I received this book via Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Light Chaser by Peter F. Hamilton, Gareth L. Powell
Published by Tordotcom on 2021-08-24
Length: 178 pages
Reviewing ARC from Publisher
Reading Challenges: 2021 New Release Challenge, COYER 2021
In Peter F. Hamilton and Gareth L. Powell's action-packed sci-fi adventure Light Chaser, a love powerful enough to transcend death can bring down an entire empire.
Amahle is a Light Chaser – one of a number of explorers, who travel the universe alone (except for their onboard AI), trading trinkets for life stories.
But when she listens to the stories sent down through the ages she hears the same voice talking directly to her from different times and on different worlds. She comes to understand that something terrible is happening, and only she is in a position to do anything about it.
And it will cost everything to put it right.
This little novella had everything I enjoy about space operas in one tiny package. Light Chaser by Peter F. Hamilton, Gareth L. Powell follows the story of Amahle, one of a number of explorers who travel the universe alone, visiting distant planets and collecting memory collars for the inhabitants of Glisten. These collars record everything a person is thinking and experiencing while wearing them. Because Amahle’s circuit has her visiting these planets once a millenia, several generations are stored on the collars and viewed by Amahle to pass her time on the ship while traveling. When one name keeps recurring in the memories she watches, Amahle begins to question the people she works for and her long existence as a Light Chaser.
I really liked Amahle. She’s lived for millenia, forgetting her older memories to make room for the new and current ones. Somewhat content with her life aboard her ship with just the AI for comfort, Amahle still feels as if something is missing, if only she could remember what. Her interactions with people from various planets play out through both the memory collars and her current stops. The back and forth between present and memories can often be confusing, but rewarding if you persevere through it.
I was surprised at the amount of world-building the authors were able to pack into such a short novella. It’s immersive, told entirely through Amahle and the memory collars. The universe is fascinating, and Amahle’s job even more so. I was curious to find out more about the people she worked for, how she was able to live such a long life, and the different planets colonized by humans. The plot increased my curiosity with the introduction of Carloman. He gives Amahle a number that to her makes no sense and continues to pop up on different worlds as different people. Who is he and what does he want with Amahle? These questions play out throughout the climax of the book, adding suspense and a touch of thrill to the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed Light Chaser. For such a short novella (clocks in at just under 170 pages), the authors tell a lot of story. Amahle and Carloman will stick with me for a while. If you are looking for a quick sci-fi read, I highly recommend it.
Final Thought: Light Chaser packs a lot of story into a small package with a well thought-out universe and an interesting leading character sure to please any sci-fi fan.