- Steady and engaging mystery that is expanded upon throughout story
- Interesting mysteries that once explored, lead to more mysteries that expand the plot
- World-building feels more complete
- Pacing can feel a little slow at points
- Exposition at points can feel a little too wordy
Fire With Fire Review
Fire With Fire by Charles E. Gannon crafts an engaging story world in which the dominating mystery is slowly unraveled through the protagonist, Caine Riordan, as he’s awakened for a mission to explore the wrongdoings of a megacorporation on the colony world orbiting the star Delta Pavonis.
What Gannon does well in this story is to gradually expose readers to the universe that Caine finds himself in when he awakens from his decade-plus long cryosleep. And like Caine, readers learn bits and pieces of the universe and humanity’s role in it. This clever plot mechanism allows Caine, and by proxy, readers, to come to understand the story world without adding too much exposition.
But other areas of the book, like the section describing space travel, seem a bit too wordy, especially for a science fiction book that isn’t quite hard science fiction. This is often a difficult choice–give the story universe a sense of realism by adding seemingly authentic discussion of physics phenomena or accept the concept of a warp drive as an established science fiction device and continue with the story. Both choices have their advantages (and disadvantages), and in this case, it did feel a little too long.
When Caine is awakened from his sleep over a decade from the start of the book, he’s missing one hundred hours leading up to his unconsciousness. This missing one hundred hours is often referred to throughout the story, but it’s not until the conclusion that this particular question is answered, and while the answer isn’t revelatory for the main plot, it does provide context for one character’s motivation.
Caine’s mission to explore Delta Pavonis uncovers an intriguing mystery regarding humanity, but this mystery and its origins aren’t the focus of the story. In fact, it’s the discovery of this mystery that thrusts an unwilling Caine into the middle of a large conspiracy that introduces humanity to the galaxy at large and at the same time, threatens humanity’s continued existence.
The mystery of the ancient ruins that Caine uncovers at Delta Pavonis and the later revelation of the galactic confederation expands the scope of the story from a local human concern to a larger galactic concern. Gannon’s steady expansion of the scope of the story from an incident to the moon to a threat to humanity is done quite well, and the story becomes more and more involving with each page.
Fire With Fire by Charles E. Gannon is an intriguing story with layers of mysteries that reveal only more intrigue as each layer is unraveled by Caine Riordan. Once the scope of the story expands beyond Caine’s personal memory loss and into the larger story of Delta Pavonis and the aliens, the intrigue and engagement of the story only become deeper.
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