Sunday Book Review: "Sun of Suns"

Toronto author Karl Schroeder's new book is described as a "far-future steam-punk space opera with pirates!" But "Sun of Suns" is actually just good, old-fashioned pulp that takes place in an incredible setting. It is a story about revenge and ambition, about the mistakes made in pursuit of both. Needless to say, I liked it.

It takes a while to understand the world that Schroeder has created but it's ultimately worth the effort. By the book's second half, the story is ripping along. It might just be my recent bouts of insomnia talking but I found his writing evocative to the point of hallucination. The guy can really put you in the middle of a space-pirate battle.

The characters took me about the same amount of pages to like or, really, to believe in. At first they seemed clichĂŠd and thin but, as the book wore on, they developed into realistic people. Schroeder has a light touch and he is adept at slowly adding dimension to his settings and people. The details trickle in.

Perhaps this is because "Sun of Suns" is not a stand alone book but the first part in his "Virga Trilogy." I had quit reading trilogies because they read like one long novel broken up into three volumes. But Schroeder is astute enough to resolve the main conflicts of this first book while laying the basis for the next one. He leaves you hanging without leaving you wanting. That's a rare trick in a book full of rare tricks.

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