cover image Engines of Oblivion

Engines of Oblivion

Karen Osborne. Tor, $17.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-21550-5

The clever, intricately constructed second space opera in Osborne’s Memory War series successfully builds on 2020’s Architects of Memory, returning to a far future wherein the human populated sectors of the galaxy are controlled by corporations, and humanity is threatened by the presence of the Vai, an advanced alien race. Despite the devastation the Vai have wrought, they have gained a faction of human supporters who claim that the aliens’ cooperative society would be a worthy model for humanity to emulate. Against this backdrop, Natalie Chan must confront the consequences of a major lie she told her employers, the Aurora corporation. In the previous volume, Chan’s friend Ashlan Jackson, an indentured miner, was transformed into “the most desired weapon in the world” to combat the Vai, and Chan falsely reported that Jackson had died in an accident instead of bringing her in to Aurora’s higher ups. But when Aurora’s corporate board detects Jackson’s heartbeat, they order Chan to retrieve her from the planet Tribulation. Newcomers will need some patience untangling the backstory, but once oriented, the gripping retrieval mission will win them over. Series fans and lovers of James S.A. Corey’s Expanse novels will be thrilled. (Feb.)