22 July 2010

Review: Endless Blue, by Wen Spencer

I'm reading a lot of SFR these days, as part of the reading challenge and I can tell you that it's already paid off. Big. I just finished Endless Blue, by Wen Spencer, who has also written a trilogy focused on a young man raised by wolves who has an extraordinary tracking ability, as well as the acclaimed Tinker.

Endless Blue focuses on three people, each of whom has a complex and difficult personal history involving questions of identity and self. Mikhail is a clone and starship captain with enormous shoes to fill and debilitating melancholia. His foster brother, Turk, is a genetically engineered soldier who is caught between the human world and that of the "Reds," a sort of superhuman subspecies which is nevertheless abused and degraded by "real" humans. Paige Bailey is the female captain of a salvage ship who encounters them both when they crash-land on Sargasso following a harrowing jump from normal space.

Part of what makes this book so good is that the excellent characterization is matched by the complex plotting. Mikhail, Turk and Paige band together to figure out what's causing so many starships to jump from normal space into Sargasso and in the process, they discover who and what they truly are. There's a romance subplot, complete with HEA, that I really enjoyed, and several other lesser relationships that nevertheless enrich the plot, the characters and, by extension, the reader.

Endless Blue is fast-paced world-building with a compelling plot and sympathetic characters. And, perhaps as Spencer intended, the reader forgets all about who was cloned, who was bioengineered, and who has hooves instead of feet, because she does such a great job of making them all persons that it really doesn't matter anyway.

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