Sunday, February 20, 2022

Farthest Shore

Farthest Shore (The Messenger #13)Farthest Shore by J.N. Chaney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the thirteenth installment of J.N. Chaney and Terry Maggert’s The Messenger sci-fi series, protagonist Newton “Dash” Sawyer strives for peace in the universe, with the Kingsport becoming real, and the Arkubators, worlds of the Deepers, and other secrets unraveling as the Cygnus Realm fights for several transportation gates. As in previous books, a useful databank of terminology native to the literary franchise precedes the main text, very much helpful for anyone who may have broken from the series for any amount of time. The main chapters open proper with Wei-Ping, one of the Gentle Friends, now commanding her own vessel and chasing a Deeper ship, seeing one of their new deadly weapons.

The Cygnus Realm has help from newcomer aliens known as the N’Teel, led by Cloud Leader Garciss, a General among her people, and turning the tides of whatever conflicts with the Deeper they have after the forging of their alliance. The Realm captures a Deeper Battle Prince and takes it aboard the Forge, although it slowly comes back online and warrants destruction. Dash and Kai visit a seismically-unstable planet with giant insects, where they retrieve a model of Kingsport and aim to make it a reality. Back at the Forge, pushed to its limit given the diversity of the Realm’s armada, Dash experiments with attempts to battle at increased speed.

An entity known as the Radiant Point eventually comes to light, after which Deepers attack the N’Teel homeworld, with their fearsome beam weapon posing a significant threat. The Archetype encounters a Deeper ship of new design with three deadly beam weapons, with the N’Teel themselves suffering the greatest losses in the recent conflicts. Mechs other than the Archetype receive upgrades, and the Deeper soon become silent, with Dash going into cryo-sleep to embark on a seven-week trip on a mission necessary for the good of the Realm, a major conflict ending the book, and the Deepers finding themselves on the run, although this makes them more deadly.

On the whole, the thirteenth Messenger book is very much on par with its predecessors, although this definitely isn’t a bad thing as its positives greatly outweigh the negatives, the former including things such as good character development, with many details surrounding Dash’s early life coming to fruition during his cryo-sleep, along with plentiful sci-fi action with well-described battles, an occasional smidgeon of humor and cursing also present. Granted, it does share its flaws with its precursors such as the diverse extraterrestrial races not given reminders of appearance, although those who enjoyed prior books will enjoy the thirteenth entry, but those new to the series will want to start from the beginning.

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