My last book that I reviewed here was A Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Nietz, and I gave it a resounding six out of five. It is, however, only the first in a trilogy, only the first two of which are published so far (hopefully the last one will come out later this year). I have the first two, and I can’t wait.
The second one is called The Superlative Stream (of course also by Kerry Nietz, duh). Now, sequels are hard to do. And trilogies are also rather hard to pull off (though I have seen more successful trilogies than sequels). There are several ways to go about it: you can just continue the story you started in the first books, which means each book kinda has an incomplete story arc, which is annoying, or you can make each one have a unique story plot, while loosely linking them together in an overall story arc.
The former is more like one book severed into three volumes. The Lord of the Rings is like that, but people rarely read them individually because it is so obvious they don’t stand alone (although he was able to create individual story arcs for each book as well, which is amazing).
The latter is kind of like beads on a chain. They are related, but not one unified whole. Stephen Lawhead‘s The Dragonking Saga is like that to a degree.
One way is not necessarily better than the other way: each has its own unique challenges and blessings.
But Kerry Nietz did ’em both (or at least he has done this so far).
I won’t give away the plot, which is marvelously and beautifully woven, but the way he did it was more like weaving many threads together on a wristband. It has definable sections that stand somewhat alone, but are very much obviously a part of the whole. Each one has its own personality, character, and design, but each one is a part of the structure of the whole. That said, don’t read The Superlative Stream until you have read A Star Curiously Singing: it won’t be nearly as good otherwise. But you are going to get that anyways, right? 😉
The Superlative Stream answers some questions about A Star Curiously Singing, but it also creates some more, while preparing the main characters to be hurled right back into a struggle that looks to be of epic proportions and magnetic awesomeness (magnetic in that you won’t be able to set it down, not that magnets will be fighting each other or anything).
Like A Star Curiously Singing, it also delves into fascinating theological and philosophical concepts in a dramatic and clear way, demonstrating some powerful truths about many things, including belief. I like the way Kerry consistently develops the main character, integrating doubt and struggles without voiding the steps forward that he has taken in the previous book. I hate it when people mess that whole thing up, and Kerry doesn’t.
And I love Dark Trench. Brilliant way to make a great character out of an AI being without violating the fact that he is indeed AI, and not human. Perfectly done.
So again, six out of five, on all points. Go get it. 😀