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Arabella and the Battle of Venus (The Adventures of Arabella Ashby) Hardcover – July 18, 2017
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About the Author
David D. Levine is the author of novel Arabella of Mars (Tor 2016) and over fifty science fiction and fantasy stories. His story "Tk'Tk'Tk"won the Hugo Award in 2006, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, and Sturgeon. His stories have appeared in Asimov's, Analog, F&SF, numerous Year's Best anthologies, and his award-winning collection Space Magic. He lives in a hundred-year-old bungalow in Portland, Oregon.
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In this sequel, a lot of familiar faces return and are mixed in with the new. The crew of the Diana is present and is joined by the Touchstone, the privateer that Arabella hires, and its crew. Mixed in to this wonderfully drawn cast are a very real threat as Napoleon and his wars, and the conquests that inspired them, have been remade to fit Arabella’s world of a Victorian space age. Filled with subterfuge on several levels and carefully laid plans, our heroine navigates a story that doesn’t go smoothly in her attempt to free her beloved and his crew.
Still maintaining the humor and level of action of Mars, this addition is a tad darker, maybe because the enemy here is all the more real. Battle of Venus has the same abrupt, but happy, ending as you may have come to expect, with the reader hoping to turn the page and find another chapter, but I wasn’t left disappointed. I am left looking forward to more of Arabella’s adventures with her Captain Singh by her side.
While there was a lot that I enjoyed about Arabella and the Battle of Benus I think the one thing that really stood out the most was how much Arabella grows in maturity over the course of the book. Even though she was the main character I actually found her to be the weakest character in the first book and by far my least favorite. However, in Arabella and the Battle of Venus, I think she really manages to come into her own and shine as a character. I was also both surprised and pleased with how much more action and adventure there was in this book, the fast-paced swashbuckling action really made the book just seem to fly by.
I think I can honestly say that I still find this to be one of the most entertaining series I’ve read in a long time. The concepts of space pirates flying giant sailed ships through space to be completely ridiculous. The whole space travel part of the series makes absolutely no sense and yet works almost perfectly for this story. Honestly, I don’t think the books would be anywhere near as much fun if the ships were designed in a manner more fitting with what you’d expect in a sci-fi book.
As much as I did enjoy Arabella and the Battle of Venus I was really disappointed in how little screen time the majority of the characters from the first book get in this one. Arabella may have become my favorite character in this book but I would really have enjoyed seeing a few more familiar faces. Though there were some great new characters introduced in this book including Napolean himself, which almost makes up for my disappointment.
I definitely see myself recommending this book in the near future, though I think anyone interested in reading it needs to read Arabella of Mars first.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.