Book Review: Blood of The Cosmos by Kevin J. Anderson

Blood of The Cosmos
Title: Blood Of The Cosmos (The Saga of Shadows #2)
Author: Kevin J. Anderson
Social Media: Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Source: Book supplied by Collins Booksellers – Bacchus Marsh
Rating: DNF – Did Not Finish

About The Book:
An epic space opera of the titanic conflict of several galactic civilizations against a life-destroying force of shadows, a dark cosmic force that has swept through the undercurrents of the human interstellar empire.The intertwined plots, overflowing with colorful ideas, a large cast of characters, and complex storylines, span dozens of solar systems, alien races, and strange creatures.

As the second book of the trilogy opens, the humans and Ildirans, having narrowly escaped annihilation at the hands of the Shana Rei and their robot allies in Book One, are desperate to find a way to combat the black cloud of antimatter of the Shana Rei. The mysterious alien Gardeners, who had helped them previously, turn out to be a disaster in disguise and because of them, the world tree forests are again in danger. The allies believing they have found a way to stop their dreaded enemies, a new weapon is tested, but it’s a horrible failure, throwing the human race and its allies to the brink of extinction.

The Reasons Why I Did Not Finish This Book:
Character-Orientated Novel Every chapter starts off inside a different character’s head, so there’s a lot of head hopping and a long list of characters to keep track of, the problem is that except for maybe one or two characters, most of the characters aren’t compelling enough to carry the chapter alone, it’s difficult to connect everyone together, I kept asking myself “What is the point of this?”. Some characters, such as Elisa Enturi, have changed drastically from what they were like in book one to fit the bare amount of plot available (more on this later) and it just doesn’t work for me.

God Mode Sue With regards to a character such as Zoe Alakis, I believe the writer has written himself into a corner, Zoe Alakis is what happens when you make your character too powerful. Zoe has unlimited money, power and technology at her disposal. This is all done on purpose due to her psychological problems and need for control, it’s understandable why she behaves the way she does (even though I disagree with it completely), but it remains that I don’t think the author has thought her particular situation all the way through.

I think her psychological issues are handled poorly (are there no therapists in space?) but the author seems to not know how basic copyright laws and intellectual property laws work. Zoe is a character who will never change because there is no reason for her to change and I’m not interested in a character that can’t or won’t grow or develop. She’s powerful enough and wealthy enough so that no outside factor/character can make her change, Tom Rom can make suggestions, but she’s the one in charge.

The King and Queen may be able to put pressure on her to release her information on the prince’s condition, but they can’t make her (she’s protected herself well enough to make sure this can’t happen). There are problems with the efforts and lengths Zoe has gone to protect herself, such as why not use her wealth and power to remove greedy and morally questionable people working in the academics sector in the first place?

Then she could use her money and power to put in charge academics of her choosing. It kind of comes across as anti-intellectual to me. There’s a common theme of characters going “The problem has become too big for me to handle, but I’m not going to do anything about it, in fact I’m going run away and dump the responsibility on someone else” and although Zoe isn’t the only character that does this, the way it’s handled, combined with Zoe’s psychological issues, it comes across as problematic to me.

But Not Too Gay: Xander and Terry are a couple, however, their relationship was written in such a vague way, their interactions borderline “just good friends”, it would be easy for some readers to miss it completely (I missed it in book one). While there are no sex scenes or graphic sexual content involved in the book, every other heterosexual couple is described as participating/displaying basic acts of Public Displays of Affection such as kissing and hugging. The problem with this is that Xander and Terry are never even described as holding hands. I find this problematic and unacceptable.

Continuous Recapping and Back-story: In the first book, The Dark Between Stars, the author spent a lot time giving the reader back-story, character internal monologue about historical events and “As You Know” Moments (which I find irritating and insulting as a reader). In the first book it was barely tolerable, it had been a few years between the last book of the earlier series and the first book of the new series, so some paragraphs of “this is what we’ve done since then” and as I hadn’t read the earlier series it was good to get some background information on these characters.

The problem is that this is book two and the author is still doing this, in fact, the author is recapping events not just from the earlier series but from the previous book. I got to the 50% mark (300 pages) and there is barely any plot and very little momentum with regards to said plot (mythical space creatures that have existed since the beginning of time known as the Shanna Rei are planning on wiping out all of existence).

Weak Plot Elements: There’s an action scene where the Shanna Rei show up at a temple, destroy the light temple, kill lots of people and then leave. There’s barely any explanation about why this temple is attacked (it’s vaguely hinted at because it’s a temple that creates light, it’s therefore a danger to creatures of darkness such as the Shanna Rei). Lots of people die, which is supposed to be a tragedy but the reader doesn’t get to know these random civilians before they’re killed, so their death has no real emotional impact, there also no explanation about why this temple is so special (or maybe they did, but it was so boring I forgot what it was) or why they can’t just build another temple just like it. It kind seemed like the author just wanted an excuse for the exiled Designated Rusa’h to come back.

Another example of weak plot elements is in character Elisa Enturi, Elisa was adamant that her son stay with her no matter what, it was her driving force and motivation throughout the entire book, now as soon as her ex-husband is like “Screw You Guys, I’m Getting Out of Here” and is clearly planning on taking their son with him, Elisa is like “whatever, just take him”, it’s like she only cared about her son because it was plot relevant, not because her son was an essential part of her character.

In conclusion, this book has a lot good character developement and there are lots of sub-plots going on, it’s just these sub-plots don’t clearly connect to the main plot and the pacing of the novel just isn’t fast enough for me. This novel takes a long time to get anywhere, I felt like God from Monty Python and The Holy Grail

Image Description: A cartoon picture of god from Monty Python who appears to be emerging from glowing clouds
“GET ON WITH IT!”

This style of writing is just not something I enjoy and I don’t want to waste anymore time struggling with a book I just don’t enjoy.

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