BehiND the throNe
released OUT NOW! 406 pages | Paperback/ebook
Author KB Wagers Publisher Orbit
SF may be a genre of ideas, but it also isn’t afraid to throw those ideas aside in favour of pulp thrills sometimes. The space opera subgenre is probably the best example of this, often retooling mythic fantasy in an SF setting (hello there, Star Wars) – but sometimes the process can go a little too far, as is the case in Behind The Throne.
The first in a trilogy, it’s the story of Hail Bristol, a self-reliant gunrunner who’s also the runaway heir to the Indaran Empire. When Hail’s past catches up with her, she’s forced to return to the Imperial Court, where her remaining siblings have died in suspicious circumstances and there’s a dark conspiracy afoot. It’s up to Hail to survive long enough to claim the throne.
While debut author KB Wagers gets some mileage out of Hail’s struggles with her destiny, the world-building is vague and muddled, while the emphasis on courtly intrigue leaves this reading more like a clichéd high fantasy. Despite an interesting kick-ass heroine and a few strong action sequences, Behind The Throne lacks the pulpy invention that makes space opera truly shine. Saxon Bullock
As well as sequels, Wagers is working on a story that’s like “Hitchhiker’s got into a fight with Battlestar Galactica”.