In Ashes Born
Author: Nathan Lowell
Length: 310 pages
As someone who enjoyed the core Golden Age of the Solar Clipper series, parts of it seemed rushed in order to focus on the rise of Ishmael Wang to the penultimate title of “Owner.” Along the way, there were characters and sub-plots that I would have loved to see more of but woefully had to settle with focusing almost entirely on Ishmael’s story. From his time at the Academy to whatever happened with his first marriage, I think these moments not contained in the wrappings of ship life would have added a few moments of reprieve between the exciting world of Solar Clippers.
In Ashes Born manages to quench my thirst for more stories set in this universe. It also manages to pull together many of the interesting characters over the core 6-book series and place them on track to have perhaps the most exciting adventure yet. Similar to how Ender’s Game pulled disparate characters together for a final battle against the Formics, In Ashes Born finally collects the best characters of the Solar Clipper series together in a way that’s natural and entertaining. I’m just disappointed I have to wait for the next books in this follow-on series to get to the good stuff.
Of course, as with any long-running series, it helps to have read the first six books before starting in on this one. I do applaud Lowell’s ability to make the finer points and logistics of getting a shipping company up and running, but many of these details require knowledge of the pecking order and inner workings of these vessels to know what’s going on. Additionally, if you don’t care for these kinds of somewhat tedious details, perhaps this series is not for you. For me, though, this book feels like the story that readers of the series have been waiting for all this time.
A promising start to a much-anticipated follow-on series, I give In Ashes Born 4.5 stars out of 5.