Author: David Macinnis Gill
Genre: YA, sci-fi
Release Date: March 2012 (expected)
Summary: Obsessed with MUSE, the clandestine project that created the AI in his brain, mercenary chief Durango draws the ire of the government when he steals part of the secret project data and hightails it with his lieutenant, Vienne, to an ancient monastery. There, he meets the monks who raised Vienne from an orphan and also encounters soldiers working for his old nemesis, the crime lord Mr. Lyme. Lyme controls the territory surrounding the monastery, as well as the datacenters housing the rest of MUSE.
Undeterred, Durango and Vienne pull off an ill-advised raid on Lyme’s complex. During the ensuing battle, however, Vienne is captured, and Durango is beaten and left for dead. Now, wounded and shaken, Durango must overcome bounty hunters, treacherous terrain, a full scale civil war, and a warrior monk with an eye for vengeance (not to mention his own guilt, self-doubt, and broken arm) to find Vienne and free her from Archibald, a brain-washing pyromaniac with a Napoleon complex who wants to rule Mars–and kill Durango in the process.
☆: 5/5 – a fantastic follow-up to the first book!
Review: Damn, middle books of 2012! There’s almost no middle book syndrome for any of the #2s in series I’ve read so far this year, and that’s awesome. “Invisible Sun” is no exception to that, either – it was absolutely fantastic and I feel like Gill grew leaps and bounds with this book compared to the first book (and his debut) “Black Hole Sun”. This brings back the Space Western and generally gave me warm fuzzies because it was so great. If you’re going to read a Space Opera/Space Western this year, you’re going to have to make it “Invisible Sun”!
I was really surprised at how far Gill’s come from the first book. Where it dragged in parts of the first book, this second book didn’t drag in any places whatsoever and was so finely tuned and airtight it really surprised me. I literally could NOT put it down and finished it within a few hours. Durango and Vienne felt so much more rounded out as MCs this time – they really did feel like real people. The villains this time around were far more tangible and uglier than ever, too. While we don’t really get to see the major Big Bad (Mr. Lyme) too much throughout this book, by the end some of the other characters we did see (Rebecca, for one) really starts to make us wonder as an audience if Durango’s an unreliable narrator, or if the Big Bads really are that cunning. Maybe it’s a bit of both, because all of those reveals knocked me on my ass and left me begging for more.
One thing I will definitely say – I feel like I was hearing the voices of a younger Mal, Zoe, and Kaylee from “Firefly” when reading this – Mal being Durango, Zoe as Vienne (though in “Firefly” there is no romantic aspect to that, and in “Invisible Sun”, there is), and Mimi as Kaylee. I love it when this sort of thing happens, and it’s really rare that it does. There’s a very Whedonesque feeling to the whole thing – the fact that both Asia and the Western World colonized other planets in the future, the way language is used (especially when it comes to swearing – and the Japanese was accurate! Holla!), and the general space western theme. However, it feels like Gill really made his characters his own this time around, and I ended up loving this volume way more than the first because all of these characters really do have their own voices so much more developed. The sensory language improved by leaps and bounds, the settings were breathtaking, and the brawls even more fun than ever. By making his characters go on extremely uncomfortable journeys, he makes them grow, and the character development arc (which is essential in any book), which seems like it’s starting to falter a bit in YA, is really really strong here. Gill also isn’t afraid to torture the hell out of his characters (both physically and mentally) and in my book, that makes him awesome as an author.
I don’t think I can gush about this book enough. Really. It was that good.
But the big reveal leaves room for book 3, and you know what? I’m excited. Really excited. I know that I say I’m sick of series, but there are a few exceptions to the rule, and the “Black Hole Sun” series is definitely one of those exceptions. Especially when the biggest of big reveals concerning how Durango and Vienne met as well as who Mr. Lyme REALLY is (and the final fight scene between Vienne, Stain, and Durango is pretty insane, too!) are laid out – Gill has laid out his cards and quite well. I don’t know if book 3 will be the final book, or when it’ll even be out, but since the first book was out in 2010, it may be another 2 years before we get another one. And the wait is going to be agonizing.
But for now, we have these first two books. “Invisible Sun” is out March 27, 2012 in North America from HarperTeen. If you like space westerns, regular westerns, or stuff on Mars – this is the book for you. But I highly recommend this and it’s made my best of 2012 so far list, so PLEASE go out and read it when you can!
So, uh, can I have that last book now?