I avoid reading books in a series if I’ve missed the first entry. I also don’t read reviews before selecting books because I don’t want to read any spoilers. That did not serve me well in deciding to read The Blue, Beautiful World.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered this is the third entry in an award-winning and much beloved science fiction series. There is no hint of that fact in the publisher’s blurb. I had only read a few totally confusing chapters before I went looking for an explanation within the book’s reviews. I’m sure that this book would be great for series readers. But, for me, it was a convoluted and slow trip through an unfamiliar land with no GPS or signposts.
However, from what I did understand, the setting and plot are intriguing. What can unite people quicker than music, stage presence, and charisma? Look how Taylor Swift dragged country fans into pop territory and made country music, almost, cool.
Ultimately though The Blue, Beautiful World is a book about politics across worlds. Worlds that are not explained much at all within this book—but I assume were developed in the prior books in this series. There is also an interesting, but not very subtle, nod to the problem of ignoring the very real climate change fast encroaching in our current world.
“There was the desperation of a rich man in a mansion trying to enjoy the last of the party before the bill collectors broke down his door. Most of all, there was the manic optimism of incompetent politicians, assuring their public that the measures being employed were not at all too little and too late, and begging them not to erect the guillotines just yet.“
For readers of at least one previous book in the series, The Best of All Possible Worlds or The Galaxy Game, The Blue, Beautiful World may be a favorite. But for newcomers to the series, don’t start here. 3 stars.
Thanks to Del Rey Books and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.