A Review of: Engines of Oblivion, by Karen Osborne [book 2 of 2]

When I read this book – I started it immediately after completing the first book – Architects of Memory. Which was perfect – no lag in my brain over what happened. 

Again – an excellently written, unique book. And yet, quite different in plot from the first. A continuation… yes. But a much different story. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This book follows primarily, one of the other salvage crew members as the main character: Natalie. It’s a reasonable switch, as at the end of book one Ash is ‘indisposed’, shall we say. When we begin this book, there are still many unanswered questions about the fate of many of the characters in Architects. 

We’re a year ahead in time. Which, works smoothly, based on the reasons. Natalie is on the verge of becoming Citizen – everything she’s ever wanted. Which turns out to be far less shiny that expected. Citizens are locked in a system too – it is a corporation, after all. No one is ever actually free. Natalie is happy in the beginning, until the reality of the limitation of it all become clear. It’s more of a word, than a reality. 

This book follows a path that is closer tied to the corporation ‘s integration of the Vai alien technology, and weaponry into their own – and using it to fight the war between the humans, and the ongoing battle with the Vai. Or so it seems. 

The depth and breadth of detail of the Vai aliens, their minds, their ships, their technology, their weapons – is truly vast. The world building leaves little to wish for. The level of detail is perfect – without bogging down the story. It never feels like an info dump – a sign of excellence in story writing. 

Additionally – this book delves more in to the emotional landscape or morals. Doing right and wrong – for our main character Natalie – as well as many of the others. The arc of character growth is massive in this book ( as well as a continuation of great change from Architects.) 

*** mild spoilers ahead ***

I feel like Oblivion, has two parts: Before Ash is present, and After Ash is returned to the action of the story. There is a lot of turmoil, and uncertainty with Ash, and Kate, through the entire story. It’s unsettling, filled with mixed, messy, human, emotions. And yet, more, too. 

Let’s call it part 2 – After Ash – this is the weakest part of both books for me in a few small ways. For me, this portion of the story had far too little attention to detail – unlike the rest of the book, regarding the Vai tech, the situation, the intricate details here. And also – it was too short. I felt like it could have slowed down, gotten the level of detail, fleshed it all out to the same level as the entirety of the rest of both book – would have been perfection. It was still good, and okay, and adequate. But it was a clear change from the rest. So I was disappointed in that regard. (also- I did not want the story to end, just keep going!) 

The end of the plot story would have benefited from just another chapter or two – to add that detail to it as well – the completion of all the arc and story lines. It didn’t do it justice there either. 

Overall – again, an excellent story. Excellent world building. Excellent story arc for the characters, plot, clarity, uniqueness, etc. In general – I wasn’t left with the empty feeling of wondering about a bunch of things left incomplete – which seems to be a common thing on books, sadly. Not finishing the story! I’m sad there isn’t a third book coming, regardless – because I just want to keep reading this story. And there is certainly many more directions and stories that could be told in this universe, should it be the authors desire. But – it completed itself admirably, and closed all the doors and windows. 

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