So Gary Gibson was my big find of last year (well, I didn’t exactly find him, I was pointed in his direction by the Book God) and Stealing Light one of my favourite reads. So anticipation was high for Nova War and it didn’t disappoint.

But it’s going to be difficult to review here because it is a straight sequel (part of the Shoal sequence, the third volume comes out later this year) and so any in-depth discussion would give away details of the outcome of the first book, and I wouldn’t want to do that because it was huge fun to read and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone likely to give it a go.

So what do you need to know? Well, it’s a space opera (hurrah! I’m a sucker for those) with a couple of strong central characters, a convincing range of truly alien alien races (the Emissaries being particular favourites for their sheer nastiness), fantastic spaceships, revelations, war, realpolitik and (yay!) exploding suns.

I absolutely loved it from the Lee Gibbons cover to the set-up for book three. I strongly identified with at least one of the main characters (is it too much to say that Dakota Merrick survives from book one ? Probably not given that she is the heroine after all), actually felt a tiny wee bit of sympathy for one of the villains (we find out what was done to him in the past to make him who he is now and it is truly terrible – sympathy doesn’t last that long, though) and just enjoyed the whole big-wide-world-of-spacefaring thing that was going on.

What can I say? I just can’t resist hard SF.