First impressions when I finished this one was “Oh, please don’t tell me she’s going legit!” Second thought was “What on earth is she going to do now?”
Alliances is definitely the second book in the series. There’s enough references to things that happened in the first one to add a wonderful layer of complexity to the entire tale. This does not mean the book can’t stand on its own, because it can. The references only give it a little extra depth, but are not needed to carry the tale forward.
The plot in this one is as twisty as the first, with much of the expectations for a quick resolution built up at the end of Double Life dashed before you are out of the first chapter. This alone sets up for an interesting ride through Razia’s personal growth, her relations with the pirates, her family’s ongoing issues, and the light romantic interest between Razia and one of her fellow pirates. Add to this a new, strong female who crops up in all the wrong places with all the right words, and the fun that ensues will keep you turning the pages to find out just who’s arguing with whom this time around. That is, if you’re not laughing at the crazy stunts, and ridiculous situations the two women wind up in because one or both can’t keep their mouths (or minds) shut.
The character development keeps pace with the fast moving plot, twisting and turning right along side. About the time you think you’ve figured out which way the personality is going to develop for Razia, it makes a hard turn and heads back into unknown territory. By the end of the book, you are left breathless and wondering just exactly happened. Did Razia actually grow up, did she give up, did she get brow beaten into a cowed fool, did she actually step up to the plate and get the answers she needed from her family, or did she remain stagnate with everything that happened slapping a thin coat of top paint over the cracks and leaving the issues that remain untouched. A wonderful, fun ride through well structured uncertainty.
For the world building – this is where the continuation really shines. The “world” Razia inhabits was well established in Double Life. In Alliances, pieces of her universe are selected and brought in for closer examination. The complexity of the initial world building done in book one is continued and built upon in book two to give a deeper insight into the politics, the physical environment, and the social structure of the inhabited worlds. Also, the focal points for who gathers where is also brought to light, though how these worlds are positioned in relation to each other remains a mystery to my mind. (Are they on the same side of the galaxy, opposite sides, or even in different galaxies?)
Overall, this one definitely goes down in my books as a solid 5 out of five stars. For me, it is very comparable to one of the older Sci-Fi masters such as E. E. “Doc.” Smith or Robert Heinlein. Well done Susan! Only one real question left… When’s the next book due out? I wanna read it!
If you missed the review of Double Life and wish to read that one, click here to read.
If you enjoyed this review, and wish for me to review your own work, please stop by my offered services page and send me a submission. I will gladly consider almost any book. (Fantasy and Science Fiction preferred however.)