A Richly Layered Space Opera | Review of ‘The Dark Between the Stars’ (The Saga of Shadows #1)


By Cynthia Ayala

The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson
Tor Books
Image Credit: Goodreads

It’s been twenty years since the elemental war tore through the Spiral Arm. Peace has all but become the norm for the inhabitants of the space. But now an old evil has seeped through the darkness eager to obliterate everything in the galaxy, leaving nothing in its wake. Now humanity must put aside all differences to fight this new foe from the darkness.

Published June 3, 2014, by Tor Books, The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson is the first in his new series The Saga of Shadows, a space opera spin-off of his best-selling series Saga of Seven Suns.

 Kevin J. Anderson has such an amazing talent at science fiction. He is able to create such an expansive universe in a book, believable characters and dynamics and strong storylines, both individually to the characters and overall, creating such an immersive novel.

This isn’t a novel that requires one to read the Saga of Seven Suns, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. This is an entirely new story that provides just enough information on the past to help readers recall what they’ve already read if they read the Saga of Seven Suns, and enough backstory if they haven’t. There’s no wondering, no guessing, just fluid storytelling that allows the reader to follow the current events of the story with ease. And there’s a baseline for understanding who the characters are, new and old, and where they come from. There are some notable favorites in the novel which are very much in the gray are, they aren’t good, but they’re not evil either. There’s a balance in the characterization that draws the reader in, that allows the reader to understand who they are and even sympathize with them on some level. They are simply rich characters, each one as unique as they come, each one suffering in their own way, each one taking into account the world and evolving in so many ways. Not only is that breathtaking, it’s believable, which is probably why it’s so wonderful to read and follow these characters through their distinct narratives. They are believable characters who are so astoundingly recognizable.

As for the story itself, what’s so great about it is the way Anderson went about creating this all-powerful boogeyman. He took something so minor and seemingly inconsequential and debunked bedtime story from the Ildirian’s and blew it up. And the boogeyman here is something to fear. They have such immense power and work in different ways than the antagonists from the previous novels. It works so well because so little is known about them but they have such a clear motivation. They don’t just strike like the Hydrogues but work methodically. Interesting still is they mystery surround them and where they came from. That’s the drive of the novel, the mystery surrounding this new foe.

The Dark Between the Stars has so much going for it. There are layers upon layers of richness that fill up the pages making it such an immersive joy to read. (On a personal note I HIGHLY recommend reading the Saga of Seven Suns just because it provides such a rich back story. You can read now, or later, just read it. They were amazing! | ★★★★☆ |A)

Product Details:

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

Page count: 672pp

Age Range: 15 & Over

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3299-8

Publisher: Tor Books

List Price:  $27.99

Get a Copy:

Kindle eBook $8.99

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