I grew up in the 80s, when fantasy fiction largely meant the Lord of the Rings-esque fantasy world or the parallel worlds fantasy, the same fantasy setting juxtaposed with the real world. I live in a world that is broader, more complicated, and more importantly, has even more stories to offer that reflect different cultures and perspectives. The most satisfying stories have echoed that philosophy, stretching genre conventions, drawing upon a wider range of cultural traditions and bridging genres. After serving a prison sentence, she gives up the independent work and recruits a crew.

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If you plot them on a spectrum from the time-travel military SF of The Light Brigade to the women-only generation-starship The Stars Are Legion lovingly nicknamed Lesbians in Space , and the gloriously messy bug-punk mercenaries of her Godswar Trilogy that started it all off, Worldbreaker is the most overtly fantasy and the most Epic , but there are still elements one might associate with SF — alternate universes, time travel, satellites, and some very alien flora and fauna, including the types of people and societies.

But it has magic, chosen ones, world-shattering conflicts, politics and everything else you could want from an epic fantasy. Several years, in fact. In a way, it read like debut epic fantasies often do — bursting at the seams with amazing, original ideas, but a bit messy and not always easy to follow. The second volume, in , improved for me on the storytelling, streamlining some of the plot, picking up the pace, and delivering some truly shocking moments.

It left the third and final volume with a lot of heavy lifting to do, though. Which may be why it took five years to get to this point. In that time, of course, Hurley has written two other acclaimed and successful novels, any number of Patreon short stories, and published some award-winning non-fiction as well. Her writing has continued to level up, and her fanbase has swelled. Yes, events from previous books matter, and a lot of long-laid seeds start to bear fruit, but everyone knows what they are dealing with now, so they can act rather than react.

Despite being quite a chonky beast, the book seems a lot sleeker, a lot sharper than the previous two. In fact, you could almost almost! I mean, I know some standalone stories that are just as confusing! So does it pay everything off? You bet it does. We finally learn the secrets of the satellites, the mysteries of the world-breaking temples, and find out the fates of all the characters caught up in this cataclysm — good, bad, and in-between. In fact, the most enjoyment stems from far-flung characters finally coming together like in any good Epic to join forces or not at the final confrontation.

This is grim, gooey, visceral fantasy in an alien setting but with characters who are all too human in their needs, wants, failings, insecurities, and general unreadiness for the roles they need to play. There are no heroes here, but there is heroism. These books do come with challenges.

There are a lot of characters, almost all with alien names from the various original cultures, many of which sound quite similar. Maybe I should have been taking notes, but I generally just go with the flow and muddle along rather than obsess about every detail — and I managed just fine, even after a five-year gap!

Still, if you like your fantasy brimming with not-oft-seen concepts and unusual settings, then you might just revel in this as I did. And yet, at heart, it really is a proper Epic Fantasy, just one that pushes all the boundaries of that venerable genre. If you were waiting for the series to be complete before starting it, well, wait no more! Share this:.



I just could not get into it at all, no matter how hard I tried. That aspect, like much of the work regarding the religious conflict itself, felt like pieces of machinery put carefully together and then not connected up to anything else. I kept waiting for the Chenja internal security forces to swoop in and arrest everybody, but it never happened. The mystery is why she has not used the bel dames. Other women participate in the breeding programmes to ensure a regular supply of new fighters. On her twitter feed last nkjemisin week Hugo Nominated Author N.



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THE BROKEN HEAVENS by Kameron Hurley (Book Review)




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