Disclaimer: This is the second book in a trilogy of which all books have been released. I will be writing this review without spoilers of the first book, however some expectant spoilers will likely exist (meaning nothing specific, just broad strokes and/or themes that show up that may be used to determine plot points to truly astute readers).
Saga by Conor Kostick
Published May 2008
Publisher: Viking Books
Pages: 384 (Hardcover)
Genera: Young Adult, SciFi
Result: 3 stars
After the event of Epic a probe from Earth sent a new game, Saga, to the people living on New Earth, much to the excitement of the people of New Earth. Oblivious to this, Ghost and her gang of kids living in Saga are living the life of hover boards and petty crime. They don’t realize they are part of a game and that things are going to start getting interesting with the arrival of new people that can come and go at will and will be reborn after death. No one knows the reason for the convergence of these two worlds but the Dark Queen, who has dubious plans of her own to fulfil.
I really loved the first book in this trilogy – in fact Epic is currently my top new read of the year thus far – so I wanted to read more. I thought I had an idea about where this book was going to go, yet it didn’t go there. On one hand this is a good thing as it didn’t follow the typical trend of a series. However, this book – a sequel to the previous book – ignored important world consequences that would have happened as a result of the previous book. I would have liked to have learned more about those consequences and the ramifications. In the second book it seemed as though the world lived on like the big things that happened in the previous book did not happen. Thus this book is more of a companion book then a sequel.
Instead this book follows a mostly new cast of characters: Ghost and the Dark Queen being the major players, though Cindella/Erik and a few others of the previous books show up as well. The balance of male to female characters in this book is much more balance then the previous book, which I was happy to see. The new characters were interesting and unique with their own stories to tell, which I liked learning about. Also, the main character, Ghost was clearly described, at least twice, as being dark-skinned.
This book rotated between 2 main and a one-off side character’s point of view, going from 1st (most of the time) to 3rd perspective. It wasn’t that jarring and the 1st person was pulled of better then most novels. However, sometimes the writing worked and sometimes it didn’t. Erik’s perspective was ranged from good to awkward, the Dark Queen was interesting but often annoying to read and Ghost’s was good mixed with some really great passages. The characters, Erik in particular during his speech scene, were more articulate then is natural.
The slang of the characters in Saga was interesting but for a world that has had 2000 years to develop, it was stuck in the 90s punk stage, which was very odd. There was hoverboards, I guess as a way to make it feel futuristic, but there were still billboards and card readers and chips for money making it an interesting mash-up for a setting which could be hard to get into. This world also had the typical dystopian faction system, this time card colours dictated how you lived life and what jobs and money you got. Interesting, but nothing revolutionary. There was a distinct lack of world building between the three worlds included in this book and of how Earth exists now. I would have liked to learn more about how Earth developed over all that time.
The probe and the RALs having sort-up humans thoughts and emotions was weird but interesting, however I mostly found it confusing as to how they got to be that way as the worldbuilding in that area was lacking beyond a general ‘it happened’. However, the consequence of it happening was thoroughly and wonderfully discussed.
Lastly, this book is mostly set in the ‘virtual’ world, which I didn’t like as much as the great balance of virtual and real world that occurred in Epic.
Overall, this book did not do what I expected. It was interesting but also kinda ‘meh’ for me. I wanted more worldbuilding and/or for things to be revealed faster then they ultimately were. I do not think I will be continuing on with the last book as the plot is not really something I’m interested in seeing.
However, the idea of silent parties where everyone brings their own music and headphones to listen with and dance around to your own beat sounds so neat but it would be so creepy to see a large group of people dancing with no sound at all.