Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Ally (The Wess'har Wars Book 5) - Karen Traviss



Title: Ally (The Wess'har Wars Book 5)
Author: Karen Traviss
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 2007
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
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“Ally” is the fifth and penultimate book in Karen Traviss’ science fiction series known as the “The Wess'har Wars”. As with my previous reviews of the books in this series I once against advise people to avoid reading this review unless you have read the previous books. This is because most of my commentary on the plot will in all likelihood spoil some aspects of the previous books. If you are interested in giving this series a try however, then feel free to read my review of the first novel which is entitled “City of Pearl” and can be found here.

The story basically continues the events unveiled in the previous novel, “Matriarch” with the Eqbas continuing to prepare for their future journey to Earth alongside trying to rebalance the Isenj home world. As a civil war between the Isenj drags on the Eqbas soon realise that unless something different is done, they may be stuck dealing with the Isenj for the long term when their main goal was to get to Earth. Therefore, a new alien species known as the Skavu are called in to help deal with Isenj and free up the Eqbas so that they may start the journey to Earth. These fanatical ecological warriors soon cause more issues and before long the Wess’har and Isenj realise that they may need to set aside some of their differences and come to an agreement on the future to ensure that the Skavu can be removed from the picture. Meanwhile Lindsey Neville has unleashed the C’naatat virus into the remaining Bezari population which causes a whole new range of issues for the various alien species to deal with.

If the initial sentence in the above description of plot sounds rather similar to what occurred in “Matriarch” then this would be because the first half of the novel doesn’t actually progress the story much. The first few chapters mainly seem dedicated to discussions, inaction and contemplation to the point that the whole thing could drag a little bit and it didn’t offer anything new. Luckily, though as the novel progresses the storyline does pick up and I began to feel like there was some development in both the main plot lines and the rather interesting sub-plots. I am now much more confident that in the next novel I will finally get to see the Eqbas arrive at Earth which I have been looking forward to throughout the previous two novels.

The characters and their development continue to be one of the most interesting and engaging aspect of the series with Aras’ internal struggle against his guilt and other personal demons being a particular plus point in the novel. However, I do have to add that some of the character interactions do appear to have become a little bit repetitive. For example, I don’t know how many more times I can stand reading about Shan’s outright hatred for Rayat or her firm belief that Lindsey Neville is quite simply an idiot. It just means that whilst I got to see some interesting progress in the development of some characters such as Ade, Eddie and Aras there are others like Shan & Lindsey that seem stuck in a rut.

Overall, whilst a lot of this review does come across as being slightly negative, I still enjoyed the novel and was happy to see that there is some real progress being made in the plot by the finale. It really is a book of two halves, both in relation to the initial slow plot progress and in how some characters are developed well whilst others have become quite stagnant in relation to their growth. Personally, I enjoyed the book and am now looking forward to the final book in the series although I have no idea how it is going to conclude as I am finding it hard to envision any sort of happy ending.