Supernova (Book Two in The Lightless Trilogy) by C.A. Higgins (book review)

July 27, 2016 | By | Reply More

Unlike ‘Lightless’, ‘Supernova’ the sequel has nothing much to do with that book other than the key character which is technically a spoiler if you haven’t read that book first. As she has two other names, ‘Huntress’ and the ‘Mallt-y-Nos’, I’ll use the first of these to identify her.

Supernova

Essentially the Huntress is the head of the colony rebellion against the System, the Earth government who holds military sway on the colony planets and moons. As we only see things from her perspective, we don’t see them or what their aims are other than being in charge and subjugating the various colonists. The Huntress is also extremely ruthless and because author C.A. Higgins treats bombings and such as matter-of-fact, you’re less inclined to realise what kind of mass murderer she is herself. There is barely a reference to this towards the end of the book, suggesting even Higgins didn’t really explore this. No doubt the System itself isn’t exactly spotless but we don’t even read about the people in charge to see their perspective, let alone their activities to make an informed decision on her life choices. As the connection to the first book is barely mentioned, maybe we’ll see something of the System in the third book to discover if they really were as ruthless as the Huntress determines for her active level of attack. I’ve been told that the third book will focus on a couple other characters so quite where that will take you is anyone’s guess.

Even in the future, I doubt if one protocol would have changed. Namely, if you have over 20% loses then you sue for peace or lose everything. Over that is essentially a war crime. The Huntress would certainly qualify for this if she was ever brought to court, assuming there was one left. As Higgins tends to leave things pretty much bloodless, other than announcing the odd annihilation, it’s too easy to think nothing has gone on. Deaths are only numbers unless she brings the odd assassination attempt against the Huntress closer to her home.

When writing a story, it is very easy for writers to treat death, even in war, as a case of numbers. Higgins nonchalant way of dealing with this, focusing on only those closest to the Huntress, tends to be very disturbing. It’s only when you analyse what is going on that you realise this. Bringing it down to personalities and the closest people to her as traitors in infiltrators, I’m surprised she has any friends anyway.

To have a story so one-sided is like having the equivalent of a terrorist book but only seeing the terrorist point of view. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a good thing for any novel. Higgins has under-played this so much that this novel comes over as a normality whereas the implications is you are really reading about a monster who really should be stopped.

About the only thing that wasn’t hurt in this book was a supernova and I’m still baffling over the choice of this title, more so as it has probably prevented any other writer using the title for addressing a real astral phenomenon. Don’t upset her.

GF Willmetts

July 2016

(pub: Del Rey/Ballantine. 384 page hardback. Price: $27.00 (US), $35.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-553-39445-0)

check out website: www.delreybooks.com

Category: Books, Scifi

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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