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Eve: The Burning Life Hardcover – Mar 25 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (March 25 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575090162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575090163
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 3.2 x 24 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 558 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,962,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Hjalti Danielsson is CCP's lead narrative creator for the harsh universe of New Eden, the setting for CCP's flagship game, EVE Online. After years working as a Game Master he transitioned to CCP's creative writing team. Hjalti is the author of more than sixty short stories set in the EVE Online universe, along with various other works including plays and storytelling game fiction. In his spare time he reads as many books as he can and indulges in sports where he tends to get punched in the head.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

“WE WILL EAT THE BODY and sanctify its blood, to let it be born again.”

The apartment felt sucked dry of air, replaced with a gaseous formaldehyde that put everything and everyone in stasis. The attendants had formed small clusters, the men standing and facing the floor in grim silence, the women sitting, crying, and comforting each other. It was a young man’s apartment, little more than a studio with a small bedroom off to the side. The door to that room was ajar.

Drem Valate, so numb of emotion he felt like a sleepwalker, went and hugged his grandmothers. Each of them had a necklace with a tiny golden vial, and each fingered hers incessantly. “We will consume him, dear,” they were saying in a shivering stammer. “We shall take him into our fold and make his blood our own.”

It was an old prayer of the Sani Sabik, spoken in hard times, and they murmured it like an endless litany: “We will eat the body and sanctify its blood, and we will consume him until he is gone, to let his soul rise again.” They did not cry, for they were too old and weary, but the words fell from their mouths in droplets.

Drem let them go and looked around the room, still avoiding the sight of that half-open door. It was dawn on the colony. People stayed away from the windows, as if the Red God might come and take them away, and through the glass Drem saw the first rays of the nearest sun glide their cold way over the colony dome.

He wondered momentarily if he should walk about and talk to everyone, but he knew it would merely delay the inevitable. He went over to the bedroom door, opened it, took a deep breath, and stepped through.

It was dark inside, and the air was even heavier. The curtains were closed. There was little decoration: some plants in sealed minidomes, and a couple of holoposters on the walls, cycling through images of space. In the corner stood an inconspicuous machine, dark and quiet, laced with all sorts of wires and tubes that had now been wound up in a loop and left to hang off one side. The sight of that machine felt even more like a death sentence, Drem thought, than the body lying on the bed. You died not when you expired but when your life was neatly packed away.

His brother had needed that machine. He hadn’t been tied to it; he merely plugged in twice a day for a few minutes and otherwise lived a relatively normal life. Drem had been helping him save up for a more mobile unit. It was just the two of them now; their parents had died years ago on a blood-harvesting excursion.

Drem, on reflection, supposed it was only him now.

He sat down on the edge of the bed and remained quite still for a long time, looking intently at the machine. His fingers, meanwhile, blindly found their way to the body of his brother. They held his heavy hands, stroked his cold, inert cheeks, and ran slowly through his lifeless hair.

Drem wanted to cry but couldn’t. He wanted to scream but couldn’t. He wanted to think of Leip alive, to imagine some course of events by which none of this was even a reality, but those thoughts were opaque and he was too numb to grasp them. Some part of him, he knew, had realized that everything had changed and had put up a rock-solid dam to stem the flood. There would be no proper grief until everything was over, until Leip had been bled and the rituals completed.

Drem sat there until he began to hear whispering at the door. He got up, kissed his brother’s forehead, and left the room, letting one of his grandmothers take his place. The light outside the windows felt preferable to the bleakness in the house—the presence of a dead body, in and of itself, did not bother Drem, but the immense and silent anguish he saw on everyone’s faces, and probably reflected in his own, was becoming unbearable. He headed out into the yard and took a long, cold breath of morning.

It was early enough that he could still see trails in the sky from the night’s shipping traffic. The entire colony was attached to a moon in wide orbit around the sparsely colonized planet below, and functioned both as a delivery port for arriving interstellar shipments and, to a lesser degree, an assembling plant for various pieces of technology sent up from the planet and bound for somewhere else in dark space. Drem had been raised in another section of the colony, one located nearer to the outlying landing base, and had grown used to the silent tremors of starships taking off in the dark. In wintertime, he and Leip had sometimes sat by the window long after they should’ve been in bed, watching the bulging columns of smoke as the daily shipments of raw materials were readied to be flown back planetside. Drem and Leip would look at each other, grinning, then in unison place their hands on the windowsill, palms flattened. A few seconds later the soundless vibration from the launch would hit, traveling from the airless landing strip, through the metal of the colony and the stone of its mother asteroid, through the atmospheric shield and the ground beyond, up the walls of the nearest houses and into the bones of their hands, the boys giggling like mad.

Drem rubbed his eyes and realized he was crying.

Someone approached and softly cleared his throat. Drem looked up and saw a middle-aged man, gray of beard and hair, dressed in the familiar red-and-black garb of the Bleeders. They were the combination law-enforcement and religious sectarians of the Sani Sabik. If you ever needed either a priest or a policeman, you’d find a Bleeder. They acted over any religious gathering, from midwives to funeral directors, and it was an old joke that you literally had a Bleeder watching over you from the moment you were born until the last breath of your life.

“Hi, Father,” Drem said, not bothering to wipe the tears from his face.

The Bleeder sat beside him on the grass. “Hello, son. I’m Brother Theus. I understand there’s been a loss in this house.” His lips were fixed in a tempered smile held in place by the many wrinkles on his face—a deep concern woven with experience. Drem didn’t dare assume how much of it was genuine and not merely the result of years of practice with the grieving, but he found it calming nonetheless and felt thankful toward the man.

“My brother,” Drem said. “Died in his sleep last night, apparently. He was . . . well, I don’t know.” He sighed and looked at the sky. “He’d been having some trouble, what with the sickness and all. But nothing that should’ve caused something like this.”

“Sickness?” Theus asked.

“Sabik’s Sepsis. It wasn’t severe, but it caused a whole damn headache of problems. Leip had a hemopurifier that he used twice a day, and it helped, but you can’t be sick the way he was and get out of it unscathed.” Drem’s ears caught up with his mouth. “Or get out at all, apparently,” he added with a sigh.

“It is always hard when a child leaves the family,” Theus said.

“Oh no, he was an adult. Not old, but in his twenties,” Drem told him.

“Your brother had permanent blood poisoning?” the priest said to him. It was barely a question and verged on judgment. The worry wrinkles on the old man’s face increased, but Drem now found them less comforting.

“Is there a problem?” he asked the priest.

“I must go inside, my son, and see the family. Are you the closest living relative to the deceased?”

“Yes, Father. I am.”

“Then we will need to talk.”

THE NEXT DAY, Drem, with head full of thunder, went to his grandmother’s house to meet the family for the wake. People would be coming and going all day. They had a young man to bury, and, Drem had discovered, a terrible problem to solve.

The house smelled sweetly of spices and of flowers left to dry in the air. Derutala, known to the family as Granny Deru, had been baking and cooking all day, mostly, Drem suspected, out of a need for something to do. When he came in she was in the kitchen, busying herself with an oven that only she could use without burning its contents. Everything was made of steel and patience here, including Granny Deru.

Drem made his way into the living room. His cousin Vonus was there, standing by a shelf and inspecting the metal picture frames. Vonus’s wife sat in a chair beside him, cradling their infant child. They were only a few years older than Drem and still building a life. At the other end of the room stood another man whom Drem had seldom seen and had not been expecting: Dakren, his father’s brother, a much older man with gray hair and gray eyes.

The infant gurgled happily, and Drem smiled at it. Its mother smiled back at him but with deep furrows of worry in her brows.

Vonus said, “How are you doing, Drem?” in that low voice people reserve for the traumatized, as if sound waves might break them apart.

“I’ve had better days, thanks,” Drem said. “How are you?”

Vonus took his time to phrase the reply. “I’m doing all right, though I have no idea what’s been happening over the past few hours.”

“The priest spoke to you too, did he?” Drem asked.

Vonus hesitated and looked to his wife. She nodded. “Yes. I think he spoke to most of us there.”

Drem looked at the picture frames Vonus had been inspecting. Theirs was a large family, which was common on a workers’ colony. Their little community was sitting on a rock floating in the deeps of outer space. There had been nothing natural here: no atmosphere, no running water, no geothermal heat, and no life. It had taken a long time to give this place anything resembling habitability, and it took no more than a look through its dome to remind the viewer just how tenuous that existence was. In a place like this, people clung to whatever provided the safety and comfort they needed to prove their mastery over their own lives. It made for strong faith, sometimes heavy drinking, and plenty of children.

“I had a talk with him, too,” Drem said. “Twice, even. First one was yesterday morning, when he came to comfort us on the loss of my brother. Then again early this morning, when he told me what this meant for me and this family.”

He glanced at Dakren, who offered no comment. Drem went on, “Leip had a special kind of blood disease. It’s rare but not unheard of. What is rare is for the Sepsis to last into adulthood, because for almost everyone who gets it, it starts to fade rapidly by age four, and by the time puberty starts it is usually gone for good. But not for my brother.”

The little family sat in dead silence as Drem continued, “As we found out when he was first diagnosed, this condition, among the many other things it made Leip suffer, left him unable to donate blood when required for rescue work or ceremonial purposes. If we were still in the Amarr Empire, this wouldn’t matter.”

Vonus and his wife winced. The mention of the old world, which their nation had left a long time before any person in the room had been born, was still not done idly. The exodus had taken place for complicated reasons and left wounds in both factions, which, despite the Blood Raiders’ extremism, still shared a substantial amount of core beliefs.

“He’d have been treated like any other person with a permanent illness, no more nor less. But this is the Sani Sabik, where we worship the blood. We have ships out there somewhere, raiding the skies in our name, and in the empires they use us as monsters to frighten their children.”

Drem reached out and plucked from the shelf a small picture frame, set slightly aside from the others. It cycled slowly through pictures of his brother, one smiling face morphing into another. “Apparently, an adult having poisoned blood, to a member of the Sani Sabik, is a sacrilege. The very idea defies the Red God’s laws. I thought I knew a lot about the rules of my faction, but I did not know about this.”

He gently stroked his thumb over the image, then put the frame back on the shelf and turned back to his family. “Leip cannot be buried. He can be kept in stasis for as long as it takes, because we Sani Sabik are good at keeping people fresh.” He spat the word. “But he can never be buried, not unless by some miracle we convince the clergy to write his name in the Books of the Dead.

“The alternative is that he be stricken from existence, as if he had never lived at all. All records of his life would be expunged, insofar as such a thing is possible. When the priest told me this, I was too numb even to answer, so he added one last streak of piss to this whole disgusting mess.”

Drem looked at Vonus’s child. “Until this matter gets sorted out, no more children in the family can be brought into the fold. Not even this beautiful little thing here.”

He kneeled and stroked the child’s head, smiling at it. “Until my brother’s life has been erased from existence,” he said to it, gently, as if he were soothing it to sleep, “you simply won’t exist. You won’t go to school, you can’t go to the hospital, you’ll be banned from our churches. In their eyes, you won’t even have a name.”

“Drem . . .” Vonus said.

Drem got up and faced his cousin, “Adult relatives are safe. Their rights aren’t infringed at all, because if they were, the clergy knows that they would revolt. So instead they go after the children, because Blood Raiders understand people’s weak points and they know it’ll turn you against me.” He smiled faintly. “Understand, if I could kill this priest, I would. If I could walk up to him, with his understanding smile and his wrinkles of worry, and shove a nail so far into his eye that it would penetrate not only his brain but those of every single clergy member in the Sani Sabik, I would do it without a second thought.”

Behind him, he heard a gasp from Vonus’s wife. He turned back to her. “But I can’t, obviously. I can’t do much about this at all. There are special dispensations for those with money and connections, but we have neither. My only option is to have Leip stricken off the list. That, or see every new child in this family be turned into an outcast.”

He sat down on the floor. “Is this what the priest told you?” he asked the couple.

Vonus cleared his throat. “He said that there would be a problem of a clerical nature, and that we would need to convince you to make the right choice. He also mentioned the striking commission.”

“Which I would be paid as compensation for losing my brother, or whatever half a life’s worth the Sani Sabik think he had. It would even be enough to buy me passage off the colony, away from the memories I’d leave rotting in the ground.”

“Will you consider it?” Vonus’s wife said, too loudly. “Will you please consider it?”

“No,” Drem said. He saw tears form in her eyes, and he looked away, shutting his own eyes and rubbing his fingers over them.

“What do you need?” said a dim voice from the other side of the room.

Dakren was a rare presence at family gatherings. He worked closely with the Blood Raiders, the sect of Sani Sabik who spent most of their lives in space hunting down, attacking, and harvesting the blood of nonbelievers for various purposes scientific and liturgical. There was money in that life, and honor, and not a little craziness. From what Drem had been told, Dakren had gotten both of Drem’s parents involved with these harvest missions. Then on some trip into deep space, their victims had fought back, and all Blood Raider ships on the venture had perished. Dakren had rarely spoken to Drem since.

Drem looked at him now. “I need my brother to be given a funeral and a line in the Books of the Dead. I need the clergy to approve his ascension. And I need to punch a priest in the face, but that can wait.”

Dakren gave a thin smile. “I’m familiar with what it takes to finagle one’s way into the clergy’s good graces. The traditional way is to perform a special service to the Blood Raiders, but it can also be accomplished by donating substantial amounts of money.”

“Seeing as how I can do neither, it’s not really an issue,” Drem said. “I hear the service has to be something that’s demonstrably in the favor of the Sani Sabik as a people. It can be a new type of highly valuable technology, or a service in the diplomatic favor of our faction, or just something that saves the lives of a lot of our people. I imagine whoever designed Leip’s haemopurifier got an easy pass,” he added in a bitter tone.

Excerpted from Eve by .
Copyright © 2010 by CCP hf.
Published in April 2010 by Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
EVE Online universe is an excellent long-term game and the stories crafted for the site are amazing. The book likewise follows this vein of personal loss and achievement for an individual who loses all that he knows and seeks revenge for it. The only major issue that needs to be addressed by CCP's publisher choice for this, is the production quality. Already in less than a month, with very little usage, the front cover (full 100% paperback book) is peeling at the sides and creases without much provocation. Given this book was delayed several times for whatever reason, this isn't acceptable quality, even for the somewhat higher than average price for a paperback. Great read, poor production quality.
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By fastreader TOP 500 REVIEWER on Aug. 31 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A real thrill ride with action happening ALL THE time. Based on a video game but much like the Halo series a bunch of highly skilled writters have transferred the excitement of the game into book form. Highly entertaining
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I love the EVE Online universe, it is very rich, intricate and boundless. That is the only reason I managed to read the whole book. The story is extraordinary in itself, but in the EVE context, it is quite ordinary, the events are predictable, and the writing is subpar. I thoroughly loved the previous book, Empyrean Age, but it was by a different author, with a much better mastery of story telling.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 33 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Not really about Eve... May 26 2010
By Mike - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
*spoilers ahead*

As an avid sci-fi reader and an off and on Eve player I was pretty excited about getting this book, but since starting it I've been really disappointed. I should also mention I've stopped reading this book about half way through, there's just no motivation left to finish. First and foremost, in EVE-Online you're a enhanced human plugged into a space ship taking part in deep space naval combat. It would be nice if that was what the book was about rather than Generic Person Number 234234 and an "Agent" who's sole purpose in the game is to feed you the same canned missions and briefings over and over again. Perhaps the star of the next book could be a custodian in an restaurant somewhere and a tree since they have about as much impact on the game. Of course, they are part of the Eve-Universe, I'll grant that, but beyond their insignificance in general I just couldn't much care about them.

The first character, who's home colony is blown up, is part of the "Blood Raiders", a pirate faction of Eve who's back story is different but pretty much that of the Reapers from Firefly in terms of violence. Lots of torturing people to death and ickyness. "Blood Raiders" really says it all about them. It would have been interesting if the book had presented their 'other side', but no, its all about harvesting humans for them in the book as well. So when his home gets torched... I don't care. As for the Agent, aside from the page after page of descriptions of the inside of a space station (not all of which makes complete logical sense) its just the story of an overworked business person crashing out on drugs. There are a heck of a lot better written stories out there if that's what you want to read about. Her ethical dilemma is all fine and dandy, and perhaps even justified with her, but my lack of empathy on this gets back to not really caring about some space-born butchers getting killed such as the other main character's family, the fact that as an Eve player in the game world the reader would be one of the mass murders she bemoans (so I guess we're supposed to feel guilty?), and finally having just reread the first eve book before this one came out with its nearly planetary level genocide on several separate occasions, her whining just feels like that. Whining.

Maybe I was being overly optimistic, but when you pick up a science fiction book set in a space combat game universe with a battleship and an explosion on the cover, you maybe expect a bit more action than a paragraph about orbital bombardment and a single frigate attacking a battleship with predictable results (that entire part by the way was so contrived, nonsensical and poorly written both in terms of a story and in terms of blatantly breaking from how eve game play works it was depressing) in the first hundred pages. Maybe the book picks up in the second half but then good god Mr. Danielsson, learn some pacing.

All in all, I'd rate this a Uwe Boll movie in book form.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Wow! . . . and not in a good way . . . April 13 2010
By rjs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I must preface this review by saying that I AM familiar with EVE Online and am fascinated by both the game and the fiction that the game has spawned. Both have demonstrated tremendous potential for depth; I have read excellent player fiction posted in the form of blogs and player run fiction sites, aside from CCP-produced fiction. I also must say that I generally have a policy of not writing a review of fiction . . . after all, it is so easy to critique someone else's work, but the reality remains that they are published . . . and I am not.

However . . . this piece of work was so less than satisfying, I feel that a caveat emptor is in order.

This book was a huge disappointment. Extremely loose plot, no theme, superficial characters and forced dialogue.

I will not go into great detail (just in case someone wants to buy the book), but the story deals with the protagonist who after an attack and loss, decides that vengeance is the only option left to him. In the meantime, another minor character, who is on a path of self-destruction, commits a crime and goes on the run. Of course, the two stories intersect towards the end, because of course, they need each other in order for the protagonist's plan to come to fruition. The lesson in the end is that . . . actually, I'm not sure what the lesson was. But that's okay; I don't have to have a moral to the story, as long as it's an entertaining read, which this was not. Boring.

The dialogue was no better. The conversations between characters read almost like a screenplay from a tween drama . . . quite fake and forced. The attempts to elicit emotion from the exchanges between characters did not work, probably because you don't get to know who these people really are. It seemed to me that what was more important to the author was focusing on the various factions in the EVE Universe as opposed to showing us who these people really were and what the reasons were for their actions.

The technique in writing was also a major disappointment. The following is a brief demonstration of the kind of words and terms that are found to be used multiple times every couple of pages: "entirely", "stock-still", "volumetric displays", something being 'half-this' and/or 'half-that', "proper" and "clearly". As I progressed through the novel, I became exasperated whenever I came across one of the foregoing terms; they were used so much throughout the story. The story was full of awkward word choice, word usages, and strange and excessive use of profanity. It made me wonder if the author would have been better off writing the book in his native tongue and then having it translated into English. This feature was one of the most distracting of the book, and took my focus away from the story.

The penultimate chapter began the book's hasty wrap-up and conclusion. The mental somersaults required to accept the conclusion was too much for me to accept, and it simply did not work.

My conclusion is that this book is - unfortunately - a dud. I found the writing to be tedious and horrendous. And forget about it if you have no clue what EVE Online is; you will be completely lost. I find that, in comparison to the first book - The Empyrean Age - this book is a huge disappointment, both for science fiction fans and fans of EVE Online fiction. This book cannot be classified as serious science fiction and it is most certainly not high-quality EVE Online fiction. I would say that it fits more into the category of middle-grade fiction; however, due to the frequent (and awkward!) use of profanity, I'm not sure that parents would want their 8-12 year olds reading this book. I would not recommend this book for purchase for these reasons. There are far superior works out there in cyberspace that are free, for example Kalin Ringkvist's "Against A Rock".

I apologize to the author for this scathing review, but I hope this review has been helpful to any thinking of buying and reading this book.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Worthy of a free PDF included with the game, not $10 June 13 2010
By Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Eve: The Burning Life ended up reading more like an introduction to the non-player side and world of Eve-Online the online game. While there was a chapter or two that was of interest to learn more about the world of Eve, even to a old player like myself the overall quality and story of this "book" was lacking, I personally didn't feel it'd justify the price of a $5 paperback, and would have felt it been better if the makers of Eve-Online included it as a free PDF for everyone that bought a copy of the game. It really didn't read like an intro to any video game, just one that was spread over several hundred pages.

This is contrary to the better work done on Empyrean Age, which I felt was a much better and interesting book. I'd recommend searching that one out instead if you're looking for some Eve related material and a quality book.

You won't find it here.
only for the most Devoted EVE player.... Dec 19 2010
By Dustin L. Sanders - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who enjoys the act of creation, i know what kind of passion, commitment, time, and energy goes into any act of creation: be it writing, music, art, or performance. As such, I absolutely hate to speak ill of someone else's work.

unfortunately.......(spoilers now)

most of the reviews posted here paint a picture of a subpar novel that shares nothing with the universe that spawned it aside from some cover art and the name. This is pretty much the case. Although I was able to make it to the end, I did so only because i had paid for the novel and was bound and determined to get my seven dollars' worth out of it. The ending in particular felt rather disconnected from the story, as the planning and buildup that was the focus of most of the novel was thrown out the window after the primary character has what might be termed a change of heart (though one might argue that the change of heart came at the beginning of the novel and rather comes to his senses at the end).

The secondary protagonist served little purpose, except perhaps to serve as an avatar through which players of EVE Online could see firsthand the empires they have been serving and/or blowing up (or both, depending on the day). It's not until the last pages of the novel that she actually develops a bit of relevance to the plot in which the primary character is entangled.

Now, because I don't believe in trashing someone else's hard work without some silver lining, THE GOOD:

I particularly enjoyed seeing the insides of the so-called "pirate" organizations present in game. The Blood Raiders in game only seem to be interested in blowing you up and drinking your blood, but those depicted in the book never even leave the planet, and we get a look at their religious customs, their family dynamic, and even their cooking skills. The depiction of the militant and ruthlessly efficient Angel Cartel seemed to mesh very well with the depiction of the Angels in game, and the depiction of the Guristas as nothing but a hard-fighting, hard-partying, hard-assed family was enjoyable as well. Meeting (albeit second-hand, through the protagonist's eyes) the surviving founder of the Guristas pirates was, while lacking in dialogue value, a bit of fan service that I was able to enjoy.

TL;DR?
So, if you're someone who can find a way to enjoy anything or just wants to get their hands on another piece of the EVE universe, this novel might draw a small nod of approval from you. But don't buy it new. pick up one of the used versions. Given most of the reviews available here, there are a great many copies of this novel available that haven't even been read all the way through, so they should be in "good as new" condition.
The Burning Life: the Good, the bad, and the ugly Sept. 8 2010
By RandomPerson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Your level of enjoyment will depend on what you're looking for out of this book. I think it does several things well, and a lot of things very poorly.

The Good:

-If you're fairly new to the game, the somewhat artificial introductions to all the various factions is somewhat interesting. It might be nice from a literary point of view if they were less artificial.
-If you're at all interested in getting a different point of view on the EVE universe than you would get from playing the game, this book is almost entirely about non-capsuleers. The downside for me of course is that I just had trouble seeing the guy who went on a quest for revent after his colony was blown up by a capsuleer as anything other than the main villain in the story.

The Bad:

-Character development is kind of weak.
-Plot is fairly formulaic
-If you're not interested in the EVE Universe, there are much better sci-fi books. Or if you are interested in the Universe but already know a lot about it, that's also true.
-Character pursuing revenge seems to be incredibly awesome at doing things he has no experience doing. He's inexplicably good at getting information, seems to have contacts that a random guy from a non-descript colony shouldn't have. The tactical genius I can accept maybe, but it seems like it would take longer than that to fully develop.

The Ugly:

-When the two major plot lines come together, the story stops making sense altogether. I could see the particular chain of events taking place, but not over 2-3 chapters. In other words, while the final chain of events is plausible, there's a lot of persuation on the part of one character that's missing.
-A lot of interesting moral questions could be explored in the last sections of the book. Instead it rushes to an ending that just feels unsatisfying.

The Ugly, part 2, now with spoilers!

-At the end the agent joins the Sisters of EVE because of the amount of corruption found everywhere in the other factions. When faced with such corruption within the Sisters, rather than become disgusted again she decides to help the other main character with his quest for revenge. I could see that happening, but not right away. Not without some more complex fleshing out of the characters, persuasion, manipulation, seduction, something... anything. That would have also made the story more interesting.
-If the capsuleer had recognized the agent at the end and accused her of complicity in the murder, some interesting moral dilemmas could have been explored. For example, why does the first character not seem to harbor any ill will towards an agent who sent the capsuleer out in the first place. To what extent are any of the characters responsible. If that capsuleer hadn't taken the mission, another one would have. If that agent had given out that mission another one might have. War existed before capsuleers and will after (if anyone does ever kill them off). Instead we get two self-righteous characters pursuing plain old revenge.
-Honestly, if I had been the capsuleer, I'd have chosen death (but then again I haven't played my EVE Online character that long).


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