Last time I reviewed a book by Richard Fox, it was book one through three of the Ember War Saga. My comment we overall positive however I was critical of the overall originality of the story. My suggestion was to continue buying and reading the Ember War Saga in-between other titles. Essentially, use solid albeit familiar books as a pallet cleanser between other books or series. My rational was to read the books in order would fatigue the reader and risk losing them forever which nearly happened to me.
Book four surprised me. I was hoping for an easy pallet cleansing book, and on that front, it delivered. What I didn’t expect to find was a book more original and interesting than the other three combined.
Hale is back as an anchor character although I’m not sure he is the protagonist. The consciousness of Marc Ibarra, living in and projected by the alliance probe, is prominent and pulling various strings throughout the book. Ibera’s daughter Stacey also has an interesting story arc as she argues for help at Bastion and then returns to earth.
The story centers around the Toth invasion of the solar system. They pause outside earth and demand earth join the Toth as a meat species. The Toth promise only to consume a small portion of the population if Earth agrees to give up the procedure created humans or proccies as they are commonly called in the book.
We are introduced to the proccies in earlier books however they take center stage in this book. Ibarra has kept the proccies a secret from the population of earth. Somehow the secret is out, and there is a percentage of the people who believe the proccies are an elaborate plot by Iberra to repopulate the earth with slaves. Ibera maintains the only way to save the earth is to create warriors who can be thrown at the enemy without severely diminishing the already limited “true-born” population.
I don’t want to spoil the proccies or what they are any more than I already have. They are by far the most interesting piece of the story. Having humanity divided also gives the character more death. Each character must struggle with their morality and values to decide whether or not proccies are real humans.
I am still going to wait to read book five. Fox is writing in my sweet spot, and I’ll be a little bit more excited when it time to “cleanse my pallet” once again.