Saturday 15 June 2013

Judge (The Wess'har Wars Book 6) - Karen Traviss

Title: Judge (The Wess'har Wars Book 6)
Author: Karen Traviss
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 2008
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

“Judge” by Karen Traviss is the final book in her science fiction series known as the “The Wess'har Wars”. If you haven’t read the previous books in the series then I do advise that you avoid reading this review as some of my commentary is likely to spoil some aspects of the previous books. If you are interested in this series then please go and read my review of the first novelwhich is entitled “The City of Pearl” and can be found here.

The story follows on from the previous novel with the Eqbas fleet finally arriving on Earth to undertake a massive environmental cleaning campaign. Shan and her two life mates have travelled with them even though they all carry the parasite that makes them virtually immortal. This is because she feels that she should be involved in the attempts of the Eqbas to deal with the various governments and ensure that the environmental damage can be reversed without the need to wipe out humanity for good.

I have to be honest and say that I was a little bit disappointed with this final entry in the series. Traviss’ writing is still competent enough but the entire plot was quite simply rather dull. There is no doubt that things get resolved, but it was all done with a whimper rather than a bang. For example, the Eqbas fleet finally arrived at Earth which is something I have been looking forward to for ages, but there was no real conflict here. After thirty years of forewarning, humanity hadn’t bothered trying to improve their defences, they just rolled over and accepted their fate. This lack of excitement isn’t helped by the way in which Traviss uses the time period that passes during space flight to jump the story forward. It results in the reader getting to skip to the end and rely on an aging Eddie to give both the main characters and the reader a brief of what has happened.

In addition there are the various plot points which had been built up in previous books but went nowhere such as the threat of the Skavu, the antics of the Bezari, humanity’s attempt to get C’naatat or Esganikan’s self-infection. These aspects were all touched on during the novel, but I was expecting so much more in relation to these aspects and I felt let down by what I did get. It just feels like Traviss has intentionally tried to avoid any aspect of conflict within the novel which leads to a rather disappointing conclusion to the series.

It isn’t until the final third of the novel that I really began to get some enjoyment out of the story as I witnessed Shan, Ade and Aras return to F’Nar and attempt to put their lives in order. This section of the story was at times very emotional and it highlighted how much I appreciated and liked these characters. The way in which the relationships, friendships, desires and difficulties were resolved was handled very well. It was specifically interesting to note that by the end of this novel, Shan turned out not to be that important after all, she was side-lined and shown to be no more than any other person. It was quite brave of Traviss to do this to her main character and I appreciated that this tied in nicely with the overall theme of the series in that we as individuals and as a species are not the be all and end all.

Overall, whilst this isn’t the most exciting book in the series if you have made it this far then you surely have to finish. I think that Traviss has missed the chance to create a truly enthralling novel and finish the series in style. However, she does at least give the characters some form of emotional send-off which was nice to see after watching them grow and change over the previous books.


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