released OUT NOW! 298 pages | Paperback/ebook
Author John ayliff
Publisher Harper Voyager
How traditional do you like your space opera? Author John Ayliff clearly likes his pretty damn trad, even going so far as to feature a genuine space pirate in his debut novel. However, while this dark SF thriller is sometimes retro to a mind-boggling degree, it’s also a solid mix of character-driven intrigue and adventure.
In a bleak future alien machines known as Worldbreakers have devastated the solar system, destroying every planet. The remnants of humanity now struggle to survive in the remaining asteroid belts, but when runaway clone Jonas has his ship hijacked by pirate Keldra, he’s dragged into her dangerous quest to fight back against the Worldbreakers…
Ayliff’s worldbuilding occasionally lacks freshness, but he counters this by delivering nuts-and-bolts space drama and giving the plot a mounting sense of tension and momentum. His biggest strength is characterisation, with the book’s two protagonists evolving a difficult, believable relationship as the stakes get higher; this leads to a surprisingly emotional climax. A satisfying space opera that’s enjoyable enough to allow you to forgive its occasionally over-traditional flavour. Saxon Bullock