Gareth L. Powell's Light of Impossible Stars was published by Titan Books in February 2020.

About Gareth L. Powell:

Gareth L. Powell was born and raised in Bristol, and his early mentors included Diana Wynne Jones and Helen Dunmore. His novels have twice won the BSFA Award, and been finalists for both the Locus Award in the US and the Seiun Award in Japan. He is probably best known for his acclaimed ‘Trouble Dog’ space opera series, which includes the novels Embers of War, Fleet of Knives, and Light of Impossible Stars. He is a popular guest and speaker at conventions and literary events, and can often be found on Twitter @garethlpowell giving free advice to aspiring authors.

Click here to visit his official website.

About Light of Impossible Stars:

Award-winning author Gareth L. Powell delivers an explosive conclusion to his epic Embers of War trilogy.

Low on fuel and hunted by the Fleet of Knives, the sentient warship Trouble Dog follows a series of clues that lead her to the Intrusion - an area of space where reality itself becomes unstable. But with human civilisation crumbling, what difference can one battered old ship have against an invincible armada?

Meanwhile, Cordelia Pa and her step-brother eke out their existence salvaging artefacts from an alien city. But when Cordelia starts hearing the city's song in her head, strange things start happening around her. What extraordinary affinity does she have for this abandoned technology, and how can it possibly help the Trouble Dog?

REVIEW: LIGHT OF IMPOSSIBLE STARS BY GARETH L. POWELL

Gareth L. Powell's Light of Impossible Stars is the final novel in the Embers of War series of space opera novels about the sentient warship Trouble Dog and its crew. It's an excellent sequel to Embers of War and Fleet of Knives, because the author delivers a satisfying conclusion to his trilogy. This novel brings back the familiar characters from the previous novels and continues their story.

The Embers of War trilogy has quickly become one of my favourite modern space opera series, because it's entertaining, captivating and fluently written. Unlike many other new space opera series, this trilogy has a fine balance between style and substance, and it's an enjoyable and fulfilling reading experience. I'm sure that this trilogy will please readers who enjoy Frank Herbert's first Dune novel, Neal Asher's novels and Iain Banks' Culture novels, because it has similar kind of elements and the events are intriguing. It may also appeal to those who enjoy John Scalzi's novels.

What makes the whole trilogy and this final novel special is the author's skillful writing style. The author has created a story that is both adventurous and entertaining yet satisfyingly deep and gritty.

This novel begins with Trouble Dog and its crew resting and recuperating after being forced to flee human space. While trying to stay hidden from the Fleet of Knives, they're heading towards a dangerous and unstable place, a region of space known as the Intrusion where a wormhole has been punched through the fabric of reality... Cordealia Pa and her step-brother, Michael, are salvaging artefacts and alien techonology from an ancient alien city. When they find themselves being outdoors after curfew and being chased by security troops, they are saved by strange people. Cordealia is taken away by them and has to leave her old life behind. As Cordelia's journey begins and she learns new things, she finds out why she hears strange songs in her head and realises her destiny...

This premise sets the stage for a rewarding endgame that will please readers. The author has a few surprises in store for his readers and he delivers a satisfying ending to the vast story arc.

One of the best things about this novel is that the characterisation is excellent and works well. Each of the characters is well-realised and the author reveals how what they've been through has affected them and how they cope with changes.

Sal Konstanz, the Captain of the Trouble Dog, leads her crew as well as she can under the difficult circumstances. Although she appears to be strong and confident, deep down she is not as strong or courageous as one might think, but she has a job to do. She misses her comrade, Alva Clay.

Cordealia Pa is an interesting character, because she is suddenly taken away from the place that she has thought of as home. She and her step-brother scraped a living by being scavengers, but when she gets aboard the ship called Gigolo Aunt, her whole life begins to change and she learns new things. She hears strange songs in her head, but doesn't know why she hears them.

I was intrigued about how the author writes about the Trouble Dog and her development, because the ship learns new things and undergoes personal growth. This is one of the little things that impressed me about the story.

Nod the Druff is one of my favourite characters in this trilogy. Now, he still works as a mechanic aboard the Trouble Dog and dreams of his planet's World Tree, but he also has his thirteen offspring to look after.

I was positively surprised when I noticed that in this novel the author explores the Druff and their view of the world in a deeper way. It was fascinating for me to read about the Druff and their home world, because the author revealed interesting things about them. There's something about the Druff that is both irresistibly endearing and loveable, because they're a peaceful race who are excellent at fixing ships and have a surprisingly philosophical way of thinking about certain things.

What is revealed about the Intrusion and Cordelia Pa is captivating. It was fascinating to read about the Intrusion and how Cordelia Pa had an important role to play in the endgame, because there's a sense of mystery surrounding the Intrusion and its existence.

The author writes fluent and gripping prose. I like his writing style, because he has a way of pulling the reader into the story by concentrating on the right elements: characterisation, epic happenings and plot development. One of the things that I like about his writing style is that he has plenty of imagination and he knows how to use it (the story is wonderfully imagnative, but wholly coherent and well-created).

The dialogues between the characters are excellent. Some of the phrases the author uses are quite memorable and perfectly fit the events in which they are used. I especially enjoyed the dialogues between Sal Konstanz and the Trouble Dog.

One of the things why I hold this novel in high regard is the author's way of writing about grief, loss, remorse and transgender issues. I admire the author's fluent and skillful approach to these elements.

I'm pleased to say that Gareth L. Powell's Light of Impossible Stars is every bit as good and rewarding as I had hoped it would be. I highly recommend this novel to readers who love epic science fiction novels, because it has excellent characterisation, plenty of imagination and originality, complex story arc and a pleasing amount of action seasoned with stylistic storytelling and surprises. What more could you possibly hope to find in a space opera novel?

Highly recommended!

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