The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency #2)
By: John Scalzi
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
The Interdependency, humanity’s interstellar empire, is on the verge of collapse. The Flow, the extra-dimensional conduit that makes travel between the stars possible, is disappearing, leaving entire star systems stranded. When it goes, human civilization may go with it—unless desperate measures can be taken.
Emperox Grayland II, the leader of the Interdependency, is ready to take those measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But nothing is ever that easy. Arrayed before her are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth—or at the very least, an opportunity that can allow them to ascend to power.
While Grayland prepares for disaster, others are preparing for a civil war, a war that will take place in the halls of power, the markets of business and the altars of worship as much as it will take place between spaceships and battlefields. The Emperox and her allies are smart and resourceful, but then so are her enemies. Nothing about this power struggle will be simple or easy… and all of humanity will be caught in its widening gyre.
Yaaaaah, book two! I enjoyed the first book in the trilogy, The Collapsing Empire (review), so I was curious to see how things panned out for the characters after the end of the book. Contains some spoilers ahead!
It’s pretty interesting how, as the Interdependency is faced with potentially its end, that many characters in positions of power continue to vye and compete and conspire to control, to maintain the status quo, to restore their own power, to overthrow the emperox. It’s insane! Every time it turned back to the conspirators it was like Umm, this isn’t the priority right now. And yet you know in instances like this that this is exactly how some people would respond: some wouldn’t believe the news and others would solely be focused on their own gain. Frustrating, but very human. So it was quite satisfying when House Nohamapetan finally received its eventual comeuppance (as was Emperox Grayland II’s final word on the matter; that was a very “Go girl!” moment ahahahaha and probably my favourite line in the entire book).
Marce Claremont’s storyline was also interesting as he led an expedition to another system that was long cut off from the Interdependency. His storyline was actually a little harrowing because there’s so much danger, so much uncertainty out there…There was this one chapter early on where they were studying the remnants when they picked up a source of energy, a ship, somewhere nearby and it was like DDD= Not to mention the conspiracies from back at the centre of the Interdependency catching up with him at the edge of the unknown.
It was great to continue following many of the characters from the first novel. There were some revelations along the way, and it was interesting to see Cardenia grow into her role as emperox and dealing with the conspiracies and politics around her. It was also cute to see her and Marce’s relationship develop; rooting for these two to pull through in the end, really, lol. Lady Kiva’s role is still important in this book, especially in relation to being a very important ally for the emperox, but her role still felt a bit muted compared to the previous novel. Nonetheless she is a source of colour and forcefulness in this book, and definitely a force to be reckoned with, even if she is dealing with uncovering the extent of House Nohamapetan’s activities.
Overall I enjoyed readin The Consuming Fire. It was just as quick-paced as the first novel with more revelations along the way. I can’t wait to read how everything turns out in the final novel.