Warning – if you haven’t read the first book, Fortune’s Rising, there are spoilers here. I’ve done my best not to give away anything from the second book, but I’m writing this under the assumption that you’ve either already read the first, or don’t care if I ruin some of the surprises.
As much as I enjoyed the first installment of the Outer Bounds books, the second one was far better.
So much more happens in this book. Unlike a lot of other series, where the first book tells one story and then the sequel(s) feel separate and detached, these two books tie together beautifully.
In a way, Fortune’s Rising feels like an introduction to this sequel. It’s not only an interesting read in its own right, but serves to build a great foundation for this second story.
While the first book ends with the beginning of the people of Fortune rising against the Coalition, this book takes us into the ensuing battle.
During the course of the conflict there are a lot of shifts in the dynamics of the story. In Fortune’s Rising we had the inhuman, unstoppable Nephyrs of the Coalition on one hand and the scrappy colonist resistance on the other. We know there’s something unusual about Magali and her uncanny abilities, and her final fight hinted that there was something more going on. But that was it. The odds are still stacked against our heroes in a big way.
As Fortune’s Folly progresses, more characters (new and old) demonstrate the ability to fight back against their once superior foes. By the end of the first book we already had a friendly Nephyr running around with Magali. Adding additional powerful allies like these makes it feel like the Coalition army has lost some of it’s teeth in the second book, and that isn’t a bad thing.
This all adds up to the story shifting away from an overwhelming fear of the might of the Coalition to other threats that are much more sinister. This shift makes the universe the story plays out in feel much, much larger and more intricate. There’s history and backstory that is unveiled a bit at a time, deepening the plot as you read.
Just when you feel like you’ve begun to piece it all together and understand most of what’s actually going on, something new and completely unknown comes into play.
One of the things Sara King mentions in the ‘About The Author’ section of her books is a passion for writing sci-fi that is about the people, not the technology. Personally, I like the technology (after all, my favorite character is still the damn robot), but I know what she means.
In my opinion, she really nails that goal in this book. I feel like I understand most of the characters a lot better by the end. The different characters’ fears and hopes, past traumas and dreams for the future are all much more detailed in this second installment.
The reveal of Jeanne’s past with Joel was pretty powerful – and not just because it was immediately followed by her suicide. She was always a cold, hard character and suddenly you understand why. The fact that she then ends up surviving, but as a living ship instead of a human being, makes her reunion with her daughter heart wrenching. The entire process also turns Joel into the character you (or at least I) really wanted him to be all along.
The added back story of Milar and Patrick also helps put a clearer focus on why Milar hates Jersey so much. Yeah, he’s a Nephyr, and everyone hates Nephyrs. But Milar really hates them, and it’s good to know why.
Magali is the one that really wins out for me though. She actually gets a little Katniss Everdeen-ey for a while: the unwilling figurehead thrust into leadership of a war she started without meaning to.
At the end of the day I’m super curious to see how all of this plays out. There are a lot of things still up in the air – I’ll be looking forward to the third installment coming out 🙂