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Afterglow by Rexx Deane #BookReview

Aryx is dying.

A powerful thaumaturgist has disappeared.

While Aryx conceals his illness from Sebastian, the hunt for the missing thaumaturgist takes them across the galaxy, but they are soon embroiled in an age-old conspiracy. Espionage may be the key to releasing the ITF’s grip on the galaxy; even with Karan and Monica’s help, breaking into an ITF-controlled installation is no simple feat.

Afterglow by Rexx Deane book cover

Title: Afterglow | Author: Rexx Deane | Series: Synthesis: Weave #2 | Publisher: Forcefield Publishing | Pub. Date: 1 March 2019 | Pages: 472| ISBN13: 9780993177361  | Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Author for review consideration

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Afterglow Review

This is a review for two population groups: those who have read the first “Synthesis: Weave”, and those who have not. For those who have not, never fear, “Afterglow” just about works as a standalone with the author backfilling the reader on the previous book’s events. As a sequel, we kick off where the original story ended. 

The bromance of Aryx and Sebastian continues as they and a mantle of supporting characters grapple with the demon-like alien entities introduced in the first book. The original story teased details of Sebastian’s family and the sequel delivers on that promise. 

Set against the first book, “Afterglow” is more of the same. The two main characters remind me of an old couple, together out of habit and unhealthy codependency than actual companionship. We all know these people. The other star of the show, the ship “Ultima Thule” visits Earth and treats us to a tour of our little rock from the Amazon jungle to the London Marathon. 

Parallel to our main characters is a story of Inquisitors, Templars, Illuminati, and Freemasons, all central to the story’s demonic villain Gravalax. Though this narrative was a chilling and effective reminder of despicable human behaviour and superstition, it felt tacked on to the main storyline. 

Aryx’s viewpoint continues to provide a view into the lives of people living with disabilities, and there is plenty of self-deprecation and humour. Aryx to me is the story’s most interesting character. Prejudice still exists against both Aryx and the artificial intelligence Wolfram, and they cling together as minorities tend to do. 

Gravalax the demonic provides a central villain but demented religions and ignorance are the true enemies. This science fiction is a sobering warning of how far we have come but how quickly we might slide back. 

The book offers brief but fascinating glimpses into concepts like eco-modernism (the environmental crux), Promethean dabbling (the dangers of wresting fire from the gods) and of course artificial intelligence (or silicone intelligence as Wolfram prefers). I am a reader who would have preferred to stop and examine these topics. But the plot, some of which is unconvincing, storms ahead. One of the key elements (Sebastian’s loss of his research in a data centre attack), is even by today’s cloud, edge and distributed computing landscape, inconceivable. To the author’s credit, we are not subject to yet another dystopian future. 

“Afterglow” could have lost 100 pages and retained its effect with sharper prose and tighter storytelling. But this novel is bogged down by bloated, provincial, super-casual dialog that for me detracts from the space-age background. 

For the population group that read “Synthesis: Weave”, it is not even a question, you MUST read this sequel. For those who have not but love an action-packed tour of the stars hearkening back to the good old Space Quest days, “Afterglow” has you covered.

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inScience Fiction Book ReviewsUnstarred Reviews

One Comment

  1. It’s always great when what is promised to be delivered in the first book does get done in the following story. I’m not sure if this is my cuppa tea but I enjoyed your review.

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