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Thursday, December 7, 2006


Angelmass by Timothy Zahn

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

December 12, 2002

There are some books that when they end, you want to run to the book store to make sure your copy wasn't missing any pages. Angelmass is one of those. It's a pretty good book right up to the end, where things just end without being resolved. There are more questions than answers at the end, which leaves room for a sequel, but left me feeling that all the build-up was for nothing. When all is said and done the Pax still hold Lorelei, Angelmass is still a threat (not an immediate one), and Empryan society is about to be thrown into chaos.

I shouldn't be surprised really. All of the Zahn books I've read: the Star Wars Thrawn Trilogy, the Conquerors Trilogy, Star Wars Hand of Thrawn Duology, and Icarus Hunt all have the same kind of open-ended finish, but in those cases there was always enough excitement to make the trip worthwhile. Angelmass, however, moved along slowly but didn't have much of a payoff for readers who plodded through the first 500 pages waiting for the "secret" of Angelmass to be revealed and for the big showdown between the Pax and Empryans.

The good thing about Angelmass, though, is that Zahn sticks to his strengths. The overall universe is about the same as the Conqueror's Trilogy and Icarus Hunt (and even his Star Wars books) and similar enough to our own that he doesn't need to spend the whole book explaining how everything works. There's more science featured in Angelmass, making it less approachable than his last efforts, but in small enough doses so that it doesn't dominate the entire book. The characters are fairly well-written, though some seemed like warmed-over versions of characters from previous novels. And as always, Zahn uses a mix of political intrigue, military strategy, science, and con artistry to full advantage. No other SF author I've read comes close to smoothly integrating all those elements.

If you're a fan of Zahn's other books like me then you'll definitely want to read this. While maybe not as good as his others, Angelmass still blows away a lot of SF books I've read.

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