Published: July 28, 2020
Publisher: DAW Books
Series: Sun Eater #3
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 784 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 5.0/5.0
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The third novel of the galaxy-spanning Sun Eater series merges the best of space opera and epic fantasy, as Hadrian Marlowe continues down a path that can only end in fire.
Hadrian has been serving the Empire in military engagements against the Cielcin, the vicious alien civilization bent on humanity’s destruction. After Hadrian and his Red Company achieve a great victory, a cult-like fervor builds around him. However, pressures within the Imperial government scared of his rise to prominence result in an assassination attempt, luckily thwarted.
With the Empire too dangerous to stay, Hadrian and his crew leave for a massive library on a distant world. There, he finds the next key to unlocking the secrets of the Quiet: a set of coordinates for their origin planet, unnamed and now lifeless. Hadrian’s true purpose in serving in the military was to aid his search of a rumored connection between the first Emperor and the Quiet, the ancient, seemingly long-dead race linked to so many of Hadrian’s extraordinary experiences.
Will this mysterious lost planet have the answers?
Demon in White has firmly cemented the Sun Eater series into place as on of the best series I’ve read in ages. It’s epic and on such a grand scale (and over such a large time span) that it cannot help but to be memorable. Hundreds of years have passed since the events of the first book and much has changed.
Hadrian is older, wiser, and a much vaunted Knight Victorian. Some would say that he is perhaps too successful and others think he vies for the Solar Throne. This is further compounded when the Emperor sends one of his many sons with Hadrian as a squire. To be charged with the protection and training of the emperor’s own blood? A high honor indeed. And when Hadrian and his now massive Red Company return successful from a mission that was intended to be a failure, he garners the eye of even more enemies.
Hadrian grows tremendously in this installment, and the reader can see how he may become a man that burns worlds. His deeds have made him an icon of the enlisted men and the moniker “Half Mortal” is known across the systems. He’s no longer the young idealist that sought peace with the Cielcin – the Half Mortal is a soldier in truth now.
While Hadrian is obviously the focal point, as he is telling his life story, the care shown in developing the entire cast of characters is quite special. Valka Onderra is brilliant and I can’t help but to adore her. She’s tough as nails, witty, and independent. Her relationship with Hadrian doesn’t diminish her character to merely a love interest, but rather makes her even more central to the story. Hadrian’s other companions, Polino, Ellara, Captain Corvo, and the many others I’m forgetting to name are all integral to the legendary deeds that take place within these pages.
I won’t go into further detail of the plot, as I think I’ve given enough away already. Demon in White builds beautifully on the previous two installments and I’ve been assured that the next installment will destroy me. If you haven’t picked this series up yet, let me assure you this- YOU ARE MISSING OUT ON SOMETHING SPECIAL. I can wax poetic for paragraphs more, detailing how much I love the care put into the world building, the rich history that could almost match that of Malazan, the epic battles that remind me of what I loved from Red Rising, and the epic recounting of a life reminiscent of Kvothe’s tale from The Name of the Wind. It is like those, but this story doesn’t mimic them- it just happens to remind me of some of my favorite stories.