Title: Queen of Nowhere (Hidden Empire #5)
Author: Jaine Fenn
Genre: Space Opera
Available: Amazon $6.99 (Kindle) 341 pages
When paranoia is a way of life, trust doesn't come easily.
The Sidhe look like us. They live amongst us. What they lack in numbers they make up with their fearsome mental abilities and the considerable physical resources at their disposal. And their biggest advantage? No one believes they exist.
Almost no one.
Bez, the best hacker in human-space, is fighting a secret war against them. Always one step ahead, never lingering in one place, she's determined to bring them down. But she can't expose the Hidden Empire alone and when the only ally she trusted fails her she must accept help from an unexpected quarter.
Just one misstep, one incorrect assumption, and her Sidhe trap - her life's work - could end in vicious disaster. Worse, if Bez fails then humanity may never have another chance to win free of the manipulative and deadly Sidhe . . .
What I liked:
As always, the complexity and depth of the world building and technology are SciFi heaven to me. At first Bez irritated me with her apparently paranoia fueled obsession with every detail of her situation, but it soon becomes understandable why this is such a big deal. The broad mixture of cultures she has to integrate herself into makes for a believable and diverse universe. Nice twist at the end.
What I didn't like:
I missed Taro, Jarek, and especially Nual, with all three having been cast in much smaller roles in this after being the main characters previously. While the story mostly stays with the central character Bez and in her POV, there are odd jumps to other significant but fleeting characters that threw me out. Toward the end their significance becomes more obvious which makes it easier reading, but some readers might find it jarring. Also, this is apparently the last book. Wah!
This is my favourite kind of space opera. I have loved all the books of the Hidden Empire, and I'm sorry this appears to be the final one. This was probably the less explosive and action packed of the five - more tension and intrigue - but nevertheless an entertaining and compulsive read. One for those who want SF with a different twist. It can be read as a stand-alone, but personally I think it's more enjoyable if you've read the rest of the series.