Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder

Sun of Suns (Virga, #1)Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A few years ago, Tor made some of their back catalog available for download as .pdf files.I don't recall how many I got before they stopped, but it was a good list. The problem has always been that I really don't like reading on the computer, so they have sat in a folder. I got a Kindle for Christmas this past year, so I have finally got around to reading some of these. Sun of Suns is one of these downloads. It is also the first book I've read that can be classed as steampunk.

The setting is a world that exists inside a fullerene sphere. Countries within the sphere are made up of cities composed of structural wheels that spin to produce gravity. Light and warmth is provided by artificial suns. Countries that have their own suns have more power and influence, and those that don't are dependent on the ones that do. Airships and fan-powered "bikes" are common. I found the concept to be a little hard to envision, although you don't need to have a perfect grasp of the structure to understand the story. Most of the story is concerned with the political goings-on among several of the worlds inside the sphere. Characters are not deeply developed and, in some cases, edge on stereotypical. The main protagonist is the young man out to revenge the death of his parents in an attack on his country which was trying to construct a sun.

The main story is a quest undertaken by a group from one country to find a "weapon" that will give them the advantage in the current war. One of the enemies has built a huge warship and they are trying to find a way to defeat it. (Yes, I'm being vague, but I don't want to give to much away.)

The story itself was interesting enough to keep me reading, despite the lack of depth in the characters. The technology stays true to the steampunk idea- there are no hyper-warp drive ships, communication between airships is via semaphore flags, and more of that sort of thing.

It read through pretty fast and I may look into the sequel, if only because it tells the story of one of the two most interesting (to me) characters after the climactic battle in this one.

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