Genre : Science fiction
Publisher : Angry Robot
Length : 344 pages
Format : eARC
Rating : 3 stars
Publication Date: July 13th 2021
The laws of physics acting on the planet of Jai have been forever upended; its surface completed altered, and its inhabitants permanently changed. The artificially intelligent Gods that ruled the galaxy, fearing heresy and chaos, have become the planet’s jailers. Tiv Hunt once trusted these Gods absolutely, but now her world has changed and her allegiance has shifted.
Now Tiv spends her days helping the last remaining survivors of Jai. Everyone is fighting for their freedom against unthinkable odds, and they call out for drastic action from their saviour, Yasira. But she has become deeply ill, debilitated by her Outside exposure, and she struggles to keep breathing let alone lead a revolution.
Hunted by the Gods, and Akavi, the disgraced angel, Yasira and Tiv them must delve further than ever before into the maddening mysteries of their fractured planet in order to save – or perhaps destroy – their fading world.
Yasira Shen used to be a famous scientist dedicated to her work. However, after the disastrous Jai generator incident that descended most of the planet into chaos, she’s now a symbol of rebellion, whether she wants it or not. But bringing people together to fight against the Gods and their Angels is difficult, especially when the world is falling apart, literally.
The Fallen is the sequel to The Outside, a book I read back in 2019 and very much enjoyed. I was impressed by the worldbuilding and the character work and I was curious to see where Hoffman was going to take the story. My feelings towards the sequel are a bit mixed, I enjoyed it but, I didn’t think The Fallen was nearly as good as the first book.
Some elements were still very good like the worldbuilding. It was what I liked the most in The Outside and I was excited to learn more about the Gods, artificial intelligences that managed to completely take over humanity. In The Fallen, Hoffman expands the history and how the Gods came to be. Without a doubt, the chapter I enjoyed the most was Tiv’s visit to the Museum of History on Old Earth. Sure, the chapter was a bit info-dumpy but, I loved it nonetheless because it gave context to the current situation and how the Gods became as powerful as they are.
I also loved learning more about the Angels, humans turned (voluntarily or not…) into Gods’ weapons. In The Fallen, we get several Angels POVs and my favorite was by far Enga, a woman who was turned as an angel against her will. She’s very angry and she definitely has reasons to be. The parts we followed from her perspectives were my favorites and honestly, I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if it was told entirely from her perspective.
If I enjoyed the worldbuilding in the sequel, I have to say that the character relationships and how angsty everyone was really tampered my enjoyment of the book. The Outside introduces the world and the conflict but, The Fallen is much more focused on the character relationships and it is centered on Yasira and Tiv’s romance. And while I enjoyed both characters on their own, I struggle to care about how unsure and angsty they were about their relationship. I usually struggle with miscommunication tropes and, it was irritating to read about and felt very YA. If the characters in this novel just talked to each other like adults, most of the relationship conflicts could have been avoided…
If I usually like character-driven story, The Fallen fell a bit flat compared to the tight plot of the first book. I’m still intrigued about the world and I have a lot of questions that need answers, so I will probably read the next book (I expect the conclusion of the trilogy to be more plot-heavy) but, I hope it won’t focus as much on character relationship drama.
Still, I would recommend this series if you are looking for a science fiction series about AIs turned evil gods, hyper-modified humans and neuroatypical characters. The Fallen is not a new favorite book but I still had a good time reading it.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. My thanks to Netgalley and Angry Robot for the ARC.