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There Before the Chaos

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The battle for the throne is over. The war for the galaxy is just beginning. Hail Bristol, former gunrunner and newly-crowned Empress of Indrana, looks forward to retiring her gun and rebuilding her Empire in peace. After a bloody civil war laced with regicide, betrayal, and foreign plots, Hail and her people are braced for years of necessary reconstruction and reform. But w The battle for the throne is over. The war for the galaxy is just beginning. Hail Bristol, former gunrunner and newly-crowned Empress of Indrana, looks forward to retiring her gun and rebuilding her Empire in peace. After a bloody civil war laced with regicide, betrayal, and foreign plots, Hail and her people are braced for years of necessary reconstruction and reform. But when Indrana’s closest ally asks Hail to intervene in an interstellar military crisis, she must instead embark on the highest stakes diplomatic mission the Empire has ever faced. Caught between two alien civilizations at each other’s throats, she must uncover each side’s true intentions before all of humanity becomes collateral damage in a full-blown galactic war.


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The battle for the throne is over. The war for the galaxy is just beginning. Hail Bristol, former gunrunner and newly-crowned Empress of Indrana, looks forward to retiring her gun and rebuilding her Empire in peace. After a bloody civil war laced with regicide, betrayal, and foreign plots, Hail and her people are braced for years of necessary reconstruction and reform. But w The battle for the throne is over. The war for the galaxy is just beginning. Hail Bristol, former gunrunner and newly-crowned Empress of Indrana, looks forward to retiring her gun and rebuilding her Empire in peace. After a bloody civil war laced with regicide, betrayal, and foreign plots, Hail and her people are braced for years of necessary reconstruction and reform. But when Indrana’s closest ally asks Hail to intervene in an interstellar military crisis, she must instead embark on the highest stakes diplomatic mission the Empire has ever faced. Caught between two alien civilizations at each other’s throats, she must uncover each side’s true intentions before all of humanity becomes collateral damage in a full-blown galactic war.

30 review for There Before the Chaos

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I got this as an ARC. It comes out in October and now I have SO LONG to wait for the next one. Hail is awesome and K.B. Wagers is a treasure.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I was enthralled by Wagers' Indranan War trilogy. You better believe I had this first book in the new trilogy preordered--and once it arrived at my house--it quickly moved to the top of my massive to-pile. Hours after finishing the book, I'm still in a state of withdrawal and shock. This book is GOOD. Seriously good. Like, added to my awards shortlist kinda good. The overall pace of the book is a bit slower than the past books, but that doesn't mean it's a slow read. The emphasis has changed. For I was enthralled by Wagers' Indranan War trilogy. You better believe I had this first book in the new trilogy preordered--and once it arrived at my house--it quickly moved to the top of my massive to-pile. Hours after finishing the book, I'm still in a state of withdrawal and shock. This book is GOOD. Seriously good. Like, added to my awards shortlist kinda good. The overall pace of the book is a bit slower than the past books, but that doesn't mean it's a slow read. The emphasis has changed. Former gunrunner Hail survived an intricate plot to destroy her family and their empire. She is now empress. Many of the maneuvering in the book is of a political nature rather than outright brawling. It's twisty and clever and magnificent, and the tension builds up. Hail is put in an impossible situation to negotiate peace between two alien groups that really don't want peace, and you just know everything is going to go wrong. It does. In spectacular, heart-breaking fashion. The cliffhanger ending is brutal, but then there's a teaser from the next book that feels like salt on a wound. And now I have to wait how many months to find out what happened?! Noooo!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    There Before The Chaos picks up in the aftermath of Beyond The Empire. Hail Bristol has wholeheartedly embraced her role as Empress of Indrana. Through her leadership, a coup has been narrowly avoided and Indranan society has managed to survive. Unfortunately, Hail has had little opportunity to catch her breath, an empress’s work is never done. Elsewhere in the galaxy, a war between two alien races threatens to escalate and drag humanity into a bloody conflict. Diplomacy may offer a solution but There Before The Chaos picks up in the aftermath of Beyond The Empire. Hail Bristol has wholeheartedly embraced her role as Empress of Indrana. Through her leadership, a coup has been narrowly avoided and Indranan society has managed to survive. Unfortunately, Hail has had little opportunity to catch her breath, an empress’s work is never done. Elsewhere in the galaxy, a war between two alien races threatens to escalate and drag humanity into a bloody conflict. Diplomacy may offer a solution but the only mediator all sides are willing to consider to is Hail. Like its predecessors, There Before The Chaos strikes a perfectly judged balance between political intrigue and interplanetary action thriller. There are plots within plots as Hail and her friends try to unpick the instigator of her latest woes. Hail continues to be the emotional lynchpin of the narrative. She is not subtle when it comes to making her feelings known, it’s the thing I love most about her. Hail’s gut responses act as a wonderful counterpoint to many of the other characters who are bound by formality and rules. Chancellor and advisors are expected to maintain their composure at all times, empresses less so. K B Wagers always nails it when it comes to her characters. I love the culture clash that exists between the groups in Hail’s life. There are the politicians, senior military officials and bodyguards who help with the smooth running of the Indranan Empire, and then there are those who Hail knew back when she was known as Cressen Stone, gunrunner extraordinaire. The back in forth that exists in all these relationships is well realised and feels comfortably natural. Somehow, all these individuals have, through Hail, become one large dysfunctional family. It makes sense. Hail is like a feisty planet around which everyone else cannot help but orbit. For the curious among you, character wise, Johar and Hao remain personal favourites. Johar is as incorrigible as ever. Happy to just be along for the ride, she is at her best as long as there is plenty of booze, enough to eat and some good fighting. Hao is a different matter. He has always been caught between two worlds and in this novel, he is finally forced to make a decision about his future. It has been a long-time brewing and I can guarantee there will be repercussions. Where There Before The Chaos also succeeds is in its exploration of Farian culture. In the first trilogy, the only real evidence of the Farians was in the character Fase. In this new book, K B Wagers takes the opportunity to start digging deeper into the roots of this alien society. The main story focuses directly on a religious and political schism that ripped this race in two. From Hail’s perspective, being an ex-gunrunner does have some distinct advantages. When people meet her for the first time there is a certain expectation that comes along with her near legendary status. This allows her the opportunity to be delightfully blunt when she feels the need to be. She can also easily defy people’s inherent prejudices. Ultimately, I think Hail’s approach to mediation sits somewhere between insightful, well-judged political savvy and low, animal cunning. More often than not this appears to be the entirely appropriate course of action. At the very top of this page I suggested you read The Indranan War before you tackle this book, and I’m going to reiterate that point again. Though There Before The Chaos is perfectly serviceable if read without any prior knowledge, there is a whole heap of backstory that has gone before. You really need/want to be aware of the sci-fi epicness. Trust me, it’s well worth your time. I credit The Indranan War with getting me back into reading science fiction again on a regular basis There Before The Chaos ends with a perfectly executed WTF! moment. Eventually, after I managed to get my jaw back up off the floor, I realised that this book has achieved exactly what I had hoped it would do. I was emotionally exhausted, in a good way, and thoroughly entertained. If fiction doesn’t make you feel like this then something has gone horribly wrong. If you are you looking for science fiction with brains, and a buckload of heart, then look no further.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alexa

    Excuse me K B Wagers WHERE IS THE REST????? I knew this was going to end in explosions but this was DEVASTATING! Can I get the next two books immediately please?? I missed Hail and Emmory and Zin and everyone else. It was nice to get back into the plodding pace of Indranan politics and how Hail was dealing with them. I am really enjoying the mysteries surrounding the Farians and I'm excited to get to the answers. They integrated themselves so well into human society, I'm very interested in seein Excuse me K B Wagers WHERE IS THE REST????? I knew this was going to end in explosions but this was DEVASTATING! Can I get the next two books immediately please?? I missed Hail and Emmory and Zin and everyone else. It was nice to get back into the plodding pace of Indranan politics and how Hail was dealing with them. I am really enjoying the mysteries surrounding the Farians and I'm excited to get to the answers. They integrated themselves so well into human society, I'm very interested in seeing how that plays out. The world building expanded a bit here and I was glad to see Earth and more of the Indranan worlds. I just love these characters so much I was ecstatic to get to rejoin them. A lot of this book was day to day dealings with Hail but I wasn't ever bored. I felt like the recap of the world at the beginning was a little clunky but it's necessary information to get across. I would really like to find a publication date for the next book soon!!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nick Brett

    I really enjoyed the first trilogy so picked this up with eager anticipation. Hail Bristol is now over her troubles and accepting of her place heading up her Empire. Domestic issues have been largely resolved but the new issue is with the mysterious Farians who want her support with so e domestic issues. Hail finds that much of her assumptions about the Farians might have been very wrong and that puts her at odds with the race she thought were her Empire’s greatest friend. My problem was a surpri I really enjoyed the first trilogy so picked this up with eager anticipation. Hail Bristol is now over her troubles and accepting of her place heading up her Empire. Domestic issues have been largely resolved but the new issue is with the mysterious Farians who want her support with so e domestic issues. Hail finds that much of her assumptions about the Farians might have been very wrong and that puts her at odds with the race she thought were her Empire’s greatest friend. My problem was a surprising one, it dragged. And dragged. Yep, Hail shows how she is growing into her political and diplomatic role, but far too much talking and not enough of the pace and action of the first trilogy. There is a point towards the end where the action does kick in, but almost at a level that lacks credibility. Not sure I will get the next one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    4.5 Stars Hail Bristol is my favorite type of female lead - she is smart, strategic and has common sense. She is tough, she can make the hard decisions on the fly, and execute them (sometimes literally) on her own. But she is also flawed, and vulnerable, and sometimes struggles with self-confidence. She cares deeply about her world, and about those she loves, and sometimes that blinds her. I read her, and I know her, and I admire her. This book picks up shortly after the end of the first trilogy. 4.5 Stars Hail Bristol is my favorite type of female lead - she is smart, strategic and has common sense. She is tough, she can make the hard decisions on the fly, and execute them (sometimes literally) on her own. But she is also flawed, and vulnerable, and sometimes struggles with self-confidence. She cares deeply about her world, and about those she loves, and sometimes that blinds her. I read her, and I know her, and I admire her. This book picks up shortly after the end of the first trilogy. It takes some time to really hit its stride because the author spends a lot of time explaining what happened in those books. It's a bit info dumpy but that information is necessary to understand where we are going. The further development of the universe, and the back story of the war between the Farians and the Shen is really great. What seems like the black and white sides of a conflict quickly becomes multiple shades of gray. Wagers is also exceptionally good at her development of the side characters, and there are many. But you come to know then through their actions, and interactions with Hail. None of them are perfect, but they are generally all mission oriented and excellent at what they do. There are also villains and they are generally multi-faceted which makes for a very interesting story. I won an ARC of this book, and was very lucky to get to read it before its release. I love this character, this world, and these stories, and can't wait for the next one.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lianne Pheno

    https://delivreenlivres.blogspot.com/... Ce tome se passe peu de temps après la fin de la trilogie précédente, The Indranan War. Même si ce tome ci a démarré un peu lentement, je l'ai finalement autant aimé que les précédents. Ancienne hors-la-loi, contrebandière et pirate, Hail Bristol a fini par embrasser sa nouvelle fonction d'Impératrice de l'empire Indranan. Alors qu'elle est en pleine phase de reconstruction de son empire après la guerre qu'ils ont subit et que l'argent nécessaire devient https://delivreenlivres.blogspot.com/... Ce tome se passe peu de temps après la fin de la trilogie précédente, The Indranan War. Même si ce tome ci a démarré un peu lentement, je l'ai finalement autant aimé que les précédents. Ancienne hors-la-loi, contrebandière et pirate, Hail Bristol a fini par embrasser sa nouvelle fonction d'Impératrice de l'empire Indranan. Alors qu'elle est en pleine phase de reconstruction de son empire après la guerre qu'ils ont subit et que l'argent nécessaire devient difficile à trouver, une autre guerre menace de déborder chez eux. En effet il semblerait que deux civilisations extraterrestres, dont finalement on ne sait que très peu de choses, ai redémarré les hostilités qui couvent entre eux depuis des siècles. Il se trouve que depuis sa création, l'empire Indranan est allié aux Farians, une des deux factions en guerre. Mais cette alliance c'est faite en temps de paix et Hail a de plus en plus peur que leurs alliés leur réclame de l'aide et ce n'est définitivement pas le moment étant donné l'état de l'économie et des ressources de son empire ... Je dois dire que j'étais ravie de retrouver tous les personnages de la première trilogie. Que ça soit la multitude de gardes du corps et de conseillers, les domestiques, les différentes factions et familles politiques avec chacune leurs objectifs, les amis ou alliés de son ancienne vie ... Toutes ces personnes forment en fait comme une très grande famille dysfonctionnelle. Et c'est c'est la qu'on s’aperçoit qu'ils sont vraiment très nombreux en fait. Du coup c'est vrai que j'ai trouvé le début un peu lent, parce qu'on prend vraiment le temps de tous les réintroduire, de nous ré-expliquer toutes la situation en détail pour ceux qui n'auraient pas lu la première trilogie et/ou ceux qui en aurait tout oublié. Mais en même temps je n'ai pas non plus détesté ce passage, loin de la. Je trouve que ça fait vraiment réaliste de suite Hail au quotidien, avec ses forces et ses faiblesses, sa façon d'être très humaine dans ses décisions tout en étant très stricte et ne supportant pas les coups fourrés pourtant très nombreux en politique. L'empire Indranan fait vraiment très grosse machine qui demande de la patience à l’extrême pour être bien gérée. Pour ce qui est des autres protagonistes on trouve bien évidemment les Farians, vu qu'il s'agit de leur guerre. Ils sont un peuple avec des capacités hors du commun. Ils peuvent guérir car en fait ils savent gérer "l’âme" des être vivants (enfin celle des humains, même si ils n'y touchent pas, et des leurs, au moins). Dés lors ils peuvent en fait ressusciter à l'infini, à chaque fois dans un nouveau corps. Si on n'intervient pas, l’âme se réincarne naturellement dans un nouveau né, qui se souvient alors de toutes ses vies antérieures, mais ils peuvent aussi la stocker pour empêcher que ça se produise, emprisonnant la personne en quelque sorte, ou même la détruire si besoin. Ils sont régis par une religion très stricte, qui leur dicte leur quotidien et l'usage de leurs pouvoirs. En fait leur apparence physique est le résultat de ces pratiques et dés lors qu'ils ne les suivent plus ils finissent par changer. C'est d'ailleurs à cause d'une question de pratiques ancestrales et de religion qu'ils sont en guerre contre leurs adversaires dont je ne dévoilerais rien vu qu'une partie de l'intrigue consiste justement à obtenir des renseignements sur eux. Du coup on comprends bien que la guerre qui existe depuis des centaines d'années concerne en fait toujours les même personnes, qui entretiennent la haine à chaque réincarnation, dans une boucle sans fin. Le coté diplomatique est très important tout du long du livre, que ça soit quand Hail traite avec son propre corps politique ou dans ce qui concerne la guerre. Pendant une grande partie du tome on se demande bien pourquoi ils veulent tous impliquer Hail et son empire dans leur guerre. C'est d'ailleurs une question qui demeure à la fin. Du coup on est très loin d'être dans de la science-fiction d'action, en dehors de la toute fin qui d'ailleurs était vraiment très stressante. D'ailleurs ce tome porte très bien son titre, il est la pour nous parler de toute la partie avant le vrai début des hostilités et du chaos, que j'ai hâte de découvrir. A noter qu'il se termine en cliffhanger, mais vu que dans ma version ebook il y avait aussi les premières pages du tome suivant en aperçu à la fin (que je n'ai pas pu m'empêcher de lire, bien sur) ce cliffhanger se résout directement et j'avoue avoir soufflé de soulagement ! Au final pour résumer malgré un début assez lent pour replacer tous les personnages dans le contexte, j'ai vraiment été prise dans ce livre qui nous offre une science-fiction diplomatique et politique de qualité 16.5/20

  8. 5 out of 5

    April

    I deducted half a star for the cliffhanger ending. Another half star for so much of what felt like filler - meetings and drinking chai and this and that. It felt like the action didn't happen until the final 1/4 of the book. But wow was that good, even though the ending leaves the reader hanging over the cliff.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Charlie - A Reading Machine

    DNF - I really feel I needed to read the original trilogy before picking this up. It can only help and right now there is so much information being summarised I just cant grasp onto anything

  10. 4 out of 5

    Evaine

    I am in book hangover. :) That's not a bad thing - means I ADORED this book! In the interests of full discolsure, I won the ARC of the book via a contest on K.B.'s patreon, but that in no way changes how I feel about it. This is one of those times where I wish I was a good review writer. Sadly I am not. When I was 3 chapters in, I already felt like I had met up with a gang of friends I had not seen in a long while and whom I had missed terribly. Now, there is not be quite as much harum-scarum act I am in book hangover. :) That's not a bad thing - means I ADORED this book! In the interests of full discolsure, I won the ARC of the book via a contest on K.B.'s patreon, but that in no way changes how I feel about it. This is one of those times where I wish I was a good review writer. Sadly I am not. When I was 3 chapters in, I already felt like I had met up with a gang of friends I had not seen in a long while and whom I had missed terribly. Now, there is not be quite as much harum-scarum action as there was in the first trilogy of Hail Bristol's tale, the last five chapters notwithstanding. This book gives us more of a sharing of Hail herself, who she was, who she wishes to be, and who she really is. We also learn more of certain important characters, through Hail's eyes of course, and maybe grow to love them as she does. Well, I did. :) I think it's a more personal feeling book, if that makes any sense. I need more Dailun and Hail in my life too! There's something going on and despite many hints and answers and discoveries in this book, I still don't know what's going on. *LOL* But that's okay. It's a trilogy and I know I'll get answers before the end, I just have to be patient. And thanks to the way that K.B. Wagers weaves the story, it's never dissatisfying. If I have complaints, they're... negligible in the whole scheme of things. One is that every damned character winks. Some more often than others, but there are far too many winks going on. It's K.B.'s tic I think. I'm sure I've mentioned it before. The other is the THRICE DAMNED CLIFFHANGER!!! Thank GOD the format I read - the ARC of the trade paperback - had an excerpt of the next book because I was starting to hyperventilate! And I must add, the excerpt was FASCINATING! I cannot believe how long I have to wait for the next book! I love these books and I love Hail Bristol and her crew of found family, so I will wait. And try to be patient. It's not something I'm very good at.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alison Becker

    I enjoyed the first trilogy, but I found this book a bit of a slog. Most of it is buildup to the last few pages, which sets up the next installment.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Fred P

    This series is reminding me of CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series, because the main character is asked to negotiate a peace agreement between two alien species. She's an empress, and former gun runner, so you know there's going to be action and adventure. It's set in space, and the aliens have supernatural powers. I think this is a good story with a great heroine, but I could not wade through the plot. The plot didn't excite me. I like the idea. It's character-driven. Maybe what's missing is the mise This series is reminding me of CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series, because the main character is asked to negotiate a peace agreement between two alien species. She's an empress, and former gun runner, so you know there's going to be action and adventure. It's set in space, and the aliens have supernatural powers. I think this is a good story with a great heroine, but I could not wade through the plot. The plot didn't excite me. I like the idea. It's character-driven. Maybe what's missing is the mise-en-scene. It just doesn't feel detailed or convincing. I can believe in the character, but I don't immerse in the scenarios. That being said, this could evolve into a great series. You want the first book to catch everyone's attention, but the next one could be the winner.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    *Received ARC through Goodreads drawing* At the end of the Indranan War trilogy, I just wanted more of the characters and especially more of their universe. This book, the first in a new trilogy, totally delivers on that. For me, these characters evoke a very Bujold/Vorkosigan vibe, but with a different and very interesting flair. The storyline here is an interesting start to the trilogy and I look forward to seeing what happens next! For readers new to Indrana, I wouldn't recommend starting here *Received ARC through Goodreads drawing* At the end of the Indranan War trilogy, I just wanted more of the characters and especially more of their universe. This book, the first in a new trilogy, totally delivers on that. For me, these characters evoke a very Bujold/Vorkosigan vibe, but with a different and very interesting flair. The storyline here is an interesting start to the trilogy and I look forward to seeing what happens next! For readers new to Indrana, I wouldn't recommend starting here because I think the backstory is important to really enjoying this book - start with Behind the Throne and move forward from there.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tim Hicks

    Contrarian time. Didn't work for me. First, I confess that I got all the way through this without realizing that there was a third book in the first series. Even now I don't feel as if I missed anything. Maybe I *did* read it and didn't record it. This one opens slowly. Hail talks to 132 people, and each time she demonstrates whatb a great leader she is, and they simper and say how wonderful she is. Finally we get the Farians, and I am asked to believe not only that they can kill or heal with a Contrarian time. Didn't work for me. First, I confess that I got all the way through this without realizing that there was a third book in the first series. Even now I don't feel as if I missed anything. Maybe I *did* read it and didn't record it. This one opens slowly. Hail talks to 132 people, and each time she demonstrates whatb a great leader she is, and they simper and say how wonderful she is. Finally we get the Farians, and I am asked to believe not only that they can kill or heal with a touch, but also that they are here because they NEED humans to bleed off their cosmic energies so they don't go kablooie. Puh-leeze. OK things happen, the plot develops. Each scene starts with the guards checking the room, the key players fluttering around Hail, putting a reassuring hand on her arm, and all but waiting for her to throw them another Purina treat. There's chai everywhere, and every eighth word is "Majesty." Hail's got PTSD. Aiz is batshit crazy. Hao and Gita are locked in the classic "I don't want to talk about it" loop of every romcom ever made. I admit that gender issues are well handled, to my inexpert eye anyway. And Hail's moral dilemmas are OK. The plot develops smoothly most of the way, as Hail and the reader together work out that there's something we don't know ... Hail is a superb fighter, of course, and clearly has 20 of the 25 best other fighters on her team. Ain't nobody mess with their lady. Until, as in the first series I recall, (view spoiler)[suddenly there are dead people everywhere. (hide spoiler)] Makes you wonder why you wasted so much time reading about how great her guards were. And then we get a rushed, cliffhanger, melodramatic Buck Rogers ending. Dude, did you expect a single volume? Well, KB, sorry, this time I don't care enough to read the next one. I think I can see how it's going to work. Also an ending in which, essentially, (view spoiler)[the bad guy stops twirling his mustaches just long enough to reveal that his swaybacked, flea-ridden, lame old horse is actually a leather wrapping around a spacegoing FTL fighter with twin plasma cannons, an AI battle computer and a transmogrifier. All his own invention, of course. And there are 1,200 more of them just over the hill. (hide spoiler)] Feh.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Skaw

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. There is the core of a good story here. I enjoyed it enough that I finished it and the three before it (though I was skimming very quickly through much of them). Same with the characters - I liked them enough that it annoyed me more when they acted in ways that diminished their credibility. I don’t mind a story in the main character is the hero destined to save the universe. I’ve read many books I’ve enjoyed that used that plot device. This one was annoying because the author didn’t do it well. There is the core of a good story here. I enjoyed it enough that I finished it and the three before it (though I was skimming very quickly through much of them). Same with the characters - I liked them enough that it annoyed me more when they acted in ways that diminished their credibility. I don’t mind a story in the main character is the hero destined to save the universe. I’ve read many books I’ve enjoyed that used that plot device. This one was annoying because the author didn’t do it well. I the reader was to believe certain things about the hero - what a great leader, what a badass, etc - because I was told multiple times that it was the case. Let me notice it. I promise, you the the author, that I am not that stupid. I can figure it out. An example: I really liked the character Hao. The author had set him up for an interesting character dilemma. He was going to have to chose between the hero and his uncle and everything he had worked to achieve. A believable arc would have had him slowly come to care about the hero over years of working together and becoming family. His choice of her over his uncle would have been an understandable struggle. Nope, not the case apparently. He knew the moment he met her - he just didn’t want to admit it to himself. Really? You meet a stranger in a bar and suddenly everything you’ve worked for is trash at her feet? He didn’t even seem to have any moral dilemmas coming into play over his criminal profession; she was just that magical. Argh. What a waste of a potentially good book and series. I will probably try the next book as I am curious what happens, but I don’t have high hopes.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vinay Badri

    A 3.5 starrer. There are times when I think authors should just let go once they are done with a series and no need to expand once beyond they lived happily ever after. Pierce Brown concluded his Red Rising trilogy and started a new one in the series and kind of succeeded. KB Wagers does almost the same but I am not so sure if it worked as well. While a welcome to Hail's world is always awesome, we find the pace slower. However, our rogue empress is still kicking all kinds of ass but here she find A 3.5 starrer. There are times when I think authors should just let go once they are done with a series and no need to expand once beyond they lived happily ever after. Pierce Brown concluded his Red Rising trilogy and started a new one in the series and kind of succeeded. KB Wagers does almost the same but I am not so sure if it worked as well. While a welcome to Hail's world is always awesome, we find the pace slower. However, our rogue empress is still kicking all kinds of ass but here she finds herself in midst of a war between 2 parties who have links to her empire. And they wont take no for an answer placing the stubborn empress right between the cross-hairs. Loyalties are tested right through as Hail find herself cornered and let down on multiple angles I am a bit torn on this extension of the series - while there are elements to like, there is a sense maybe this new series wasnt exactly needed. Its a wait and watch for the moment wrt series

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    This starts a trilogy that acts as a sequel to The Indranan War (start with Behind The Throne). I'm not sure how well it works as a standalone - there's certainly a lot of careful reintroduction of all the (surviving) characters from the first series, but on the other hand it's such a massive cast I'm not sure that helps. Although ostensibly the adventures of Hail Bristol, space opera gunrunner turned Empress, the series is actually more about her relationships with her sprawling found family of This starts a trilogy that acts as a sequel to The Indranan War (start with Behind The Throne). I'm not sure how well it works as a standalone - there's certainly a lot of careful reintroduction of all the (surviving) characters from the first series, but on the other hand it's such a massive cast I'm not sure that helps. Although ostensibly the adventures of Hail Bristol, space opera gunrunner turned Empress, the series is actually more about her relationships with her sprawling found family of advisors and bodyguards, and as such demands quite a lot of attention. The first series was pretty action-packed, which this takes a lot longer to get to, but that serves to ratchet up the tension quite nicely. This time the focus is on the enigmatic elder alien race of Farians, whose pseudo-magic powers of life and death takes this in an interesting direction for a space opera, as we find they're hiding a great deal about themselves to the extent that Hail's fragile peace may not last.... If you liked the first trilogy then get this - unless you hate really really big cliffhangers.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    *Received free copy through Goodreads Giveaway* I really enjoyed the Indranan war series, and was really excited to start this series. There Before the Chaos was really good but it started out a little slow, mainly because it seemed that it needed to deal with some of the fallout from the previous series as well as introduce a new conflict. Once it got going though, it was very exciting. The author did a good job explaining a lot of what happened in the previous series, as much of it directly rel *Received free copy through Goodreads Giveaway* I really enjoyed the Indranan war series, and was really excited to start this series. There Before the Chaos was really good but it started out a little slow, mainly because it seemed that it needed to deal with some of the fallout from the previous series as well as introduce a new conflict. Once it got going though, it was very exciting. The author did a good job explaining a lot of what happened in the previous series, as much of it directly relates to things that happen in this book. I think a new reader would be okay starting this series, without reading the previous one, but it would make so much more sense if you read the Indranan War series, prior to reading this book. And the Indranan War series is soooo good, so you should read it anyways!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Arielle

    Just...like....wow. Here's the thing (spoilers ahead). This book is so entertaining, its nuts. Hail is fierce and kind and smart and I love that we're looking at a matriarchal society in the midst of a patriarchal universe. I love how QUEER this book is without a single second of justification or rationalization. A character goes from man to woman with no issue. Burly protectors are gay men. The empress is bisexual. I just couldn't stop reading this whole series and now I'm mourning that I have Just...like....wow. Here's the thing (spoilers ahead). This book is so entertaining, its nuts. Hail is fierce and kind and smart and I love that we're looking at a matriarchal society in the midst of a patriarchal universe. I love how QUEER this book is without a single second of justification or rationalization. A character goes from man to woman with no issue. Burly protectors are gay men. The empress is bisexual. I just couldn't stop reading this whole series and now I'm mourning that I have to wait another year for the next one. A YEAR!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Anderson

    I liked this book quite a lot. Definitely continuing with this series when another one comes out. (view spoiler)[Though it's so damned typical that the author tries to act like most major characters that aren't the main one are dead, we all f-ing well know that her main two guards and Hao are going to spring back into life in book 2. I don't know why authors are always so drama-crazy they have to act like XYZ are dead when we know they won't be. Only RR Martin knows you actually have to kill char I liked this book quite a lot. Definitely continuing with this series when another one comes out. (view spoiler)[Though it's so damned typical that the author tries to act like most major characters that aren't the main one are dead, we all f-ing well know that her main two guards and Hao are going to spring back into life in book 2. I don't know why authors are always so drama-crazy they have to act like XYZ are dead when we know they won't be. Only RR Martin knows you actually have to kill characters (well ok, some other authors know, but they're in the minority). (hide spoiler)]

  21. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    The best one yet!!! Continuing the stories of the amazing characters I met in the other books, done in suck a way as to depend my love for them even more. Hailimi and company were thrown into so much more this time. I picked it up and never put it down! It was fast paced, exciting and so well written I just couldn't stop! The ending almost killed me ( I won't spoil it, but you will HAVE TO read the next one believe me!!!) Another fantastic creation by K.B. Wagers

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Wheeee I like this world and the characters in it a bunch. This directly follows up the first trilogy (there's a small gap, it's meaningless). It's just as good, and there's *lots* of character development, which is nice, and something you don't (or _I_ don't) often seen in this.....particular type of book. Eg: quick, fast, fun, space opera-y. I'm already looking forward to the next one.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Hickey

    Hail Yeah I’d been looking forward to this second trilogy since it was announced, and it hit like a ton of bricks. Accepting her role as Empress didn’t dull Hail Bristol’s edge in the slightest—she remains one of the toughest, least predictable protagonists in genre fiction, and putting her in a taut political thriller was brilliant. Freeze me until the second book comes out.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Annie M

    Finally finished this book and now I am wrecked. If you’re not reading K.B Wagers, then you’re making a mistake. These books are political science fiction at its best, built around amazing characters and their heartbreakingly human decision.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    i feel like the main character should've learned some lessons from her constantly-mentioned gunrunning days, like, (view spoiler)["murderous revolutionaries who kidnap you aren't going to have a problem doing things like lying to you, or kidnapping you again." (hide spoiler)] .

  26. 4 out of 5

    Milan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was excellent and a lot better start than the first Hail trilogy. Of course all the characters are established now. Ending was pretty great and I'm very much looking forward to the next novel. But that sneak peak into the sequel was just cruel now the waiting for it will be even harder.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Vanderburg blount

    Love seeing some of my favorite characters ...even as the continue to deal with the consequences of the events of the previous trilogy. The ending is rather breathless... it's gonna be long year until the next one.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Hail is back and kicking ass and taking names in this one. Very good political sci-fi space opera. I did find myself wishing for more action, but this book really brings it in the last third. Waiting for the next one.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

    All Hail Another awesome book from K.B. Wagers, the author keeps getting better and better with each book. This book has made me cry and laugh out loud, I did not want the book to end. I absolutely loved this book. I can hardly wait for the next one to come out.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Julie Verive

    ARC. Fits in nicely following the Indranan War series.

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