“Hidden Empire” (The Saga of the Seven Suns #1) Review

Cynthia Ayala ’16/ Emertainment Monthly Staff _hiddenempire

Author: Kevin J. Anderson

Published: November 1, 2007 (reprint)

Publisher: Orbit

Series: The Saga of the Seven Suns

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

Having colonized other worlds, humans are certain the galaxy is theirs for the taking. But they soon discover the horrifying price of their arrogance when a scientific experiment awakens the wrath of the previously unknown Hydrogues and begins a war.

Hidden Empire takes us across the galaxy as Kevin J. Anderson explores the galaxy in the near future, introducing us into alien species and taking us from point of view to point of view.  Each chapter in the novel circles around a particular character as the story progresses, and with each turning of the page, the story gets more and more intriguing.  In the beginning, the introductions to the world we’re in and the events in the beginning set up events for what happens later in the book in a very subtle way.  It’s nothing at first, but then that nothing turns into something dire for all of humanity.  It’s a subtle inference in the writing that expands to something great.  But that is all due to Anderson’s amazing writing.  His style and technique build a world and a story that is worth reading.  The story is unique, as are the characters in the novel.

It’s obvious that Anderson went through great lengths to build and structure the different alien races.  Each race is different but has a similar in one respect or another that ties them together.  Mysteries unite the lot of them together as two characters begin to chip away at the past and uncover hidden truths that should not have been left in the dark.  It is incredibly intriguing because every character in this book discovered something in this novel: something that draws the reader in and entrances the reader, making it a wonderful read.  However, although each race is different, it’s the similarities that can throw the readers off.  Too often there is some confusion as to what race is a specific character: human, Ilidirans, or the race that communicates with trees.  The confusion does not get cleared up until you have read most of the book, which comes after you may have given up thinking about it.  It did make the reading a little confusing, but did not hinder the plot that moved smoothly.

The characters themselves were brilliantly constructed.  Not all of them end as they began and, like most good characters, grow along with the plot.  They each hold something important, although it’s not always obvious. Considering this is only the first book of a seven book series, these characters are key for reasons, or else why would Anderson bother with alternating chapters centralized on one character?

Personally, I love it when a chapter is centralized in one character because it allows for easier following, so in that respect I am biased, but Anderson does it beautifully because they build and allow events from other chapters to influence their own.  As I have applauded before, his style and technique are amazing.  ★★★★ (A-)

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