There are many stories in Abyss Surrounding, the sequel to Fire on All Sides (which I reviewed in 2016), and the second book in Eva L. Elasigue’s Bones Of Starlight series. Entirely as complex, multilayered, and compelling as the first, Abyss Surrounding offers daring new concepts along with enticing new situations holding familiar characters in their clutches.
We have the Princess Soleil, now a rebel living apart from the status her Imperium affords her, and instead mingling with intrepid voyagers of an unknown universe. We have Derringer, a spy in search of the Princess whom you will fondly recall from the first book as a splash of nostalgic hijinks. And we have our villain, Sturlusson, whose journey in the second installment needs to be experienced without the benefit of a critic’s retrospection. Read the book; you’ll get what I mean.
I was entranced by the inclusion of Dragons, mythical beings who play a vital role in the workings of Elasigue’s universe. Her deft use of distinctive neutral pronouns for each Dragon endeared me to their importance in her world; this is also a testament to her fluidity in addressing gender neutrality, worthy of a review all on its own.
Additionally, Elasigue’s Vedani are endlessly wondrous, and I found myself wanting to read more and more about them: their gardening, their marveling over human poetry, their strange traditions.
There is a bounty of wonder in Elasigue’s book. Don’t be afraid; if you end up escaping completely, it’s okay if you’d rather not come back. You have the universe to explore.
Abyss Surrounding was published by Primal Spiral on November 11, 2018. It is 298 pages, priced at $28. See the teaser trailer for the first book here, and check out the Bones of Starlight website here.
Damien Moore is a TA at his local high school. He loves reading, writing and visiting his alma mater. Talk to him about typewriters and anime at firstname.lastname@example.org.