Genre: Science Fiction/Space Opera
Hardcover: 320 pages
Audio: 8 hours and 19 minutes
This one is going to be short, and pretty much to the point.
You know all of those times when you highly anticipate a sequel and then are immediately let down? Yeah, this is one of those.
First things first: I LOVE Will Wheaton’s narration. He makes each and every novel even better with his spoken word, but it wasn’t enough to force my hand into giving more love.
Beginning on the heels of The Collapsing Empire, The Consuming Fire takes us on a journey that, well, reminds us of what happened in Book 1 and adds some ooohs and aaahs along the way. The Flow [for recapping purposes: since the universe is still bound by the laws of physics (no faster than light travel), Scalzi has introduced a network between connected systems to create quick travel pathways. All pathways go through the Interdependency, aptly named because all settlements connected via The Flow need one another for survival] is dissipating and the systems connected are starting to feel the effects.
While Emperox Grayland II, the leader of the Interdependency, attempts to help the billions that will surely be wiped off the board, others who believe that all of this talk is for political gain ensure that their own agendas are met. Everything becomes a power struggle and it is up to key players to root out a way to win and save humanity.
I can’t quite tell if the letdown was how friggin short this book was or the fact that there just wasn’t much “wow” factor to it. The political machinations, sciency tidbits, and love of how The Flow was created/operates keep The Consuming Fire an interesting and intriguing read, but it suffers hugely from 2nd book syndrome. Not enough truly happens and a lot of what Scalzi is forcing into the book (very progressive ideals) come across like he is trying too hard.
I’m hoping Book 3 isn’t a letdown, but I’ll give it a go when it releases; if only for another Wheaton performance and to see how the series ends (if it does).