Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: Edge of Dark by Brenda Cooper

Edge of Dark
AuthorBrenda Cooper
Series:  The Glittering Edge 1
Publisher:  Pyr, March 3, 2015
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 399 pages
List Price:  $18.00 (print)
ISBN:  9781633880504 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

What if a society banished its worst nightmare to the far edge of the solar system, destined to sip only dregs of light and struggle for the barest living. And yet, that life thrived? It grew and learned and became far more than you ever expected, and it wanted to return to the sun. What if it didn't share your moral compass in any way?

The Glittering Edge duology describes the clash of forces when an advanced society that has filled a solar system with flesh and blood life meets the near-AI's that it banished long ago. This is a story of love for the wild and natural life on a colony planet, complex adventure set in powerful space stations, and the desire to live completely whether you are made of flesh and bone or silicon and carbon fiber.

In Edge of Dark, meet ranger Charlie Windar and his adopted wild predator, and explore their home on a planet that has been raped and restored more than once. Meet Nona Hall, child of power and privilege from the greatest station in the system, the Diamond Deep. Meet Nona's best friend, a young woman named Chrystal who awakens in a robotic body….

Trinitytwo's Point of View

Centuries ago, humans created sophisticated AIs, and upon realizing their own inferiority banished them beyond the outer ring of the solar system in the cold dark of space with hopes that they would not survive. Now, the Next, as they call themselves, have returned. During their period of banishment they evolved and have become even more powerful than humans could have imagined. Their first show of supremacy is an efficient and coldblooded takeover of the space station High Sweet Home. Resident Chrystal Peterson, a bioengineer, finds her life is irrevocably altered the moment her home is targeted. Nona Hall has lived a privileged life that lacks purpose until she learns Chrystal and her family are on the space station that was assimilated. Loyal Nona will push her limits and use her considerable resources to try and rescue her childhood friend. Charlie Windar, a ranger and Nona's guide on the wild planet Lym, will do anything to protect the untamed beauty and raw force of nature that is his birthplace. No one is sure what the Next's ultimate goal is, but with an adversary this powerful, how will humankind preserve their way of life, and at what cost?

When I began Edge of Dark I didn't realize that Cooper had written her prior duology, The Creative Fire and The Diamond Deep, in the same universe. However, not having read either of these novels didn't impede the story for me in the least. It is a riveting human drama that asks significant philosophical questions. Having already created this universe it's no surprise Cooper's world-building is superb; whether she is describing Lym's crashing waves or the seemingly endless tubes, tunnels and habitats of space stations, the author paints a clear picture for her characters to interact in. Three main characters' POVs propel the story and each are very distinctive and unique. I really identified with Charlie whose passion for the wild land and its beasts motivates him to step out of his comfort zone to fiercely protect and preserve its wildlife. Nona, is the weakest of the trio, but her character comes across as likeable and authentic. But it is Chrystal whose bravery and compassion tugs at my heartstrings and is brilliantly unforgettable. I feel this book has all the elements that are important in sci fi and I highly recommend it. Edge of Dark is a compelling, thought-provoking, chilling, and poignant tale that leaves the reader questioning who is more humane - humanity or the AI.


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