Author: Kevin J. Anderson
Published: November 1, 2007 (reprint)
Series: The Saga of the Seven Suns
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Five years after the events of Oncier, the Hydrogues are still wreaking havoc on the human race, but their reasons are more than just the decimation of their home on Oncier. They seek out an old enemy of theirs, an enemy that has allied itself closely with the humans without their knowledge. While the humans try to band together in order to fight the alien invaders, within their midst are secrets and lies that threaten to tear everything apart.
This was an amazing novel. In just one book the essential plot from the first novel has grown so much. The Forest of Stars is the second book of the Saga of the Seven Suns series. Taking place after 5 years, the writer has thrown us into a world where the humans are struggling for survival trying to fight a war that is more than just about the decimation of their gaseous planet. Now this has exploded events into that of an elemental war where beings of fire, water, and earth are fighting the Hydrogues, beings of ice and lighting. That’s just amazing! Those Hydrogues sure know how to make an enemy don’t they? It’s an amazing way to expand the series to put the humans in the middle of a battle that predates their very existence and knowledge of the universe. What’s more is that every elemental being seems to have a different motivation for why they are choosing to fight for the human race in some way or another. Nothing is clear-cut here, as far as motivation goes. That’s what makes this novel so gripping, all the intrigue, political upheaval, and secrets just makes for a wonderful and rich story.
As far as the characters go, many of them are incredibly likable. Of course there are the ones with the god complexes that make you just want to strangle them and dance when they get what’s coming to them, but as a whole, the characters and the situations make them stand out. Anderson is giving us war in the novel, and though it’s a tough subject to write about without it coming off as insensitive or cliché. He brings together different races and cultures and gives us a way to relate to them all. Every one of them has a singular aspect that grips the readers: they are all inherently human. That is both a weakness and a strength, and makes the characters and the realm he builds more real. As a science fiction novel it really is more like a Space Opera like Star Wars, a universe with rich characters who are all just trying to survive extinction in this elemental war. I wish I had more words to describe it, but brilliant is the only word that comes to mind. ★★★★☆ (A)