About a month ago I finished the Revenger triology by Alastair Reynolds, consisting of the books Revenger, Shadow Captain, and Bone Silence. It took some time before I could review it properly, because somehow these books are really different from your typical YA reads. Before I explain why, let me give you a brief overview of the start of the story:

The Ness Sisters, Fura and Adrana, are teens in a near bankrupt family on one of many habitable small worlds scattered in the sun system. They sign up with Captain Rackamore, an honest treasure hunter. He and his crew specialize in opening baubles, objects in space that only open under specific circumstances and by the right hands. In these baubles wait traps and treasures, and sometimes even more creepy things. On the outskirts of the habitable zone lurks the myth of Bosa Sennen and her ship with black sun-sails.

Unlike Alastair Reynolds’ other books, this is not hard sci-fi. The world-building is rather subtle instead of lots of sciency sounding explanations. It is considered YA, but I think that is mainly motivated by a) the teen protagonists and b) the more accessible story-line. There are a few points that differ from your typical YA story: no romances, the age of all other characters has a wide range, and the protagonists actually think about what they are doing.

The made up words for things were a bit confusing, for example “lungstuff” instead of air or oxygen, which broke my immersion a bit. Otherwise, I really loved this story about the Ness sisters and their adventures. Not all questions get answered, but a lot are.

The adventures of the Ness sisters make up a fantastic triology without middle book syndrome. Characters, their agendas, and circumstances change, and the second book, Shadow Captain, circumnavigates the trap of feeling like it is setting the stage for Bone Silence.

I would not describe the books as fast-paced, but to me, there weren’t any unnecessary lengths either. Things happen in their own time, and I enjoyed it much more than those stories with crazy coincidences where everything happens at once. It certainly adds to the space opera feel of the whole story.

4/5 stars