cover image Empire Ascendant

Empire Ascendant

Kameron Hurley. Angry Robot (Random, dist.), $14.99 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-0-85766-560-7

An entire world is being invaded by the forces of a parallel universe in the capable second installment of Hurley's Worldbreaker Saga, following The Mirror Empire. Every 2000 years, the dark satellite Oma rises, and many universes begin to crack. In the world of the Tai Mora, Oma is destroying everything, but no one can who has a living double in another universe%E2%80%94as many do, because the worlds are very similar%E2%80%94can escape into that universe. Ahkio, leader of the Dhai people, desperately tries to muster a resistance as Kirana, Empress of the Tai Mora, conducts a genocidal invasion so that her people can take the Dhai's places in a world that will survive. The former scullery maid Lilia, whom Oma has granted fearsome magical powers, bends her will toward halting the Tai Mora. Many other nations, individuals, and factions are caught up in the war; the complicated setting is well-handled, but this second book is not a good starting place for new readers. Interesting moral issues and three-dimensional characterization lend spice to a story that is too often near-gratuitously bleak. Agent: Hannah Bowman, Liza Dawson Associates. (Oct.)