Impressively, Neal Asher has managed to up both the quantity as well as quality of the violence in this second installment to his near-future dystopia..Show More »n ‘Owner’ trilogy. Like a hydra, the ruthless ‘Committee’ of Earth’s rulers, quickly sprouts new leadership in the wake of anti-hero Alan Saul’s one-man revolution in ’The Departure’. Chief among these is Serene Galahad, whose Committee bloodletting efficiently secures her role as supreme ruler of Earth. For a genocidal tyrant, this character is surprisingly understandable in Asher’s hands. His first person segments taken from her POV connect the dots of her atrocities believably, while illustrating the progression of her stomach for violence. In order to level the playing field and restore dramatic parity, Asher contrives to incapacitate and diminish Saul’s abilities, which also allows some of his satellite characters to step out from his shadow a bit. Three or four other narratives alternate with these, and all of them overflow with yet more gruesome death. Delightfully, adolescent wish fulfillment comes via some new techno-tricks Saul has learned, and almost everyone gets their comeuppance, although enough loose threads remain to provide ample material for a third installment.
Jupiter War is Neal Asher final volume of his Owner Trilogy. At the end of book 2, Saul was heading to Mars to rescue his sister after having defeated..Show More » the Scourge which is limping home with a minimal crew consisting of those who had removed their ID chips. At the same time, he is continuing his evolution to a form beyond human that even he is struggling to understand. Serene Galahad still has Saul in her sights as she slowly works to rebuild Earth which is in a more capable and productive position with much of the population eliminated. As Serene continues to expand her totalitarian rule of Earth, she is driven by a vengeance towards Saul which drives technological development, while at the same time, a desire to return Earth to a more pure and pristine state, free of humanity. Both Saul and Serene must also deal with loyal and not so loyal opposition to their reigns.
The sci-fi elements are more of the same as the Alcubierre faster than light drive technology is further exploited by both sides. Robotics play an ever increasing role with a level of sophistication through simplification. Ultimately this is a tale of one man's struggles to evolve beyond human. While Saul doesn't know where he's going, he knows remaining in the solar system is not viable. Along the way, Asher juxtaposes Saul with the various female leads (Hanna, Var, Serene, & the Saberhagan twins) to contrast the various iterations of being human which he finds wanting and limiting in the end. The proctors also evolve into a group of apostle-like followers that Saul can relate to better than humans.
The narration is wonderfully superb making this a can't put down listen. The pace, tone, and mood are perfectly rendered for effortless enjoyment.