I was excited to dive back into sci fi again when this book crept up my TBR. My last read was mediocre after the epicness of Behind the Throne got me into the genre proper. This was a read I looked forward to immensely.
This didn’t disappoint, but it didn’t enamour me either.
Hail, now the empress of the Indranan Empire, now holds full control of ensuring her and her people’s safety. Or so she thought. It’s no doubt that people still want her dead, and she’s taking steps to evoke fear in her enemy’s hearts and captivating the hearts of people she wants on her side. And as things take turns for the worse, Hail will have to hope that her gunrunner allies still side with her. It is after all becoming difficult to work out who in the Empire is really on her side.
Character is where Wagers shines in this novel. Grief hinged on a lot of characters this installment, and it was great to see people within the same arc overcome it in different ways. Interpret it in different ways. Deaths from the first book and this one brought a lot of sadness to mellow out action scenes and explore characters. And then to come together the way that they did, there ain’t nothing better than characters breaking down together.
The politics took an all new level in this, but at times it was hard to follow. You were able to get the bigger picture, but details wound up lost on me. It was getting difficult to remember who had what title and whom sided with whom. But that mainly mattered in the first half. The stakes were absolutely amped come the midpoint! The story A was very different to the story B but still flowed so well and lead to fantastic plot as the politics turned red. Very red. Though to go back to the negative, the climax was tech heavy, kind of confusing and way less intense than the midpoint in my opinion.
The world, or worlds, were built up and explored in a very intriguing way. I was a huge fan of the bits and pieces of cultural inspiration in each world. The Indranan Empire takes inspiration from Asia, creating futuristic interpretations of cultures straight out of Cyberpunk and Mad Max. Planet based sci fi never felt so colourful and vibrant to me before with this interpretation. It makes the visuals of Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy look vanilla next to Neapolitan. This is fresh, people.
That leaves one book left in the series with an empire to save. After this book, I still expect epicness. Don’t disappoint me, Wagers.
After the Crown gets a score of 4/5. Drama, Bloodshed, visual art coming to life in your mind. What more could you ask?
Yours in writing