By: S.M. Sterling
After reading The Protector’s War, I was a bit hesitant to continue on with this series of books. But, like many a reader, I cannot stop in the middle of a series and not finish it. Can not do it. And I really am glad that I didn’t stop. Unlike the rather slow, meandering second book, A Meeting At Corvallis gets right to the point.
The Protector’s War, as promised but undelivered by the second book, begins rather early on in the novel. Sterling takes the time to explore a few other intricacies that really could have been left out, but overall does a much better job of staying on plot than he did in the second book. And those of us who were yearning for some closure to the story do indeed get it. Although, it probably isn’t what we all expected. Not exactly anyways.
There are some liberties that are taken with the plot and situation resolutions, and there are the multiple ways of saying the same thing that proliferated throughout the rest of the series. How many ways can you say that a padded hauberk is uncomfortable, but you get used to it? Not really negatives to the novel. More like annoyances.
Sterling does a wonderful job of dropping us right into the action of the multiple battles that take place. He’s wonderfully descriptive with it all and I found myself “seeing” the scene as I read it. There aren’t a whole lot of authors that have that ability with action, but Sterling manages on multiple occasions.
Most importantly, A Meeting at Corvallis falls back to the same style and speed that got me hooked in Dies the Fire. I never felt that I was reading to get it done with and I was constantly trying to find time to read a little bit more and see what happened next. The death of several of the main characters, while expected, didn’t seem to lend as much to the story as it should have. In fact, it felt a lot like one of those movies where you know they left the end open for a sequel if the movie did well at the box-office.
And there are further sequels. I don’t think that was Sterling’s intention, but it was the feeling that I came away with. Now, I just need to get through about 5-6 more novels and find the money to buy the start of the sequel series… The first novel in the sequel series, by the way, is The Sunrise Lands. It takes place about 10 years after the end of A Meeting At Corvallis. Most of the adult main characters have retired and it’s mostly the kids that have taken center stage.
Books in the Dies the Fire (Emberverse) Series: