BooksOfTheMoon

Confluence (Linesman, #3)

By S.K. Dunstall

Rating: 5 stars

After a comparative slow down in the previous book, I’m pleased to see that the Dunstalls are cooking with gas again (or should that be, have a strong line ten?). This book sees main series protagonist Ean Lambert have to deal with increasingly impatient ships who want crews, his bodyguard Radko being sent off on a special mission, and intrigue from his own side.

The Linesman books have always had secondary PoV characters, and I was pleased to see that in this one it’s Radko, who’s been a constant presence in the previous books. She starts off with family problems and to get her away from those, her commanding officer puts her in charge of a team and sends her off on a covert mission. She’s as competent in the field as she’s been by Ean’s side and it’s a pleasure to spend some time in her head (as often worrying about the kind of trouble Ean will get into without her as the matter in hand).

There’s a lot of politics again here, but I felt more on top of it than in Alliance, although I’m not sure why. The machinations of the Emperor Yu against what is nominally his own side should have been headache-inducing, but I felt that it was very readable. Various plot strands that have been building for several books now come together here as well. Oh, and although the previous books have been pleasingly romance-free, that streak gets broken here. It’s not unexpected, but it did feel a bit predictable

Spoiler
(Ean/Radko, I mean; Michelle/Abram felt inevitable and has interesting consequences).

There’s several plot threads still available for future books to weave, but this felt like a satisfying conclusion to a trilogy. I’m happy with where it ended up, but will happily buy and read more books in the series, if they get written (*cough*aliens*cough*).

Edit September 2020: upgrading from 4-stars to 5 this time round, to reflect how much darn fun I had reading it, despite the comments above (which still stand).

Book details

ISBN: 9780425279540
Publisher: Ace Books
Year of publication: 2016

Alliance (Linesman, #2)

By S.K. Dunstall

Rating: 4 stars

Ean Lambert is trying hard to unravel the mysteries of the lines, now that he’s discovered that they’re actually sentient, and the New Alliance is trying hard to to keep their alliance together and find and train crew for the fleet of new alien ships that Lambert uncovered at the end of Linesman. Into this comes Captain Selma Kari Wang, broken and grieving, who is thrust, unwilling, into the limelight and given command of one of the new ships.

Although Linesman was pretty political, this book feels like it turns that up to eleven (no pun intended). Ean has to work through layers of politics and politicians trying to keep the fragile New Alliance happy while also trying to help determine a threat that wants to destroy everything they have built. While politicking can be fun, I felt a bit lost at times, trying to keep up with who was allied to whom at the moment and who’s double-crossing who. The mysterious enemy was more interesting to me, as was the slow rehabilitation of Captain Kari Wang. She starts of as a broken woman (the link between a captain and their line ship is very strong) as the only survivor after her ship is destroyed but we see the strength in her, and it’s nice to see her develop as a character.

The major flaw for me in this book was that the ending was very low-key. I guess that’s middle-book syndrome all over, but it felt like there were lots of plot hooks flapping around without a hugely satisfying resolution. Still, that’s all the more reason to move straight on to volume three.

Book details

ISBN: 9780425279533
Publisher: Ace
Year of publication: 2016

Linesman (Linesman, #1)

By S.K. Dunstall

Rating: 5 stars

Human spaceships travel the stars by means of the lines. And the lines are maintained by the linesmen. Ean Lambert is a linesman of the highest order, although one shunned by his fellows for his low origins and self-taught ways, not to mention his eccentric nature of singing to the lines. But now a mysterious force has appeared in the galaxy which may rewrite everything we know about the lines, and ignite a political bonfire that Ean won’t be able to put out with song.

I loved this book. The worldbuilding is pretty good, with the political factions being laid out for us and Ean’s own history being revealed slowly, over time. Ean started off a bit watery but is moulded by events and people around him and grows substantially as a character. The others around him don’t necessarily fare so well, though, and I couldn’t get over the way that the princess royal (and heir to the throne) took him under her wing as she did.

Despite all that, the plot cracks along apace and is huge amounts of fun. The alien ship eventually reveals (some of) its secrets but opens up wider questions about the nature of the lines and the wider galaxy at large. Unusually for me, I’ve already ordered both the other books in the series in one go and I suspect they’ll end up pretty near the top of the to-read pile.

Edit September 2020: I’m upping this from 4 to 5 stars on a reread, because although the niggles are still there, it’s just so much fun to read.

Book details

ISBN: 9780425279526
Publisher: Ace
Year of publication: 2015

Powered by WordPress