The Universe After Book 1 by Drew Williams
Published on: August 21, 2018
There’s just something about space battles that I love. Lucky for me this book is chock-full of them, leaving my sci-fi heart feeling pretty good after finishing this story.
In The Stars Now Unclaimed, Jane Kamali is tasked with finding children with special abilities and bringing them back to Sanctum. Years prior to this story the Pulse went through the galaxy sending thousands of worlds back to the dark ages. Some planets, however, were affected more than others. Now it is certain that the Pulse is coming again and Sanctum needs those children with special abilities to help find a way to stop it from doing even further damage. However, Jane is not the only one looking for these children. The Pax want them too, but in the Pax’s case, they do not want the children to help the galaxy – they only to brainwash the children into helping the Pax conquer more worlds. And the Pax will destroy anything in its path to get them.
Every story needs good world-building, but none more so than in the science fiction and fantasy genres. Thankfully, this book delivers. Using an event called the Pulse, the author is able to explore different species, races, and sects and show us who they were and who they are now. The Pulse is like a blanket covering all the planets and species that binds the story together. No race or species was left untouched by the Pulse – they just were each affected differently and each to different degrees. Even if their home world was untouched, the new social order post-Pulse altered everything. It is a unique device to this story and to future stories in this series – not only because of what the potential harm the Pulse can create, but how they continue to recover from it, and the legacy of impact it left on different species.
Regarding the action – there is plenty to enjoy and scattered through-out the entire book, but there is also downtime too where you get a chance to understand the different characters, their species, and their perspectives on a range of subjects, which of course includes the Pulse. As a reader I was pleased to see that the action alternated from battles on planets to battles in space, so that you were never kept in one type of battle too long, while also providing the characters an opportunity to use a diverse list of strategies to obtain their objective and keep themselves alive. The battles were terrific – well written with a sense of urgency, but written in a way that was not only easy to understand but also easy to grasp the important of each strategic objective.
Overall, I found the book to be structured well with good plot pacing. It had everything you could want – space battles, daunting missions, AIs with personality, and even pirates. The characters were relatable in a sci-fi way and the race distinctions were easily understood. I also appreciate how many different avenues the next stories in this series can take. But as much as I enjoyed this book, I do believe language was overly-colorful at times and should have been toned-down in parts. Don’t misunderstand – there were long sections where colorful language was non-existent or at a minimum, but then there would be a few pages with several f-bombs or worse on it that were not able to be easily ignored.
Thank you Netgalley and Tor for this book and the opportunity to review it.