Rather than endure the theater crowds flocking to see Star Trek: Beyond this weekend, I chose to stay in with another science fiction adventure I’ve been following: Insurrection, by fellow indie author and book blogger Anela Deen of Amid the Imaginary. She’s shared ARCs of her short story serial with me over the past few months in exchange for my honest reviews. I gobbled up the first two installments, so when part three—Inquisitor—pinged into my inbox, I couldn’t wait to fire up my Kindle.
Inquisitor continues the story begun in Subversive and Operative. While it’s a solid piece of the larger tale, it didn’t captivate me quite as much as its predecessors. I think that’s because each episode is told from a different character’s perspective, and this narrator didn’t have the same emotional investment as the prior two. His detachment leaves readers observing events through his eyes rather than wincing at every twist alongside the protagonists. The narrator himself, the titular inquisitor, lacked something, too. He’s a capable archetype—the smooth sadist—but doesn’t develop the complexities that make the other characters compelling.
Despite that (relatively minor) criticism, Inquisitor kept me tapping my Kindle margins. Deen’s prose continues to impress me. Her writing is swift and clean, with just enough of an artful touch to make me pause every few pages and think hey, I like the way she expressed that. She’s also adept at playing multiple strings of tension. There’s never just one complication in a scene. Obstacles and ticking time bombs assault the characters from all angles, making for a high-tempo read. (Seriously, someone get this lady to write a TV series. It will be the most widely-binged show on Netflix.)
Overall, I’d give this piece four stars to the five I’d award the previous two, but I’m still eager to read more. It’s well-crafted, exciting, and gives every promise of continuing the thrills in part four, Assassin.