SERIES: “Hidden Worlds” series, #2
WHY THIS NOVEL: I really liked The Hidden World, the first in this series (trilogy).
After the Earth was destroyed by ruthless machine intelligences known as the Cold Minds, the remnants of the human race sought refuge on the Hidden Worlds. Now, after six centuries of safety, the horrors of the past have returned to finish the extermination…
Renegade jump pilot Iain sen Paolo and Linnea Kiaho know that the Cold Minds have found humanity again. To fight back, they need to recruit jump pilots. But the secretive Pilot Masters guard their knowledge–and their ships–jealously. They refuse to admit that the Cold Minds have returned or that anyone not of their number could posses the ability to fly a jump ship. Now, Linnea must prove the Pilot Masters wrong.
On the run and desperately searching for allies to oppose the Cold Minds, Linnea and Iain face near-impossible odds. But they know that somehow, someway, they must succeed–or humanity itself will become extinct…
As I said, I really liked The Hidden Worlds. In parts, The Cold Minds continues the exploration of elements present in The Hidden Worlds, like the differences between Linnea and Iain because of their background or how power can corrupt and make you think of only yourself and blind to the larger picture. Again, the story doesn’t pull any punches in terms of what can happen and shows characters that are far from nice. And Linnea and Iain, while basically nice, remain flawed characters.
But while the world itself seems more coherent this time around, I have the impression that this novel is all over the place in terms of plot lines and POV characters.
- Linnea and Iain try to recruit jump pilots independent of the Pilot Masters
- they have to evade authorities while they are at it (for part of the novel, that is)
- Linnea and Iain’s relationship is put to the test because Iain made a mistake and all the work and problems take their toll (also, they don’t talk)
- there’s Linnea’s homesickness
- there’s backstabbing and intrigue among the Pilot Masters again
- again, some of the Pilot Masters think to use the time of confusion to further their power
- the threat of the Cold Minds
- the power struggle over Nexus, the home planet of the Pilot Masters
- the power struggle over who is in charge
- … (I think)
I think I listed enough to illustrate my point IMO (the novel is 293 pages long).
In The Cold Minds, I missed the ethical dimension (which I liked a lot in The Hidden Worlds) and a strong unifying plot. Although the fight against the arrogance of the Pilot Masters (and the Cold Minds) is supposed to be just that, it was weighed down by all the other things and diluted by the many POV characters and several jumps in time which covered a few months. Sometimes I even thought I missed important developments because of that. Throw in a few convenient coincidences too much and that I wanted more about the why of behavior and developments too often, and the end result is a novel that didn’t come together for me. Sadly, I liked The Cold Minds (much) less than I anticipated.
There is a sort of conclusion at the end of the novel, but the threat of the Cold Minds is far from eliminated. So I’ll (probably) read the next novel, The Dark Reaches.
Verdict: Although I’ve finished this novel fast, I easily could have put the book down. There was nothing that actually really gripped me and compelled me to keep reading. (3/5)