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Queen of Candesce: Book Two of Virga Mass Market Paperback – December 30, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
Book 2 of 5 in the Virga Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Schroeder's ambitious sequel to 2006's Sun of Suns further explores Virga, the vast enclosed realm containing a miniature cosmos of floating worlds, wheellike townships and intriguing mysteries about the construct's origins and creators. Heated and lit by numerous artificial suns, the individual populations have evolved on divergent paths. When the delightfully amoral Venera Fanning finds herself on Spyre, an ancient and decaying cylindrical world that's slowly breaking apart, and realizes the Key of Candesce could not only unlock the secrets of a long-lost technology but also destroy entire worlds, she inadvertently disrupts Spyre's delicate political balance and rigid cultural mores and ignites a revolution. Comparable to classic SF epics like John Varley's Gaean trilogy and Jack L. Chalker's Well of Souls series, Schroeder's saga is an awe-inspiring example of masterful world-building. A myriad of themes, from rogue artificial intelligences to the evolution of human bodies and culture, make this futuristic epic one to reckon with. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

The ingenuity and inventiveness of Karl Schroeder's miniuniverse has ushered the acclaimed author into the ranks of leading world-builders. In this second chapter of the Virga saga, Schroeder takes a different approach, with mixed reactions from the critics. He largely abandons the worlds and characters introduced in Sun of Suns and focuses on one character, the Machiavellian Venera Fanning, and one place, the world of Spyre. Most critics agreed that Venera was one of the most interesting protagonists in the earlier book, and she shines here, but it is Virga itself that steals the show. Frequent flashbacks and explanations allow the novel to stand alone, but the brisk plot and vivid settings will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Virga (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction; Reprint edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765354543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765354549
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,928,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I still don't think the Virga books are Karl Schroeder's best work. If you're looking for hard, challenging SF, read Ventus, Lady of Maze, and Permanence. But the Virga books are still very entertaining and original, and well-worth your time.

I've read all three of the currently-published Virga books (I understand there is at least one more on the way), and Queen of Candesce is the best. Still, it isn't stand-alone, and must be read in context with the others. If you've read Sun of Suns and aren't quite sure whether you want to continue with the Virga series (which is where I was after reading that book), Queen of Candesce will make you glad you kept going; it is, I believe, the most artistic and thoughtful of the three; more about the characters than about the world of Virga itself.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The setting for QoC is not quite as jaw-droppingly awe-inspiring as Sun of Suns, in that this story takes place almost entirely on a world-cylinder within Virga. (If none of that makes sense to you, then do yourself a favor and read Sun of Suns: Book One of Virga (Virga 1).) But on the other hand, the deeper character building in this sequel makes it quite satisfying in a way that its predecessor did not. So I can confidently recommend both of them, and I look forward to reading the next in the series: Pirate Sun.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is nothing but surprises. You certainly are not expecting who the main character of the book is, not with the circumstances they were left in from the first book in the series. As the story unfolds the author sets you up for what's coming, yet when it arrives it nothing like you are expecting. It's very unlike any other story I have read before. Had me ordering the next book in the series before I had finished this one. A real page turner.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read this a while ago and have since read up to book five. I love the idea of a weightless world and how Schroeder describes it. The various plots are also interesting, especially how crucial lighting the suns are to those who live inside the bubble and need the light and warmth. The characters in this book are drawn more in depth and makes this one of the better books in the series. For a romp through a new and fresh universe, I recommend you read this and then try out the other books in the series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
At the end of Sun of Suns, Venera Fanning, an interesting but not completely sympathetic character, has taken a chance in throwing herself into the gravity-free air of Virga. The air currents have brought her to a vast structure called the Spire, where she is rescued by a disgraced gentleman now living on the outskirts of society. The Spire is a huge cylinder consisting of many independent nations. It contains more gravity-laden land than Venera has ever seen before, but due to its state of ill repair, is in danger of splintering to pieces at any time.

Venera, raised in a highly Machiavellian and paranoid society, is not comfortable staying in a powerless position for long. Through her plots she upends the power structure of one nation and then works her way into being one of the most powerful players in the Spire. During this time, she is also reflective and grows to be loyal to more than just herself.

Of the first three Virga books (I haven't yet read the fourth), this is my favorite due of its focus on character and its well-formed and self-contained story arc. I loved Sun of Suns when I first read it when it came out, but re-reading it now (I found I'd forgotten a lot of the plot!) I can see how his writing has improved in this series. His descriptions of people and the sights of Virga have become more natural and effortless. Of course, some of this may be due to the reader - a gravity-free world is hard to wrap my mind around, but I find I can picture it more and more vividly the longer I spend there.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a well written descendent of Larry Niven's Ringworld and Bob Shaw's Orbitsville. The essential features are an immense, exotic, and technologically formidable habitat in an extrasolar system combined with some kind of action/adventure plot that reveals the interesting features of the habitat and its occupying human societies. Schroeder does well on both counts with an ingenious space habitat and a decently written story line. The habitat is well articulated and the plotting does of a good job of displaying a variety of human cultures occupying the habitat. The plot incorporates a theme of personal transformation on the part of the protagonist that boosts character development.
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