Two Thursday’s ago I lazily posted a review of one of my favorite books, Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer. This series really is a favorite for me and I’ve been thinking about them a lot as I wait for the release of book four. I’m also eagerly anticipating a series re-read prior to release, but I need a release date first. In the meantime, here is my review of book two, Seven Surrenders:
This was a group read with a few of my SFF book club buddies as a follow up to Too Like the Lightning. I think I was able to glean a lot more from it as a group read and it was interesting to see everyone’s different perspectives and take aways on it. If you’re considering this book, and have the opportunity to buddy read it- I highly recommend reading it that way!
I know the first book was very polarizing in that readers either enjoyed it or DNF’d or just didn’t like it at all. I think if you made it through the end of the first book, you owe it to yourself to finish with Seven Surrenders. I really think they should have been sold as one huge Sci-Fi epic. I get why the publishers did it, but I think a lot of readers will miss out on at least the plot related answers we were asking after in book one. Too Like the Lightning does not feel complete without Seven Surrenders. This is part of a four book series overall, but I can tell you that Seven Surrenders does not end on the huge cliff hanger type ending we were given in Book 1.
I don’t have any words to say that could do this book justice. There are too many topics covered. Religion. Individuality. Gender equality. Gender’s purpose in society: whether it is completely learned or innate. Utopia. How society achieves Utopia: what it looks like for humanity as a whole. Morality. Whether a people’s desire for justice and truth, a right to know, to not hide behind closed doors and propaganda, should be first before the safety of the rest of humanity. The greater good and the nature of goodness. Stagnancy vs. Progress. The nature of man. The nature of (G)od.
I don’t mean to say that the author is offering answers to all of these questions, more like, she is imposing these questions to the reader. There are so many complex shades of gray in this story. They are important questions to be asked, and I have to wonder, if as Mycroft would say, Providence hasn’t meant for these books to be released at this time. “Why now?” When Trump rules the USA, firing everyone who doesn’t agree with him. Using his twitter accounts as his own personal form of propaganda. Calling any news channel who dares question him #FakeNews.
This is not an easy novel to digest and I think it will require multiple readings. It will be one of those books that you pick up something different from every time you read it. It is complex and intricate and we often aren’t given the whole picture. People’s motives are unclear and sometimes don’t always make much sense in the context we receive them.
Aside from all the serious things happening, the world building was excellent. There are so many complexities to this society and I still have questions about it. I’m not sure what the difference is between blacklaws and graylaws etc. I don’t understand the nature or purpose of all the Hives. Or precisely how bashes are formed. I’m not sure why The Anonymous is so important and what precisely their contributions are to society.
But most of what I love about these books is the characters. I’m still strangely attached to Mycroft. I’m attached to Sniper. I’m attached to Mother Kosala and Papadelias and Ganymede and am fascinated by all their strange interpersonal relationships. The plot is twisting and turning and once again, whenever you think you have something pegged, another bomb is dropped, another layer peeled away and everything shifts. It’s like trying to solve a rubiks cube. For every shift of one square into place, another face of the cube has changed.
Overall- a fascinating and thought provoking read.
Any other Terra Ignota fans out there? Let me know if you can recommend me something similar!