Sunday, January 23, 2022

Book Review - Aurora Rising (The Prefect) by Alastair Reynolds

Title: Aurora Rising (aka The Prefect) 
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Year: 2007
Pages: 428 pages
Print Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Audible Rating: N/A 

Welcome to the Glitter Band, a series of thousands of orbital habits around Epsilon Eridani. In the Revelation Space series, the planet Yellowstone is the starting point or key place for every novel. In the Prefect series, Alastair Reynolds skews the perspective by focusing on the myriad habitats orbiting the star and police force named the Panoply that is charged with keeping them safe. 

In the Prefect or Aurora Rising, as the title was renamed a few years back, Prefect Tom Dreyfus begins his quest to maintain the safety of the Glitter Band's rights by investigating polling fraud. The situation was more dire than Dreyfus understood as the investigation sparks to mass murder to cover up something entirely different. Dreyfus assembles a team of Prefects to get to the bottom of these heinous crimes. 

Dreyfus and the other officers from the Panoply have to dig deep to figure out what is happening and then how to resolve the situation. The novel dives and swoops through twists and turns, keeping the reader on the edge of their seats and flipping pages. It's very hard to set down. 

This is one part thriller, one part detective novel, and a third-part science fiction story. Reynolds does all three very well as he often investigates the consequences of the technology he uses while being very careful to create plausible limitations to that technology. There is a smorgasbord of wild and insane technology in these books, all operating together to create the 'verse where these characters live. The result is a very "lived in" feel to the characters' world which is reminiscent of Firefly and Serenity as opposed to Star Wars or Star Trek. 

This is a two-book series, Aurora Rising and Elysium Fire which runs alongside the rest of the Revelation Space novels. It's interesting because Reynolds loves a cast of thousands in his books and you can't help but notice when the characters reference each other. Oddly, there is no requirement to read those other books. But you should. 

The Revelation Space series verges on diamond-hard science fiction, where faster than light travel does not exist. I like it, but sometimes the whole thing can jump to body horror or technophobia as some of the threats enter the realm of "what would happen if you stuck an atom bomb in your eye" or "stepped into a running jet engine". Actually, both happen more than once... Crazy. 

You can search for it on Abebooks. 

Aurora Rising (The Prefect) by Alastair Reynolds on AbeBooks.

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