|FINALLY! The epic is over, it really is. And the end was awesome. If you haven’t read the previous three books, stop now. Really. You can check out my earlier reviews for The Unincorporated Man, The Unincorporated Woman, and The Unincorporated War by clicking these titles. If you enjoy epic science fiction (not fantasy!), then do yourself a favor and gather up all these books.
Their premier book garnered the Prometheus Award. All four books are really great storytelling. If you haven’t been keeping up, here’s a brief synopsis: Justin Cord was a millionaire+ who had himself frozen for 300 years. He woke up in a peaceful world where no one ever starves. His problem? No one is free, either. Everyone is owned by someone or someones and you have to be pretty extraordinary to own your own majority of shares. Your choices in life are governed by your shareholders. Justin found like minds in the billions of humans who lived far from Earth; people who resented the incorporated society and were looking for a leader. He became that leader and embroiled the entire human society in the most bloody and costly war ever known but all in the name of freedom so that made it right….mostly.
He was followed by a woman, Sandra, from his own century who succeeded him as President of the rebels. She was the one who found a final solution; and I use that term deliberately. The cost in human lives (and others…) was beyond anything the human race had ever endured. It was a bit distressing to me to read of billions of lives lost; although the authors never made it visceral. The authors set up the stage to illustrate how one leader, who is so insulated that he could never be toppled, could maintain all of humanity on a path he wanted and convince most of that humanity that it was right and good. This premise, of course, goes against the American grain. Their first book was feted in
but their cultural bias is similar to ours; I just wonder how well the rest of the world received this series.
So this last book focuses on a series of space battles and intrigues between the Earth federation and the Outer Alliance of rebels. Each side has a powerful and Machiavellian leader and an unbeatable war Admiral. This is the combination that makes it possible to destroy billions of people. The authors also bring a resolution to the shadowy war of the Avatars; self-aware beings who live inside the humans computer network. While the machinations of the evil leader of the Earth Federation, Hektor, are epic, they are nothing to the leader of the Outer Alliance, Sandra. She is amazing in her ability to use all means to achieve the end she believes will save both sides and the Avatars. The cost, however, would weigh quite heavily on most good people’s conscience but I think Sandra suffered even more. I loved how the authors gave her closure.
They left one tiny plot thread loose. Although I’m pretty sure this series is done with four novels, they wouldn’t be the first authors to spin off another series although it would be set so far in the future from these books as to be a totally different series.
I thought their plotting was great. The shifting viewpoints were always smooth and I never got lost. While the characterizations were somewhat weak, I’ll forgive it in the name of the whole. Thanks, boys; this was a fun ride/read. ~~ Catherine Book