- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Orbit (February 28, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316555568
- ISBN-13: 978-0316555562
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 256 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Revenger Paperback – February 28, 2017
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From School Library Journal
If Pirates of the Caribbean were set in a galaxy far, far away, you might have the tale that unfolds for teenage Arafura. Caught up in her sister Adrana's plans, Arafura agrees to join the crew of a ship as a Bone Reader, one who can give and receive messages through telepathy. The ship is attacked by the dreaded Bosa Sennen, who captures Adrana and sets the gears in motion for revenge. The plot holds few twists, and more mature readers may become frustrated by the sudden and unbelievable resurrection of Paladin, the loyal family robot. There are some scenes of graphic violence, but they are balanced by Arafura's wry humor, the development of a new friendship, and her heroic quest. The straightforward writing will appeal to young adults, even though the story is less than thought provoking. VERDICT For those seeking a quick sci-fi adventure that leaves room for a sequel.—Pamela Schembri, Horace Greeley High School, Chappaqua, NY
"A swashbuckling thriller--Pirates of the Caribbean meets Firefly--that nevertheless combines the author's trademark hard SF with effective, coming-of-age characterization."
"Revenger is classic Reynolds-that is to say, top of the line science fiction, where characters are matched beautifully with ideas and have to find their place in a complex future. More!"―Greg Bear
"Alastair Reynolds [is] one of the leading lights of the New Space Opera Movement . . . . Revenger is tremendous fun." ―Locus
"Reynolds has sketched in a galaxy littered with the relics of former civilizations (human and alien), with plenty left to the reader's imagination, and room for a sequel."―Library Journal
"An expert mix of the fantastical and horrific."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A blindingly clever imagining of our solar system in the far flung future."―The Sun
"A rollicking adventure yarn with action, abduction, fights, properly scary hazards, very grisly torture and even ghosts of a sort."―The Daily Telegraph
"By far the most enjoyable book Reynolds has ever written."―SFX
"The World of Revenger is undeniably fascinating, and with Reynolds as your storyteller, a journey into it is definitely worthwhile."―SciFiNow
Top customer reviews
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Adrana and Arafura Ness are sisters and when the precocious and disaffected Adrana formulates a plan to escape what she sees as their cloistered life on Mazarile, she drags into Arafuna into the adventure.
The setting is 'elsewhere' in the universe where a million little worldlets, most with what seem to be black holes in their cores generating gravity, orbit - or not, that aspect wasn't clear to me - a dying sun. It could be the future, it could the past but the main population is human with a smattering of alien races to spice things up and some robots for menial tasks. There have been a succession of civilizations, each of which has left remnants behind, including the fact that many of the worldlets are hidden by energy barriers that power up and down on irregular cycles. Predicting when these 'baubles' are accessible and then plundering the treasures that remain is a common way of life for the crews of various ships that ply the spaces between the worlds. The fact that those worlds are weeks apart and that the ships use solar sails for propulsion only adds to the claustrophobic nature of the novel, both in physical space and psychological impact.
Reynolds' milieu includes high-tech artifacts that are essentially magic to the current generation, and it is Adrana's and Arafura's ability as Sympathetic's that make them attractive new recruits for Captain Rackamore, a ship owner looking for a new "Bone Reader" to complement his crew. The Bones are left behind communications gear that humans of a certain age can interface with, though the message protocol is decidedly vague so Bone Readers apply a degree of interpretation to whatever is coming in over the wire.
Arafura - or "Fura Ness" as she proudly declares herself - is the protagonist of "Revenger" and the story is told first person from her point of view. It is a story of adventure, and personal discovery, and revenge and redemption, and I felt that Fura carries the spark of Reynolds' excellent character Ilia Volyova from "Revelation Space". That is no bad thing because, like Ilia, Fura is a well rounded character with the mettle to do what needs to be done and sufficient empathy to distress over the very same.
Now I do have to say that the opening sequence is gentle compared to what follows, and it might suggest a certain YA direction to the book. Don't be mislead, this is adult sci-fi with moral ambiguities, sudden and graphic violence, and subtle curves of plot that zing around later to hook you.
Simply put, if you enjoyed early Reynolds then I suspect you will enjoy "Revenger". It is complicated, has lots of interesting characters - and many of them die, gotta appreciate an author who is comfortable with that - logically builds to a climax and closes out as a single story...though includes potential for a sequel or two if need be. And I hope there is a sequel because unlike the star spanning adventures of the Akinya family in Reynolds previous run of novels, I found this tightly bound universe compelling.
Alastair Reynolds’ Revenger was a surprisingly fun read. It’s clear why Reynolds has the devoted following he’s gathered – not many authors could have written as emotionally laden a narrative for their characters while still keeping it light, or described as complex and detailed a universe while still keeping it engaging. He’s done all of this and more with Revenger, and after reading it I’m definitely a Reynolds fan.
However, I do think it worth noting that I was far more capativated by the world Reynolds created here than I was interested in the main characters and their journey. I have my suspicions as to why that is, but I’ll say it definitely wasn’t any flaw in the depth or relatability of the characters. Fura Ness and her sister, the pirates on the ship they join, and all the people we as readers encounter all feel alive and full – another credit to Reynolds’ writing.
“That’s the wonder and frustration of it, Arafura – fifty million prizes, and we’ll never know most of them before our time is done.”
“Our time,” I said with a little shiver. “You think it will end?”
The job Adrana and Fura take on at the beginning of their journey is an excellent example of what excites me so about the way the universe in Revenger is described. They’re hired to be “Bone Readers”, a job filled in equal measure by mysticism and hum-drum reality. Everything about life with the pirates is filled with this same balance, and it comes down to the reality of living in a very old universe populated by waves of people whose artifacts have outlived their knowledge not by generations, or centuries, but by civilizations. Reynolds spins this balance into silk thread, pulled taught by the opposing forces of the mystery of civilizations past and the necessary reality of making common, everyday life among (and from) their remains.
One of the things I most like about Reynolds’ writing style, and which really adds great enjoyment for me, is the way he names things. His vision of humanity throughout the universe is wonderfully illustrated through the way his humans name their surroundings*, their societies*, and of course the way they refer to aliens*.
Still, the most astounding thing to me is the way Reynolds builds a rich, rare, and gripping universe and backs it by history, society, and science – and introduces it to us through a narrative that never gets bogged down by the weight. It’s like he’s performing some kind of magic, and I’m looking forward to reading more of his work with an eye to his worldbuilding (perhaps 2018’s Elysium Fire).
The past is all we have. The least we can do is make the most of it.
*This would be the perfect place to provide examples, but the risk of spoilers is just too great. Please accept my apologies.
Most recent customer reviews
This book has a wonderful MC in Ara, she's smart and tough and no one better stand in her way.Read more