The Mercy of Gods

Orbit. (The Captive’s War, Bk. 1). Aug. 2024. 432p. ISBN 9780316525572. $30. SF
The creative duo behind the renowned “The Expanse” series return with an equally impressive space opera, featuring an intergalactic war with overwhelming stakes. Dafyd Alkhor is a research assistant to a biology team full of the brightest minds. His team believes that the worst they have to face is colloquy politics and research drama, but then they are invaded by the Carryx—terrifying, impassive alien overlords that enslave all species they deem lesser than themselves. Petty social intrigue escalates into a desperate fight for survival as the novel follows the survivors of the invasion, who will only last for as long as they are useful. This is an intelligent and innovative sci-fi epic with infinite scope that somehow never overshadows the small moments of human vulnerability and courage as the characters endure ruthless subjugation. They are challenged by impossible choices, and their struggle demonstrates how people are at both their best and their worst when all seems hopeless. The novel’s distinctive portrayal of alien species also provides a unique perspective that is downright chilling.
VERDICT Nail-biting suspense makes for an engaging and compulsively readable intro to yet another ambitious series from this writing team.
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