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Award-winning author Gareth L. Powell delivers an explosive conclusion to his epic Embers of War trilogy. Low on fuel and hunted by the Fleet of Knives, the sentient warship Trouble Dog follows a series of clues that lead her to the Intrusion--an area of space where reality itself becomes unstable. But with human civilisation crumbling, what difference can one battered old Award-winning author Gareth L. Powell delivers an explosive conclusion to his epic Embers of War trilogy. Low on fuel and hunted by the Fleet of Knives, the sentient warship Trouble Dog follows a series of clues that lead her to the Intrusion--an area of space where reality itself becomes unstable. But with human civilisation crumbling, what difference can one battered old ship have against an invincible armada? Meanwhile, Cordelia Pa and her step-brother eke out their existence salvaging artefacts from an alien city. But when Cordelia starts hearing the city's song in her head, strange things start happening around her. What extraordinary affinity does she have for this abandoned technology, and how can it possibly help the Trouble Dog? Award-winning author Gareth L. Powell delivers an explosive conclusion to his epic Embers of War trilogy.


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Award-winning author Gareth L. Powell delivers an explosive conclusion to his epic Embers of War trilogy. Low on fuel and hunted by the Fleet of Knives, the sentient warship Trouble Dog follows a series of clues that lead her to the Intrusion--an area of space where reality itself becomes unstable. But with human civilisation crumbling, what difference can one battered old Award-winning author Gareth L. Powell delivers an explosive conclusion to his epic Embers of War trilogy. Low on fuel and hunted by the Fleet of Knives, the sentient warship Trouble Dog follows a series of clues that lead her to the Intrusion--an area of space where reality itself becomes unstable. But with human civilisation crumbling, what difference can one battered old ship have against an invincible armada? Meanwhile, Cordelia Pa and her step-brother eke out their existence salvaging artefacts from an alien city. But when Cordelia starts hearing the city's song in her head, strange things start happening around her. What extraordinary affinity does she have for this abandoned technology, and how can it possibly help the Trouble Dog? Award-winning author Gareth L. Powell delivers an explosive conclusion to his epic Embers of War trilogy.

30 review for Light of Impossible Stars

  1. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    3,5 stars. The final book of the 'Embers of War' trilogy *throws confetti in the air*. I have to admit, the ideas in these books are quite 'big'. We have alien artefacts, parallel universes, void dragons, mysterious alien species, and a time/galaxy spanning human colonisation. I really enjoyed the first two books (character and plot-wise), but this one felt a bit scripted. If I didn't see the chapter headers, I would've guessed it was all told from one perspective - the narrator. Every character 3,5 stars. The final book of the 'Embers of War' trilogy *throws confetti in the air*. I have to admit, the ideas in these books are quite 'big'. We have alien artefacts, parallel universes, void dragons, mysterious alien species, and a time/galaxy spanning human colonisation. I really enjoyed the first two books (character and plot-wise), but this one felt a bit scripted. If I didn't see the chapter headers, I would've guessed it was all told from one perspective - the narrator. Every character has its drive, motivations, and events that have shaped who they are now. Told in first person, I expected the characters to be different - instead it all seemed as if it was told from the 'good guy's perspective'. Not to mention everything happened exactly when it was supposed to, the new characters showed up just in time, the galaxy was saved and even the bad guys realised the awful things they've done. A bit too scripted and unrealistic for me. Also the internal monologues and 'flowery' thoughts that went through everyone's mind - let's be honest, on the brink of a battle you don't stop to look in the mirror and speak about yourself from a third person's point of view. All in all, I was able to put aside what I mentioned above, because the author came up with such interesting ideas (see artefacts, parallel universes) that I couldn't help guessing and speculating all the time. I really enjoy when that happens. Overall I would recommend this trilogy, even if the last book is a bit shaky.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Very entertaining and exciting conclusion to the hugely enjoyable Embers of War trilogy. The starship, Trouble Dog, part human, part dog, part machine, is such a fantastic creation and it was good to spend more time with her and her crew, especially Nod. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.

  3. 4 out of 5

    MadProfessah

    This is the third and final book of the Embers Of War trilogy by Gareth L. Powell. A nice feature of the series is that although each book advances the overarching story, they are also readable on their own with each having self-contained plots. They should definitely be read in order (because Powell is ruthless about killing off major characters): Embers Of War, Fleet of Knives and The Light of Impossible Stars. In the third book we are introduced to a new major character, Cordelia Pa, and her b This is the third and final book of the Embers Of War trilogy by Gareth L. Powell. A nice feature of the series is that although each book advances the overarching story, they are also readable on their own with each having self-contained plots. They should definitely be read in order (because Powell is ruthless about killing off major characters): Embers Of War, Fleet of Knives and The Light of Impossible Stars. In the third book we are introduced to a new major character, Cordelia Pa, and her brother Michael Pa (among others). It’s an interesting choice to have the third book in a trilogy revolve around a new character that didn’t appear in the first two books. Happily, Cordelia is a great character so it’s fun to spend lots of time with her. The central character of the trilogy as a whole is Trouble Dog, the sentient spaceship which is used to transport the other main characters: Sal Konstantz (the captain of the ship) and Druff (the many-limbed alien who is the primary engineer/mechanic on the ship) among others. The other main character is Ona Sundak (a former space ship captain who ended an interstellar war by committing a horrific act of genocide). The primary narrative tension in the books is between Sundak’s vision of the future and Konstanz’s (and Trouble Dog’s) opposition. It takes awhile but eventually we find out what role Cordelia Pa plays in resolving the conflict. Another feature of the books in the trilogy which is also readily apparent in this one is that they are fast-paced and action-packed. They are fun to read and great diversions, exactly what good science fiction should do. Additionally, Powell is able to include a diverse cast of characters and present thought-provoking situations for the reader to consider. Overall I would strongly recommend the series as a whole, but I don’t think the last book is the strongest entry in the trilogy. That said, The Light of Impossible Stars is a fun and exciting read in its own right.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kylie Burkot

    3.75 stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jon Adams

    Perfect ending to an excellent trilogy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This is the third book in the Embers of War series by Gareth L. Powell. In this one the sentient warship "Trouble Dog" and crew are searching for a way to combat the Fleet of Knives. Meanwhile Cordelia Pa is approached by strangers in a battered spaceship owned by her estranged father. She soon finds out that she is very special indeed. It may very well fall upon her shoulders to save humankind from the spacial dragons. She will need, however, to help the Trouble Dog and crew stop the Fleet of K This is the third book in the Embers of War series by Gareth L. Powell. In this one the sentient warship "Trouble Dog" and crew are searching for a way to combat the Fleet of Knives. Meanwhile Cordelia Pa is approached by strangers in a battered spaceship owned by her estranged father. She soon finds out that she is very special indeed. It may very well fall upon her shoulders to save humankind from the spacial dragons. She will need, however, to help the Trouble Dog and crew stop the Fleet of Knives first. A great finish to this trilogy and a must read for fans of Space Opera.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John

    A predictable, phoned in conclusion, with about a novelette’s worth of plot, a massively powerful deus ex machina to take care of the bad guys, and endless swathes of pointless explication, dreams, descriptions, and side plots. Just read the dialog and skim the rest...you won’t miss anything significant and will have several hours of your life free to get into something better.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mike Finn

    "Light of Impossible Stars" is a deeply satisfying read that does something very rare: it ends a trilogy in a way that not only doesn't disappoint but excites and surprises. I loved the first two books in this trilogy, "Embers Of War" and "Fleet of Knives" so I'd pre-ordered the final book and dived into it as soon as it arrived. Like it's predecessors, it was a fast-paced, page-turning, epic science fiction story, crammed with original ideas and strong world-building, yet what kept me reading wer "Light of Impossible Stars" is a deeply satisfying read that does something very rare: it ends a trilogy in a way that not only doesn't disappoint but excites and surprises. I loved the first two books in this trilogy, "Embers Of War" and "Fleet of Knives" so I'd pre-ordered the final book and dived into it as soon as it arrived. Like it's predecessors, it was a fast-paced, page-turning, epic science fiction story, crammed with original ideas and strong world-building, yet what kept me reading were the characters in the book and the empathy and humour of the writing. All of the books have followed multiple storylines that slowly reveal the big picture. The strength of the characterisation, especially in this final book, keeps those storylines intimate and relevant. I'd say it kept the book human but some of the main characters are not human and part of the strength of the book comes from how clearly their thoughts and hopes are articulated, Gareth Powell is very good at letting his characters be themselves, without judgement or apology, where the character is a genocidal psychopathic poet, a warship who has grown a conscience and resigned her commission, a non-human engineer who believes in work and rest and the world tree, a young woman trying to discover who or what she is or an ex-military officer looking for redemption through service. I like the fact that, in this world, actions have consequences: not everyone survives, those that do survive are often damaged and neither the pain nor the occasional love is glossed over. I like that some characters fail to learn and are doomed to repeat their mistakes while others grow, develop and find new mistakes to make and some just get by day to day as best they can. I admire the truly epic scale of the plot and the depth of the world-building and that, despite how strong the plot and SF ideas are, they never push the characters out of the way. Now that I've read all three books, I want to go back and read them again, so that I can take in the grandeur of the big picture and spend more time with characters I've grown to know well. Finally, I have to say that I am, as I'm sure I'm supposed to be, deeply attached to Trouble Dog and I hope to hear more of what happens to her now the trilogy is over. "Light Of Impossible Stars" works very well as an audiobook with different narrators presenting chapters written from the point of view of the main characters. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample. https://soundcloud.com/nicol-zanzarel...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emae Church

    The perfect end to an amazing series of books. As with the other two books, I read the book and listened to the amazing Audible version. The voice actors across the whole series have been pure brilliant. I love the expression, "Hound of Difficulty." There is so much clear visualisation in this book and the previous ones. When Cordelia Pa came into the mix, I thought, what? Where's she come from? And this late in the game (of the story)? But no, Gareth has introduced her exactly where she was neede The perfect end to an amazing series of books. As with the other two books, I read the book and listened to the amazing Audible version. The voice actors across the whole series have been pure brilliant. I love the expression, "Hound of Difficulty." There is so much clear visualisation in this book and the previous ones. When Cordelia Pa came into the mix, I thought, what? Where's she come from? And this late in the game (of the story)? But no, Gareth has introduced her exactly where she was needed; of course! In the fabric of the Embers Universe, Gareth is the master weaver of storytelling and this book delivers over and over. The story has a very satisfactory conclusion but has Gareth laid the seed for a future project in this (or that) universe? Perfect. Thak you.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elspeth Cooper

    I have loved everything about this trilogy, from the expansive worldbuilding and complex characters to the smallest throwaway lines that made me go "Ouch". It's been beautiful, dramatic, funny, and heartbreaking by turns; all the fun of an exuberant space opera shot through with reflections on war, sacrifice and redemption - not forgetting the teenage snark of Trouble Dog and the quiet wisdom of Nod. I shall miss these characters very much.

  11. 5 out of 5

    James Latimer

    I was very excited to read this concluding volume of the award-winning Embers of War trilogy, a series which I had greatly enjoyed. The adventures of the sentient warship Trouble Dog and her overwhelmed - yet determined - crew of survivors and strays are sure to be a hit with any fan of space opera. Unfortunately, the final volume failed, for me, to bring the series to a wholly satisfying conclusion. It’s hard to explain why without quite a few spoilers, so I’d still encourage you to go out, rea I was very excited to read this concluding volume of the award-winning Embers of War trilogy, a series which I had greatly enjoyed. The adventures of the sentient warship Trouble Dog and her overwhelmed - yet determined - crew of survivors and strays are sure to be a hit with any fan of space opera. Unfortunately, the final volume failed, for me, to bring the series to a wholly satisfying conclusion. It’s hard to explain why without quite a few spoilers, so I’d still encourage you to go out, read it, and make up your own mind. The series has earned that much, and the disappointment may be entirely on me!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Olav

    Concluding the Embers of War trilogy in style, Gareth L. Powell has offered up a gloriously big-hearted and engaging space opera that will appeal to fans of Babylon 5, Iain M. Banks, and Charles Stross. It's a genuinely fun adventure novel with likable protagonists, and with more grist for the intellectual mill than you would expect at first glance. There are details of the story that caught me entirely by surprise, but also fit perfectly within the narrative. There are so many details that I'm Concluding the Embers of War trilogy in style, Gareth L. Powell has offered up a gloriously big-hearted and engaging space opera that will appeal to fans of Babylon 5, Iain M. Banks, and Charles Stross. It's a genuinely fun adventure novel with likable protagonists, and with more grist for the intellectual mill than you would expect at first glance. There are details of the story that caught me entirely by surprise, but also fit perfectly within the narrative. There are so many details that I'm yearning to spoil, and to have long-winded discussions about. It's a book that shows how many details in the previous two volumes were pre-planned, and how meticulously plotted the trilogy is. This is a book with payoffs for everyone who was paying attention to how this world was constructed. Heartily recommended to fans of space opera. (Was provided a review copy)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Seregil of Rhiminee

    Originally published at Risingshadow. Gareth L. Powell's Light of Impossible Stars is the final novel in the Embers of War series of space opera novels about the sentient warship Trouble Dog and its crew. It's an excellent sequel to Embers of War and Fleet of Knives, because the author delivers a satisfying conclusion to his trilogy. This novel brings back the familiar characters from the previous novels and continues their story. The Embers of War trilogy has quickly become one of my favourite mo Originally published at Risingshadow. Gareth L. Powell's Light of Impossible Stars is the final novel in the Embers of War series of space opera novels about the sentient warship Trouble Dog and its crew. It's an excellent sequel to Embers of War and Fleet of Knives, because the author delivers a satisfying conclusion to his trilogy. This novel brings back the familiar characters from the previous novels and continues their story. The Embers of War trilogy has quickly become one of my favourite modern space opera series, because it's entertaining, captivating and fluently written. Unlike many other new space opera series, this trilogy has a fine balance between style and substance, and it's an enjoyable and fulfilling reading experience. I'm sure that this trilogy will please readers who enjoy Frank Herbert's first Dune novel, Neal Asher's novels and Iain Banks' Culture novels, because it has similar kind of elements and the events are intriguing. It may also appeal to those who enjoy John Scalzi's novels. What makes the whole trilogy and this final novel special is the author's skillful writing style. The author has created a story that is both adventurous and entertaining yet satisfyingly deep and gritty. This novel begins with Trouble Dog and its crew resting and recuperating after being forced to flee human space. While trying to stay hidden from the Fleet of Knives, they're heading towards a dangerous and unstable place, a region of space known as the Intrusion where a wormhole has been punched through the fabric of reality... Cordealia Pa and her step-brother, Michael, are salvaging artefacts and alien techonology from an ancient alien city. When they find themselves being outdoors after curfew and being chased by security troops, they are saved by strange people. Cordealia is taken away by them and has to leave her old life behind. As Cordelia's journey begins and she learns new things, she finds out why she hears strange songs in her head and realises her destiny... This premise sets the stage for a rewarding endgame that will please readers. The author has a few surprises in store for his readers and he delivers a satisfying ending to the vast story arc. One of the best things about this novel is that the characterisation is excellent and works well. Each of the characters is well-realised and the author reveals how what they've been through has affected them and how they cope with changes. Sal Konstanz, the Captain of the Trouble Dog, leads her crew as well as she can under the difficult circumstances. Although she appears to be strong and confident, deep down she is not as strong or courageous as one might think, but she has a job to do. She misses her comrade, Alva Clay. Cordealia Pa is an interesting character, because she is suddenly taken away from the place that she has thought of as home. She and her step-brother scraped a living by being scavengers, but when she gets aboard the ship called Gigolo Aunt, her whole life begins to change and she learns new things. She hears strange songs in her head, but doesn't know why she hears them. I was intrigued about how the author writes about the Trouble Dog and her development, because the ship learns new things and undergoes personal growth. This is one of the little things that impressed me about the story. Nod the Druff is one of my favourite characters in this trilogy. Now, he still works as a mechanic aboard the Trouble Dog and dreams of his planet's World Tree, but he also has his thirteen offspring to look after. I was positively surprised when I noticed that in this novel the author explores the Druff and their view of the world in a deeper way. It was fascinating for me to read about the Druff and their home world, because the author revealed interesting things about them. There's something about the Druff that is both irresistibly endearing and loveable, because they're a peaceful race who are excellent at fixing ships and have a surprisingly philosophical way of thinking about certain things. What is revealed about the Intrusion and Cordelia Pa is captivating. It was fascinating to read about the Intrusion and how Cordelia Pa had an important role to play in the endgame, because there's a sense of mystery surrounding the Intrusion and its existence. The author writes fluent and gripping prose. I like his writing style, because he has a way of pulling the reader into the story by concentrating on the right elements: characterisation, epic happenings and plot development. One of the things that I like about his writing style is that he has plenty of imagination and he knows how to use it (the story is wonderfully imagnative, but wholly coherent and well-created). The dialogues between the characters are excellent. Some of the phrases the author uses are quite memorable and perfectly fit the events in which they are used. I especially enjoyed the dialogues between Sal Konstanz and the Trouble Dog. One of the things why I hold this novel in high regard is the author's way of writing about grief, loss, remorse and transgender issues. I admire the author's fluent and skillful approach to these elements. I'm pleased to say that Gareth L. Powell's Light of Impossible Stars is every bit as good and rewarding as I had hoped it would be. I highly recommend this novel to readers who love epic science fiction novels, because it has excellent characterisation, plenty of imagination and originality, complex story arc and a pleasing amount of action seasoned with stylistic storytelling and surprises. What more could you possibly hope to find in a space opera novel? Highly recommended!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    The previous instalments in this trilogy, Embers of War and Fleet of Knives, have been some of the best space opera I've ever read. Of course they deal with a future where humanity is stretched across a vast expanse of space and relies on highly advanced spaceships, but they do this without ignoring more familiar parts of the human experience: love, family, abandonment, grief… Perhaps it's a sad indictment of most space opera that this alone impresses me, but whatever, this kind of humanist far- The previous instalments in this trilogy, Embers of War and Fleet of Knives, have been some of the best space opera I've ever read. Of course they deal with a future where humanity is stretched across a vast expanse of space and relies on highly advanced spaceships, but they do this without ignoring more familiar parts of the human experience: love, family, abandonment, grief… Perhaps it's a sad indictment of most space opera that this alone impresses me, but whatever, this kind of humanist far-futurism is absolutely my jam. In Light of Impossible Stars, we are introduced to Cordelia Pa, who initially seems nothing more than an unfortunate street urchin on an impoverished, far-flung world near a wormhole called the Intrusion. Of course, it turns out that she's much more than that: her long-absentee father returns to thrust command of a spaceship onto her, and through a convoluted series of events it becomes clear that Cordelia is much more important than she thinks: (view spoiler)[in effect, she was born to be the key to save humanity (hide spoiler)] . We are also, of course, reunited with the Trouble Dog and her crew: Captain Sal Konstanz (now battling some heavy grief), mechanic Nod the Druff (now the proud parent to a small army of little Druffs)… and also many of their acquaintances from the last book, like “Lucky” Johnny Schultz and Lucy's Ghost, the spaceship in the form of an eerie young girl. At the book's beginning, crippled by the Fleet of Knives and still pursued by the former poet Ona Sudak, they're gliding and in need of a power source. Through their search, and meanderings in the vicinity of the Intrusion, they cross paths with Cordelia Pa and join forces to tackle the threats facing them. I think this novel is perhaps the weakest of the trilogy, but not in any way that significantly dampened my enjoyment of it. I just felt like some developments/revelations in the story happened a little too conveniently. Regardless of that, Light of Impossible Stars retains many of the strengths of the first two books: the philosophy of the Druffs, some of the history of the House of Reclamation (a neutral force whose mission is to help all space travellers in danger), the strong pack mentality of the Carnivore-class warships (of which the Trouble Dog is one), their unshakeable loyalty, and the visceral pain they feel at the loss of their pack mates… all of this was just real good stuff. Powell captures the emotions of all different kinds of beings, from all different kinds of societies and upbringings, really well. Overall, what can I say? If you like science fiction, especially space operas, and you like great characterisation, you NEED this series in your life. It is just incredibly excellent. If you need more convincing, you might also want to read my review of the first book, Embers of War or my review of the second book, Fleet of Knives.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Esmée van der Weide

    ''Out here on the ragged edge of human space, caught between mythical beasts and implacable alien war machines—between the personified forces of chaos and order—all we could rely on was eachother.'' I have received this book for free from Titan Books in exchange for an honest review. I love space. I really do. So diving into an amazing space opera every now and then is just the best. I fell in love with Gareth L. Powell's Embers of War series last year and I was both sad it was ending and glad to ''Out here on the ragged edge of human space, caught between mythical beasts and implacable alien war machines—between the personified forces of chaos and order—all we could rely on was eachother.'' I have received this book for free from Titan Books in exchange for an honest review. I love space. I really do. So diving into an amazing space opera every now and then is just the best. I fell in love with Gareth L. Powell's Embers of War series last year and I was both sad it was ending and glad to finally have the last installment in my hands when Titan Books sent me a copy to review. Low on fuel and hunted by the Fleet of Knives, the sentient warship Trouble Dog follows a series of clues that lead her to the Intrusion--an area of space where reality itself becomes unstable. But with human civilisation crumbling, what difference can one battered old ship have against an invincible armada? Meanwhile, Cordelia Pa and her step-brother eke out their existence salvaging artefacts from an alien city. But when Cordelia starts hearing the city's song in her head, strange things start happening around her. What extraordinary affinity does she have for this abandoned technology, and how can it possibly help the Trouble Dog? What. A. Series. It goes from 'everything is fine' to 'we have to protect the very last of humanity against alien warships and hypervoid dragons' and I am all in for that. When you read as much YA as I do, I enjoy diving into an adult series where things actually go to shit without any chance of saving it, just trying to preserve as much of it as possible. Oh, and actual lasting character deaths. This series is full of all of that, especially this specific book. The stakes felt real and everything had huge consequences that affect the entire galaxy. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I gave Light of the Impossible Stars only four and a half stars, instead of the five I gave to the two previous installments, as it wasn't as strong as them. I think it was mostly the ending I wasn't completely satisfied with. Not Game of Thrones season 8 levels, I mean that was just a mess, but it wasn't entirely what I expected, I think? Maybe it felt a bit rushed with the steady build-up of the rest of the book, but that can just be me, as I slumped the first half of the book and devoured the second half in two days. I really loved the new characters that were introduced for this last book. I am always a bit icky for more new characters so far into a series, but I really liked them. It was a bit of a shame that because of these new characters some of the older characters didn't have as much page time and further character development as I had hoped they would. I think I would have loved to see Cordelia Pa and her crew earlier on in the series, just so the original set of characters had some more room in this book and I would have loved to see more of her. I highly recommend this series. It's a space opera with sentient ships, hypervoid dragons and much more of that outerspace sci-fi stuff. This series is definitely on my list of best sci-fi books I have read so far. I definitely think fans of Star Wars and other outerspace stories will definitely love this! I look forward to reading what Gareth L. Powell is writing next as I have really fallen in love with how he creates his world and characters and tells their story. I will definitely check out the books he already published in the mean time! Read more reviews on my blog: https://servillasspeaks.wordpress.com

  16. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Berry

    Wow. After reading Embers of War and Fleet of Knives my one concern wasn't if the third book would be good, but rather how Powell would tie everything up into a satisfying conclusion. I shouldn't have doubted, the climax of the novel is breathtaking in scope and execution. I'm not going into too many details here, as all the action depends on knowing what happened in the previous books, but things have gone from potentially better to horrifically worse. The fate of civilization rests with the crew Wow. After reading Embers of War and Fleet of Knives my one concern wasn't if the third book would be good, but rather how Powell would tie everything up into a satisfying conclusion. I shouldn't have doubted, the climax of the novel is breathtaking in scope and execution. I'm not going into too many details here, as all the action depends on knowing what happened in the previous books, but things have gone from potentially better to horrifically worse. The fate of civilization rests with the crew of the sentient warship Trouble Dog and a young woman who is the heir to a legacy no one could dream of. So, it's space opera. Massively over-powered starships, sweeping vistas, big dumb objects, big not-so-dumb objects, space monsters. . . pretty much every trope is nailed. So why is it so much better than others of the same type? Because it is a book about people. All of whom - sentient starships included - are weary and broken. There isn't a strong jaw or noble gleam of the eye in the bunch. Every single character in the trilogy is running from their pasts. Which makes see them confront the future all the more interesting. They screw up, sometimes in epic fashion. They are angry, hurt, desperate, broken people. And that's why I loved them so much. There's no grand happy ending, although there is hope for one, and in a final epilogue-like chapter, Trouble Dog speaks a little about what happened after the climax of the book, which does bring things to a nice close. One last thing, Gareth L. Powell has created my favorite alien species in decades in the Druff. Hexapodal natural engineers that evolved in the World Tree, a world-spanning example of megaflora that the Druff tend in a symbiotic relationship. The chapters written from the point of view of Nod, Trouble Dog's engineer, are brilliant examples of showing an alien mind at work. A really fantastic end to a wonderful trilogy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    I have really enjoyed the first two books of the series, so I put my name on the list with my library to get the third. The Trouble Dog and her motley crew are a joy to follow. The author writes superbly, with a prose that moves fast, but contains wonderful gems. A heavy cruiser with a conscience has to be one of the most compelling characters in space opera. No spoilers here. Just that Nod has some of the best lines, as usual. My tagged lines are below. We learn more about the Fleet of Knives, I have really enjoyed the first two books of the series, so I put my name on the list with my library to get the third. The Trouble Dog and her motley crew are a joy to follow. The author writes superbly, with a prose that moves fast, but contains wonderful gems. A heavy cruiser with a conscience has to be one of the most compelling characters in space opera. No spoilers here. Just that Nod has some of the best lines, as usual. My tagged lines are below. We learn more about the Fleet of Knives, about the Intrusion, and watch more characters die. This has been the theme across the two previous books, where the author will make that sacrifice. But this is the end of the trilogy. I went through it fast, soaking up all of the story's wonderful elements. I feel sorrow that it'll be at least another year or probably more until the author has another book out. I look forward to what the next story is, be it more in this universe or in a whole new one. New idea: Like Cookie Monster and his _Joy of Cookies_, Nod could write a whole book about the Joy of World Tree, giving us his deep views of the universe. "That's the great thing about having a conscience," she [Lucy] said. "It comes bundled with patience and forgiveness." Fixed stuff, then fixed more stuff. -Nod I had forgotten navy ships could be such dicks. -Trouble Dog "Are you threatening me, Captain Konstanz?" "Do you want me to?" The drinkers sat hunched over their regrets, unable to make eye contact with anybody, even their own reflections in the mirror behind the bar. -Cordelia Pa "It's the way we fix breaks that make us who we are." -Nod "Philosophy just engineering by another name." -Nod Thanks to her sacrifice, I could now do what I'd been built to do, and what I'd been yearning to do since I left the navy: go completely fucking apeshit. -Trouble Dog

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    The third and presumably final part of the Embers War story is a fun read but for me, the least of the trilogy. It's a similarly fun and fast paced read as the first two, short, sharp chapters, each in first person perspective from different characters in the story, but drifts a bit too far into fantasy for my taste. Following on from the previous novel, the crew of Trouble Dog are on the run from the Fleet of Knives. Meanwhile, a race of dragon like beings, the Scourers, are tearing up spaceshi The third and presumably final part of the Embers War story is a fun read but for me, the least of the trilogy. It's a similarly fun and fast paced read as the first two, short, sharp chapters, each in first person perspective from different characters in the story, but drifts a bit too far into fantasy for my taste. Following on from the previous novel, the crew of Trouble Dog are on the run from the Fleet of Knives. Meanwhile, a race of dragon like beings, the Scourers, are tearing up spaceships across the galaxy. Thrown into this are new characters Cordelia and Michael Pa, the former whisked away from a life of scavenging to meet her estranged father and discovering she has the power to save humanity. Most of the story is set in and around a warped piece of space, of which no-one knows what is on the other side. A lot of this book felt a bit too coincidental, with Cordelia herself feeling a little deus ex machina. We meet her for the first time in this third novel and it just so turns out she has the necessary super power to resolve the conflict. But my main issue was how it all turned into fantasy, space dragons, chosen ones with a destiny who have magical powers...I guess I prefer my space opera more grounded (if that's possible!). There was also very little in the way of conflict and too many of the characters were thinly sketched out. Powell has a habit of killing people off with gay abandon but I rarely feel as if I've got to know them well enough to care. But if all that sounds negative, don't be too put off. This is still a good read and the trilogy as a whole was a very enjoyable one. I just felt a lot of what happened to resolve the story in this chapter was a bit convenient and well worn.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Juliet Anubianwarrior

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Over all I really enjoyed the Embers of War trilogy, I particularly loved Trouble Dog and her journey, the world creation was engaging and felt real. I loved the whole story, but Light of Impossible Stars was definitely the weakest book, and to me it was a bit of a let down for a couple of reasons. 1. The late introduction of a pivotal character in the last book, Cordelia Pa, just felt lazy and read a little bit like Powell had run out of ideas to finish the series, or that he hadn't really had Over all I really enjoyed the Embers of War trilogy, I particularly loved Trouble Dog and her journey, the world creation was engaging and felt real. I loved the whole story, but Light of Impossible Stars was definitely the weakest book, and to me it was a bit of a let down for a couple of reasons. 1. The late introduction of a pivotal character in the last book, Cordelia Pa, just felt lazy and read a little bit like Powell had run out of ideas to finish the series, or that he hadn't really had an idea of how to finish the story in the first place. Fair enough, stories change as you write them, but it felt a little bit like being robbed of part of the journey. Her character was interesting and her back story, equally so, but to introduce her in the last book and have her play such an important role in the deciding chapters felt a bit like a get out of jail free card. 2. And the final chapters where Ona Sudak is talked round by Sal Konstanz, well again to me that wasn't well thought out. It happened far to easily. Which given the way Ona's character had developed and her motivations for unleashing the Fleet of Knives, really was a far to abrupt change of paths/plan for the character. She basically received a talking to and changed her mind. It was an anticlimax. Overall I really enjoyed these books and will probably read them again. They are at the light end of the Space Opera spectrum. Sal Konstanz and Trouble Dog, really are great characters and I enjoyed them very much.

  20. 5 out of 5

    JonBob

    Sal, Trouble Dog and the gang are back for the final instalment of one of my fave space opera series of all time! LIGHT OF IMPOSSIBLE STARS delivers everything I’ve come to love about Gareth Powell’s writing; literary characters in a pulp setting, snappy dialogue and deep themes delivered in tight, fast-paced prose. Plus Alien references, an AI in a clown costume, Dutch cyborgs and motherfucking reality quakes! I devoured this book in a single day, delighted in every second of it and now I just Sal, Trouble Dog and the gang are back for the final instalment of one of my fave space opera series of all time! LIGHT OF IMPOSSIBLE STARS delivers everything I’ve come to love about Gareth Powell’s writing; literary characters in a pulp setting, snappy dialogue and deep themes delivered in tight, fast-paced prose. Plus Alien references, an AI in a clown costume, Dutch cyborgs and motherfucking reality quakes! I devoured this book in a single day, delighted in every second of it and now I just need more, always more. ***Warning*** Minor spoilers for the previous books in the series. If you haven’t read them yet, oh boy you’re in for a treat, but go read them first if you wanna avoid some spoilers. Light of Impossible Stars picks up where Fleet left off; Captain Sal Constanz and her sentient rescue ship Trouble Dog are running out of fuel, hunted by Ona Sudak and her genocidal fleet, and speeding towards The Intrusion, an area of space both the Marble Armada and the extra-dimensional Scourers mysteriously avoid. Probably because the laws of physics turn to mush here and no one knows why. I mean, if the only safe place in the galaxy is a place no one has ever returned from and experiences reality quakes on a semi-regular basis, you get an idea of just how Up Shit Creek Without A Paddle our plucky space adventurers really are. We also get to meet some new characters. Cordelia Pa is a young scavenger on The Plates, a series of manufactured habitable micro-worlds constructed and abandoned by the Hearthers, the alien race who unwittingly unleashed the Marble Armada and fled to The Intrusion millennia ago. Cordelia and her brother eke out a miserable living scavenging for ancient Hearther artefacts and shifting them on the black market, all the while trying to avoid the authoritarian private mercenary police that patrol City Plate Two. But when Cordelia is snatched from her home by a strange crew lead by a woman called Lomax, Cordelia begins a journey that she hopes will explain the affinity she feels with Hearther tech and the strange powers she has always harboured. From a story-telling standpoint, Gareth Powell knows how to spin a yarn that gets its hooks straight in, no messing about. Space opera is a genre suited to fast-paced adventure and Gareth has distilled this art into a science. He writes in a way that pisses you off if you get hungry or have to go to the loo cos it means you have to put the book down. I was halfway through Light of Impossible Stars before I knew what had happened and only realised cos my stomach started screaming at me to eat something. What I love more than anything about this series though is the characters. The character development is simply phenomenal. Sal started out as a military woman with a conscience torn to shreds by war, seeking some kind of redemption in the House of Reclamation. She wanted to save people, without any complicated moral considerations, despite knowing deep down that sometimes it might be necessary to break a few eggs to make an omelette. One of my favourite scenes in the book is when Sal reflects on how she’s been forced to change yet again in the aftermath of the new order imposed by the Marble Armada. Puts me in mind of my boy Karl Marx’s most insightful observation on the development of society: “Men make history, but not in circumstances of their own choosing”. People have effects on the world around them and the world around them affects them right back. Sal has definitely changed since the start of the series, though everything she did made sense, both from a narrative standpoint and from what we know of her as a person. She’s changed, but still retained the core of who she is. (P.S. for any part-time scholars of wor Karl in the audience, I do know this isn’t the point he was making in The Eighteenth Brumaire, it just made me think of it okay, chill out). My favourite character though, was, is, and forever will remain the snarky, independent and fiercely loyal Trouble Dog. From a Carnivore-class heavy cruiser built and bio-engineered for one purpose – to kill, obliterate and destroy with no qualms or scruples – Trouble Dog has developed into someone with a complicated, and yet fundamentally moral outlook on life. There are snippets where Trouble Dog’s inner turmoil and all very human side is laid bare. The fact she is constantly trying to understand and embrace that side of her character shows how far she has come since her days as a war machine in the Conglomeration navy. Plus I just love her personality. The scene where she meets Adalwolf on the deck of a virtual reality ocean liner and arrives wearing ‘a shaggy black bob, and wrapped in a sparkly gold flapper dress, accessorising with a matching tiara and an outrageously long cigarette holder’ is just peak Trouble Dog haha. Amidst all this there’s still a natural underlying current of serious themes that make this series simultaneously fun, pulpy and literary. Cordelia’s hostility to the prison system as a system that perpetuates the conditions that give rise to crime; Lomax’s observation that the scavengers and couriers doing the dangerous work to retrieve Hearther artefacts aren’t the ones who get rich off them; philosophical and psychological ruminations on how humans view the world (“You are capable of simultaneously occupying two contradictory standpoints? That explains so much abut your behaviour as a species”). There’s a lot of deep stuff in this book, but it’s all seamlessly part of the story, masterfully woven into the fabric of the narrative. This is a fantastic book, an immensely satisfying and action-packed conclusion to a wonderful series. Gareth Powell is a stand-out among science fiction writers and has quickly become an auto-buy author for me. If you’ve read the previous two books and are looking forward to this, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re a space opera fan and haven’t read any of the Embers of War novels yet, I can almost guarantee you’ll love these books. But for me, for now, all that remains is to say “Farewell Sal and Trouble Dog. Thanks for everything, it’s been a blast”.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mili

    Feeling off for nearly 2 months now so it is getting harder to concentrate. I started this read at the start in May and just now finished it. Not cause I don't like it, but I am not in a good headspace. We have loud new neighbours and they are not changing. I have yet to find a way to deal with it. We are now a week away in nature, and I finally managed to find room to read! I really enjoyed this series, it is easy and fast to get through with a wonderful set of characters, new ones and plots co Feeling off for nearly 2 months now so it is getting harder to concentrate. I started this read at the start in May and just now finished it. Not cause I don't like it, but I am not in a good headspace. We have loud new neighbours and they are not changing. I have yet to find a way to deal with it. We are now a week away in nature, and I finally managed to find room to read! I really enjoyed this series, it is easy and fast to get through with a wonderful set of characters, new ones and plots colliding to a bigger picture. I love how everyone got introduced with their own storyline and enough attention to stand on their own in this story. There was an epic battle, but it doesn't get major attention. You mostly follow the characters and their choices and interactions in difficult situations. I like how it mellowed out the plot and yet there is this ominous change and enemy that needs to be faced. I really enjoyed the combination. Couldn't have picked out a better trilogy :)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alexej Belskij

    I liked the first two books a lot and was certain that the conclusion would be as great. It turned out to be different. This book made me feel the author lost the sense of proportions. Too many times he repeats the things we know already about the characters and thier motivations. Some of the heroes of the book turned out to be fine and believable, but then some others, both new and old went over the limit of what you could assume. Thier actions/thinking getting into maximalist/extremes or bit of I liked the first two books a lot and was certain that the conclusion would be as great. It turned out to be different. This book made me feel the author lost the sense of proportions. Too many times he repeats the things we know already about the characters and thier motivations. Some of the heroes of the book turned out to be fine and believable, but then some others, both new and old went over the limit of what you could assume. Thier actions/thinking getting into maximalist/extremes or bit of stereotypes. Also a lot of interesting and intriguing details and openings of the previous books are developed and not all the developments/explanations worked with me. At some point I had a thought: "too much, just too much crazy stuff too assume. I am done here 😅" The book has of course many good parts too. The plot is moving fast, it is easy to read and there are likable characters and enjoyable scenes. But, again, somewhat dissapointing conclusion.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tal S

    Low on fuel and hunted by the Fleet of Knives, the sentient warship Trouble Dog follows a series of clues that lead her to the Intrusion--an area of space where reality itself becomes unstable. But with human civilisation crumbling, what difference can one battered old ship have against an invincible armada? Meanwhile, Cordelia Pa and her step-brother eke out their existence salvaging artefacts from an alien city. But when Cordelia starts hearing the city's song in her head, strange things start Low on fuel and hunted by the Fleet of Knives, the sentient warship Trouble Dog follows a series of clues that lead her to the Intrusion--an area of space where reality itself becomes unstable. But with human civilisation crumbling, what difference can one battered old ship have against an invincible armada? Meanwhile, Cordelia Pa and her step-brother eke out their existence salvaging artefacts from an alien city. But when Cordelia starts hearing the city's song in her head, strange things start happening around her. What extraordinary affinity does she have for this abandoned technology, and how can it possibly help the Trouble Dog?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Doreen

    And so the Embers Of War series closes in the bright glow of conflict and its aftermath, a truly terrific, action-packed space opera that ponders as well what it means to be human, in all our splendor and sordidness. As Light Of Impossible Stars begins, the sentient warship Trouble Dog is desperate for fuel and on the run from the Fleet Of Knives headed by war criminal Ona Sudak, who's gleefully re-embracing her megalomaniacal past. Trouble Dog's captain, Sal Konstanz, is still coming to grips wi And so the Embers Of War series closes in the bright glow of conflict and its aftermath, a truly terrific, action-packed space opera that ponders as well what it means to be human, in all our splendor and sordidness. As Light Of Impossible Stars begins, the sentient warship Trouble Dog is desperate for fuel and on the run from the Fleet Of Knives headed by war criminal Ona Sudak, who's gleefully re-embracing her megalomaniacal past. Trouble Dog's captain, Sal Konstanz, is still coming to grips with what Sudak's dreadful plans have already wrought for civilization as they know it. However, Sal and the rest of her traumatized crew understand that worse still lies in the threat of the dragon-like creatures lurking at the edges of hyperspace. The one thing both the Fleet Of Knives and the hyperspace dragons seem to fear is the rent in reality known as the Intrusion, so it's in that direction that the Trouble Dog and her passengers go in search of supplies and answers. Meanwhile, a young woman named Cordelia Pa is coming to terms with her own upbringing on the Plates, an artificial set of habitats layered in space a short distance from the Intrusion. She and her brother Michael had grown up scavenging for ancient artifacts to survive, but a surprise visitor turned her world upside down, offering her a chance at a life less limited. When she discovers the bargain that was made in order to shape her, she begins to question everything she thought she knew about herself and her connection to the alien technology she grew up surrounded by. Inevitably, her path and the Trouble Dog's must converge if either of them has any hope of saving humanity from the twin threats of Sudak and the space dragons (ooh, cool band name!) There's honestly not much else I can tell you about what happens here, because it would lessen the emotional impact of the book/trilogy. I can tell you that I cried buckets at the Penitence's last conversation (Johnny!!!) and that I desperately want to read more books in this setting! I have a feeling that Gareth L Powell is done with Sal's story, and possibly with Trouble Dog's too, but I'm hoping there'll be more in future regarding Cordelia and the Plates (slightly less cool band name.) I also want to know what happened to Sofia in all that time! There's some really inventive stuff on display here, plus Mr Powell completely sidesteps the many pitfalls endemic to having a diverse cast. Small, happy spoiler: (view spoiler)[no gays were buried in the plotting (hide spoiler)] of this book. Splendidly satisfying space opera trilogy that builds off the promise of its first installment, through its terrific second, to tell a sweeping tale that interrogates the need for preemptive warfare while emphasizing a greater acceptance of the identity and inherent nobility of others. Also, idk how Julia Lloyd manages to make each book cover even more beautiful than the last: it's truly astonishing.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Josh Hamacher

    I found this to be a somewhat unsatisfying end to the Embers of War trilogy. In fact, until I read the afterward, in which the author uses the term "trilogy", I wasn't sure this series had even been wrapped up. Honestly it felt like the author just got tired of this universe after writing 2.5 very solid novels, and used the last half of this novel to unsatisfactorily wrap things up. Don't get me wrong, I still quite enjoyed the series overall and would recommend it. But the ending felt like class I found this to be a somewhat unsatisfying end to the Embers of War trilogy. In fact, until I read the afterward, in which the author uses the term "trilogy", I wasn't sure this series had even been wrapped up. Honestly it felt like the author just got tired of this universe after writing 2.5 very solid novels, and used the last half of this novel to unsatisfactorily wrap things up. Don't get me wrong, I still quite enjoyed the series overall and would recommend it. But the ending felt like classic Neil Stephenson "I'm done, don't feel like finishing this".

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dan Evans

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Decent book to finish with but I thought it felt a rushed and the introduction of what turned out to be the saviour seemed a little tagged onto the main story. I dont get the whole transistion aspect at the end, it didnt really add much and seems like an addition to add diversity to the novel (which it didnt need as there was lots of diversity amd most ofnthe main characters were ladies). Ended well, and was a good departure for the ship and crew. Trouble dog was again great, as was nod. I will def Decent book to finish with but I thought it felt a rushed and the introduction of what turned out to be the saviour seemed a little tagged onto the main story. I dont get the whole transistion aspect at the end, it didnt really add much and seems like an addition to add diversity to the novel (which it didnt need as there was lots of diversity amd most ofnthe main characters were ladies). Ended well, and was a good departure for the ship and crew. Trouble dog was again great, as was nod. I will definitely keep an eye out for more of Gareths books.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tufty McTavish

    This was very much my favourite episode from the Embers of War trilogy. Some really interesting characters and settings that unfortunately we only know too briefly, because the story progress at a pace that meant I read the vast bulk of this book in just a couple of days. It's that rapid pace, with lots happening that I wanted to spend more time with, that knocked a * off in my rating. I hope the author revisits this setting some day, because there are tendrils here that really tweak my curiosity This was very much my favourite episode from the Embers of War trilogy. Some really interesting characters and settings that unfortunately we only know too briefly, because the story progress at a pace that meant I read the vast bulk of this book in just a couple of days. It's that rapid pace, with lots happening that I wanted to spend more time with, that knocked a * off in my rating. I hope the author revisits this setting some day, because there are tendrils here that really tweak my curiosity.

  28. 4 out of 5

    John

    It’s no wonder that, in the vastness of space and amid the destruction of planets and whole populations, finding purpose and redemption for past misdeeds should preoccupy so many rootless characters in Gareth L. Powell’s Embers of War series. With his considerable talent Powell combines space opera action with these deeper shades of meaning. It’s an impressive achievement, though at times the redemption and connection characters seek seems to come a bit too easily. Despite that problem, there is It’s no wonder that, in the vastness of space and amid the destruction of planets and whole populations, finding purpose and redemption for past misdeeds should preoccupy so many rootless characters in Gareth L. Powell’s Embers of War series. With his considerable talent Powell combines space opera action with these deeper shades of meaning. It’s an impressive achievement, though at times the redemption and connection characters seek seems to come a bit too easily. Despite that problem, there is so much to like in these three action-packed novels, Embers of War, Fleet of Knives and Light of Impossible Stars. Powell delivers common scifi tropes in beautiful language with highly original settings and wonderfully imaginative AI characters, including one, the ship Trouble Dog, who steals the show. I want to pick out a few big themes from the three books in this series that have been published so far, rather than attempt a conventional review of them. See the full review at SciFi Mind

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rushi

    A satisfying conclusion to the Embers of War trilogy. There are a couple of new PoV characters (the Pa siblings) that I really didn't care for much. But, old familiars such as Sal Konstanz, Trouble Dog, and of course, my favorite, Nod return and are as compelling as ever. This is the weakest installment in the trilogy but is still a satisfying conclusion. Well worth a read for fans of the first two books.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Bowen

    Trouble Dog is on the run from the Fleet of Knives and is low on fuel, the odds are stacked against them. And who or what is the mysterious scavenger Cordeila Pa and how can she help the Trouble Dog? The conclusion of the Embers of War trilogy, but I didn’t think this book was as good as the first two, ideally my rating would be 3.5 stars. It felt a bit sketchy in parts but still an exciting conclusion to the series.

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