‘Dull’ is serving aboard a vessel that patrols a remote sector of space where nothing ever happens. Captain Felix Duval and the crew of the Temerarious do just this, patrolling a remote colony system where nothing ever happens. But of course this is just when something happens.
Felix and crew respond to a distress call from a moon in the system that is under attack. There they rescue a scientist (Thales) who has developed a method for creating new wormholes. Having such an ability would put anyone who possesses it in a position of power. The Temerarious is ordered to protect and provide any assistance to Thales as necessary. This won’t be easy given that there are at least two black-ops teams looking to grab Thales and his technology.
I’ve generally liked the previous Tim Pratt books that I’ve read, so I didn’t hesitate to request an ARC of this book based on Pratt being the author. I should note that when I request an ARC I know as little about the book as possible. I prefer going in to a book with a fresh, unbiased eye. But perhaps I need to rethink this.
The Fractured Void is a novel based on a board game. Had I known this before requesting the book I never would have made the ask. I recognize there is a large sub-genre of board game literature and it has its dedicated readers (I see entire bookshelves in my nearby B&N full of game-related fiction books) but I have never enjoyed this myself. First, I have rarely played that specific game (and I have a game collection of about 300 board or card games) so I don’t know the back story or theme that the book is being set in.
Then, I think that setting a book in a board game universe limits the author’s ability to be creative with that story. A board game is defined not just by its theme but very much by its rules – specifically in what you can NOT do in the course of playing. A story set in that board game universe is also then bound by those rules of what can’t be done. I can think of three books I’ve read and reviewed in the last year that were based on board games and each of them were severely lacking.
Pratt manages to create some interesting characters but the story itself is almost simple. It’s direct and quite honestly feels like so many other sci-fi space operas stories I’ve read over the years. In three years, if you started telling me the storyline, I wouldn’t be able to identify which book/author it was from. But (in keeping with the space opera theme) if you described the storylines of John Scalzi’s Interdependency series or James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series, I’d know immediately which book/author you were describing.
Looking for a good book? If you know the game, Twilight Imperium, and want to experience it beyond the table, then you may enjoy The Fractured Void by Tim Pratt. If you don’t know the game, this may have little interest to you.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Fractured Void
author: Tim Pratt
series: Twilight Imperium #1
paperback, 352 pages