Friday, July 23, 2021

Dark Space V: Avilon

Avilon (Dark Space, #5)Avilon by Jasper T. Scott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The fifth installment of author Jasper T. Scott’s Dark Space series opens in the year zero After Exodus (AE), with Captain Bretton Hale at the helm of the Arkadian, with the world of Roka IV his last stop along the way to Dark Space, when he battles the Sythians and meets the godly Omnius. In the present, ten years AE, Ethan Ortane reminisces about his mother whom he thought was long dead, although he reunites with her on the world of Avilon, with his father Preston oddly missing. Four hours before, Commander Lenon Donali’s escape pod falls towards Avilon, with the city he lands in ablaze, and he’s mobbed once he emerges.

Ethan and his new wife Alara prepare for life on Avilon, whilst the Sythians plot to replace their former Gor slaves with humans crewing their vessels. The newlyweds ultimately move to the Null Zone on the world of Avilon, sort of a netherworld that contrasts with the “heavenly” surface of the planet. The humans’ alliance with the Gors is still incredibly shaky, with some important backstory regarding them revealed throughout the text. In the Null Zone, Ethan deals with various negative facets of life such as a drug called Bliss, with his child pregnant through Alara imminent in birth, and the ending focusing on a resistance seeking to alter the structure of life on Avilon.

All in all, this entry of the Dark Space series definitely has plenty things going for it, although in this installment the franchise is beyond its moment of jumping the shark, given some trite elements such as the use of cloning to achieve immortality, and the hackneyed religious overtones. It does raise some good philosophical points such as freedom potentially being dangerous, although the constant alternation between viewpoints within each chapter can make the narrative feel fairly convoluted, and dividing the main chapters into subchapters would have alleviated this issue. It’s not a bad book, but I’ve definitely read better within and without the science-fiction genre.

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