Azura Ghost by Essa Hansen

February 4, 2022

Please note Azura Ghost is the second book in an ongoing series. If you’ve not read Nophek Gloss then what follows will likely contain some spoilery type detail. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Caiden has been on the run for ten years with his unique starship in order to keep his adversary, Threi, imprisoned. But when an old friend he’d once thought dead reappears, he is lured into a game of cat and mouse with the one person whose powers rival Threi’s: Threi’s sister Abriss.

Now with both siblings on the hunt for Caiden and his ship, Caiden must rescue his long-lost friend from their clutches and uncover the source of both his ship’s power and his own origins in order to stop Abriss’s plan to collapse the multiverse. 

Back in 2020, I read Essa Hansen’s debut novel, Nophek Gloss. It was thoroughly entertaining stuff. The sequel has just been released and the good news is it’s also well worth your time.

Character-wise, I was unsurprised that Endirion Day and C* remain firm favourites. There is, undeniably, a lot going on with the main protagonist Caiden, but I would quite happily read an entire novel following Endirion Day’s adventures. You gotta love a sassy intergalactic gender-fluid rogue who has a habit of getting into all manner of scrapes. I tend to view Endirion as a character living from moment to moment. There is a sense of genuine unpredictability that is always an absolute joy to encounter. You know whatever they do next it is going to keep you riveted to the page.

Hassen’s complex universe building is fascinating stuff. There are many layers of ideas to unpick and enjoy, so much scope for the impossible to become possible. The myriad races are endless. I love the hustle and bustle of the spaceports and the epic, silent grandeur of deep space.

So, what have we learned from Azura Ghost? Firstly, messing with the multiverse is bad. I cannot stress strongly enough how bad. Just trust me, it’s bad. If you are planning on taking control of everything, even if you have the best of intentions, entire planets are going to suffer. Mastering existence is a tricksome business. Secondly, if you have the power to mess with the multiverse then inevitably you will try to mess with the multiverse. It’s just too much of a temptation. Ask yourself, if you could change the shape of reality and bring all different possibilities together into one perfect version of themselves, would you be able to resist?

One of the things I like most about this novel is the way it explores the motivations of the two antagonists, Threi and Abriss. They both exist in a morally dubious grey area. Each is entirely self-assured and utterly convinced that their conflicting plan is the best course of action for the multiverse. It’s interesting watching Caiden’s opinion being swayed by what appears to be two quite compelling arguments. I’ll be honest, if I were in the same position, I’m not sure what choice would convince me more.

Overall, Azura Ghost is a classic slice of mind-bending science fiction. Yes, there is action a plenty but also a thoughtful consideration of other topics like the nature of power and the meaning of family. If you like your science fiction with brains as well as brawn, then this is the series of books for you.

Azura Ghost is published by Orbit and is available now. Book three of The Graven trilogy, Ethera Grave, is set to follow next year.

My musical recommendation to accompany Azura Ghost is the soundtrack to the first season of Raised by Wolves by Marc Streitenfeld and Ben Frost. The music has that same otherworldly tone that Hansen’s narrative perfectly captures. I’d say they are an ideal pairing. You know the drill – read one while listening to the other to enhance your enjoyment of both.

*I wish I could properly articulate how much I love C. If I was wandering the spaceways of the multiverse there would be no better companion to have. You can easily tell by some of the interactions between Caiden and C that the author is most definitely a cat lover. I am also in thrall to our feline overlords, so this pleased me immensely.


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