d. i. richardson
District Five - Review
Review of After Io (Book 1 of The Far Light Series).
This book series continues to scratch my itch for fast-paced and entertaining sci-fi. In the second instalment of the can't-put-it-down The Far Light series, we welcome you to District Five by Elliott Wink. If you are not acquainted with the series so far, then you're missing out. Check out the review to the first instalment above.
Set amongst the stars yet again, we are introduced to a wider world than the Persika and Io from the first instalment. Particularly, we are now set in District Five, which I feel is self-explanatory. We are now on a trip around the stations Vermila, Ligon, Petrox, and even all the way to Earth as the three point-of-view characters begin to spin a web drawing them closer to each other. Each station almost becomes a character in its own right, displaying characteristics of its purpose and inhabitants. I enjoyed the idea of a barren Earth with its scorched grasses and humanity sent to the stars to continue to survive. The setting felt real and grounded, and it worked beautifully.
We are not reintroduced to Bryn Michaels right away. Instead, we are introduced to a detective named Nadia who is sent to investigate Bryn's disappearance from the Persika. Nadia is an immensely talented detective and refuses to give up on the investigation even when it becomes clear that forces much bigger than her are at play in a massive cover-up of the Persika incident. Despite the risk to her career (and life), Nadia is persistent in solving the mystery of the Persika. I'll leave you to find out the mystery here and if Nadia uncovers it in this story or not.
We are also introduced to Adelaide, an assistant to a prominent general on Earth. Through Adelaide, we learn much more of the over-arching world the story is set in. We learn that a war is coming between the government and the "Sifs" of the outer districts. Adelaide is introduced to Nadia when Nadia calls to inform the general about her Persika findings. I won't spoil it here, but the entire passage is immaculate.
Finally, the case of Bryn Michaels. Well, she goes by Pixel now. Her POV chapters were some of the strongest writing in the entire novel. Her trauma is front and center in this chapter, from hallucinations to visiting Tina (who survived, somehow, and now lays in a coma) every day to care for her. The scenes where Bryn sees her dead captain are particularly striking in tone and cadence. I particularly like the passage when Bryn sees Amai for the first time. Really well done. Wink did not shy away from making sure Bryn felt every sense of Amai's presence in these scenes.
Again, as was the case in the first novel, the dialogue is well done. I can't think of any instances of clunky or out-of-place dialogue choices. It all flowed smoothly and the things being said made sense from who they were from. With three POV characters rotating through the story, the dialogue had to be nearly perfect, and luckily, it was and is.
The writing here is just as succinct and tactful as it was in After Io. The writing is just as punchy and quick. Every word has a purpose, which is good because this book is still on the shorter side for sci-fi, but I think it really helps the story flourish through being concise and avoiding wordy expositions, though it is still longer than After Io.
This is the second book I've read from Wink, and it seems she has a knack for some whiplash cliffhangers. Everything is okay one minute, then comes a swooshing of climactic action and intrigue that leaves you turning the pages for more only to find the book has ended. It certainly works as it leaves you craving another instalment to the adventure and mystery.
To conclude, this second novel has wonderfully built upon the foundation established in After Io and carries all the momentum of that story forward while continually adding more fuel to the fire. We can only wait and see now what happens in the next book in the series and hope that there is much more to come from The Far Light series.
Here's how the series is fairing so far:
After Io: 9
District Five: 9.5
Series Average: 9.25 / 10
You can grab a copy here on Amazon.
Follow can Elliott Wink here on Twitter.
Have a good wander, friends.