, Space Opera, Adventure
Where Did I Get It? I was kindly sent a copy to review after getting all excited about the YALC sampler!
Blurb: The galaxy has seen great empires rise and fall. Planets have shattered and been remade. Amongst the ruins of alien civilizations, building our own from the rubble, humanity still thrives.
And there are vast fortunes to be made, if you know where to find them.
Captain Rackamore and his crew do. It’s their business to find the tiny, enigmatic worlds which have been hidden away, booby-trapped, surrounded by layers of protection–and to crack them open for the ancient relics and barely-remembered technologies inside. But while they ply their risky trade with integrity, not everyone is so scrupulous.
Adrana and Fura Ness are the newest members of Rackamore’s crew, signed on to save their family from bankruptcy. Only Rackamore has enemies, and there might be more waiting for them in space than adventure and fortune: the fabled and feared Bosa Sennen in particular.
Revenger is a science fiction adventure story set in the rubble of our solar system in the dark, distant future–a tale of space pirates, buried treasure, and phantom weapons, of unspeakable hazards and single-minded heroism and of vengeance…
Adrana had always hated Doctor Morcenx. He’d been the family physician since our parents landed on Mazarile, before we were born. He’d been there as Adrana and I grew up, and he’d been there when the plague took our mother.
My Review: Book number four that counts towards my British Books Challenge, Revenger, is apparently Alastair Reynolds’ first foray into YA fiction and overall I think it was a success.
I reviewed the sampler section of Revenger last summer and what I said there still stands – it takes a while to really get going. The world building is great and you have a real sense of place but I found it hard to get drawn into the story until I was a couple of chapters in.
The narrative is written in the first person which makes it very immediate even though it is written in the past tense, and Fura, the narrator, is very clear about doing her best to be honest and impartial which makes her feel like a trustworthy voice.
I did have a few issues with her voice though – she is a well-brought up, educated character and her use on language reflects this until she meets the captain of her first ship and then suddenly space-pirate jargon starts slipping in. This would have been fine if it wasn’t so immediate and intermittent. It sounded forced at times and didn’t flow well at others. It did get picked up on by another character at one point – they accused her of faking the talk to try and cover her roots – but that almost felt like it had been put in to cover it all up. Like the issue had been mentioned in a previous read-through and instead of going through and clearing it up which would have involved a fair bit of re-writing, that scene got plonked in instead to make it look more deliberate. It didn’t feel deliberate to me though.
Whilst I did enjoy Revenger, I found it a touch easy to figure out. I am awful at spotting signposts in stories – I see them on second read-throughs and wonder how on earth I missed them – but I saw every single big twist and reveal coming in Revenger. I don’t know if this was just because I was having an observant day, if it is Alastair Reynolds’ style or if it is a result of him writing his first YA novel and maybe making a bit too much easier to figure out than his adult books. Possibly a combination of all three – I haven’t read any of his adult novels to compare.
This didn’t stop me from wanting to read on and complete the story but it did take some of the anticipation and suspense out of it and made it a bit less compulsive to read – I kept picking other things up between chapters.
An exciting space opera spread over a vast and interesting universe, Revenger is a great sci-fi novel for people new to the genre or who want a read that isn’t too hard work but is still fully immersive in the space-experience. I’d say readers aged 15+ would enjoy it but older readers might find it a touch predictable.
My Rating: 3.5/5*