Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1)


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There was a lot to enjoy--some really interesting ideas, good characterization of the protagonist, well-drawn setting. But several things weren't explained sufficiently to satisfy me. For example, there is a character called the "Screamer", but it isn't until the last quarter of the book that the name is explained. Similarly, the setting is a 'democracy by assassination.

On the positive side, the main character, a young male prostitute named Taro, is sympathetic and well-done. When I first began reading, I couldn't imagine that I'd find the character interesting or relatable, but Fenn writes him as an affecting mixture of strength and vulnerability and goodness. Even so, I found the instantaneous attraction that develops between him and another major character to be difficult to believe. Too sudden for me. While this is a mixed review, I'd still recommend that you give this book a try.

It's well-written, the characters are interesting, the setting is original, and the plot is fast-paced. Sep 22, Andreea Pausan rated it really liked it. On Kesh, a city suspended above an inhabitable planet, you have citizens, living topside and outcasts, making a dangerous and precarious living in maze stretched under the city disk. Kesh is a city where 3 races rule through Concord, a special form of politics enforced by sanctioned murder. The hunts and public executions, highly attractive for tourists from all over the Galaxy, are carried our by Angels, ruthless assassins who everybody looks up to.

Taro is a pros Very interesting construction. Taro is a prostitute who lived with his Angel aunt. After her death, alone and frightened, he finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy which threatens the entire city of Kesh, its Angels and its secrets. It was pretty difficult a reading in the beginning, as I had to imagine a people living on the backside of an inverted saucer, hanging by threads like awkward spiders. More that that, Taro, although not a complicated character, is flawed and scared and everything he does ends in disaster. The writing is interesting enough so I kept going.

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It was well worth it. Fast sf adventure in an orbital city where official assassination by public vote keeps politicians on their toes. Fresh voice, excellent pacing and a very satisfying ending made this book a fast page turner for me. I hope the adventures of our heroes will continue in more volumes.

Sep 20, Adrian Leaf rated it really liked it. A distant future Sci Fi thriller set on a floating city with an unusual and twisted political set up.

Other Books in This Series

Far from being Hard Sci Fi, it is more interested in the characters and morally grey areas than huge mind expanding concepts. A rather strange world is set up in this book, and an intriguing universe, it is almost 'New Weird' in style and feel. At first it seems a bit on the nose and cliched, what with the ruling elite living high in the city in opulence and the poor literally shovelling shit in A distant future Sci Fi thriller set on a floating city with an unusual and twisted political set up.

At first it seems a bit on the nose and cliched, what with the ruling elite living high in the city in opulence and the poor literally shovelling shit in the underside. But it's so strange it feels fresh, the characters are well drawn and the mystery keeps you guessing with some genuinely surprising twists, I look forward to reading the next book set in this universe.

Oct 13, Hazel rated it it was ok. I wanted to get excited but I just couldn't. I thought the world building was impressive and original and I liked the pace of the book, but, I couldn't engage with the characters. If they were not having this adventure they were not people I would want to read about. Taro had a privileged background and chose to become a hooker, and for some reason drops his H's and says aint a lot which really bugged me.

I really wished they had signposts in the Undertow. Elarn was naive and there was a scene w I wanted to get excited but I just couldn't. Elarn was naive and there was a scene where she goes to a play rehearsal and asks her lover to view spoiler [ help her kill someone?! Also why did the minister give a kill order chip to a character who was going to be unreliable, surely there are couriers on this world? Jul 31, Marie rated it liked it. At some point in this book my brain went kind of offline, because I couldn't understand the descriptions of the locales. I think it was because I had just finished reading Gravity by Tess Gerritsen; the writing in that book is very clear and sharp, almost clinical; in Principles of Angels, the feeling of the writing is very ephemeral, and floaty.

I don't think that's a bad thing, though. The storyline itself was very interesting, though, and I like the presentation of the Angels. I had the feelin At some point in this book my brain went kind of offline, because I couldn't understand the descriptions of the locales. I had the feeling that I was reading a book that was a part of a series, or a set of books written from an established world. However, I did get into it a lot, and I would read more from this author.

Jul 14, Daphne rated it liked it Shelves: I'm honestly not sure what to make of this book. It wasn't bad but it also wasn't very engaging. I kept losing interest and it was hard to keep reading at times. Principles of Angels had some very interesting worldbuilding ideas and was very good at some points but it was also confusing at other times. A lot of the fictional terms used in the book were barely explained and even near the end I wasn't sure what some of them meant.

While I liked Taro a lot and rooted for him through the story, I'm I'm honestly not sure what to make of this book. While I liked Taro a lot and rooted for him through the story, I'm just not sure what to make of the plot. I also had a hard time picturing the City and how things were connected. Feb 06, Guy Robinson rated it it was amazing Shelves: Starting from the shanty town built on the underside of the floating Khesh City, Taro is forced to confront the inner workings of a city that excluded him and where he has always had very little choice of what he can sell in order to stay alive.

This book features "democracy by assassination", a complex and layered city with cultural as well as political needs and a window onto the wider universe that features in books by Jaine Fenn. May 10, Mark Cheverton rated it really liked it Shelves: A solid adventure novel, interweaving the characters nicely towards a satisfying climax. If it did have a weakness I'd say that the main characters rapid slip into doe eyed love with its attendant blindness to the obvious was annoying.

However, the other key characters were well drawn and believable. However, I think it will be a book I will forget quite quickly. I certainly enjoyed reading it, but was left with the feeling that it didn't really do anything new. Oct 14, Pippa Jay rated it really liked it Shelves: I loved the world-building in this although it came a little too much and too fast at the start. A touch of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere thrust into space, with the not-so-fairytale Sidhe lurking behind the exterior of an artificial city, where Angels are agents of death rather than mercy and you show your true colours in your hair.

Some wonderful descriptions in this with a handful of tortured characters to explore. Oct 20, Jim Hoff rated it really liked it Shelves: For the first 50 pages or so, I thought this book might be a bit of a letdown. Although Taro's story was dark and compelling, Elarn's just wasn't doing anything for me. This all changed abruptly as the author kicked in the turbo chargers. Wow, was I glad I persevered. Here, I don't want to give away too much.

Principles of Angels by Jaine Fenn

But suffice to say that it weaves an expansive group of characters into a seamless, insanely fast-paced SF action thriller. Once it got rolling, I could't stop reading. Aug 07, Jay rated it it was ok. Obviously a well thought-out setting but somehow I never got the feeling of it actually being alive - the few main characters could be the only people in the world for all I could tell.

The plot moved so slowly I was a good two-thirds of the way through the book before I realised I wasn't still reading the prologue. Characters two-dimensional at best, prose undescriptive and failed to convey emotion. Altogether a few interesting ideas but otherwise nothing special. Jun 14, David rated it liked it Recommends it for: Quite entertaining and engaging. The story is told primarily from the 1st person perspective of the protagonist, Taro.

Jaine Fenn uses the technique of presenting the characters' thoughts and speech without explaining the context or meaning to the reader. Apart from the main character, the rest are a little thin, but the plot rescues this with is fast pace, twists and turns and explosive ending.

Great stuff as usual and I am eagerly looking forward to her new series. Jul 18, Pippa Jay rated it it was amazing Shelves: 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. 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. Mar 11, Adam Whitehead rated it really liked it.

Queen of Nowhere

The Sidhe, who once enslaved and ruled all of humanity, have returned and inserted themselves into key positions of power right across human-controlled space. Only a few are aware of their return, and the data expert Bez is working hard to bring about their downfall. Her plan requires perfect timing, the recruitment of trustworthy allies and, if necessary, blackmail.

But when her strongest ally apparently betrays her, Bez is left to face the Sidhe alone. Queen of Nowhere is the fifth novel in the The Sidhe, who once enslaved and ruled all of humanity, have returned and inserted themselves into key positions of power right across human-controlled space.

Queen of Nowhere is the fifth novel in the Hidden Empire sequence. This sequence is interesting because it tries to be a fairly tightly-serialised space opera whilst trying to make each book a stand-alone, with the focus moving between different groups of characters. Queen of Nowhere brings Bez, a fairly minor character in the earlier books, into sharp relief Jarek, Taro and Nual, our 'regular' protagonists, are relegated to bit-players in Bez's story.

Compared to the frequent point of view changes and shifting between planets of the previous volume, Bringer of Light, Queen of Nowhere benefits from a tight focus on Bez and her storyline. That said, Queen of Nowhere also depicts events on a fairly large scale, some of them happening many light-years from where Bez is. The book's structure intercuts between Bez and brief scenes on other planets as members of Bez's network get ready for the decisive moment of action and their enemies try to protect themselves.

It's an efficient structure which helps get across a big story in a modest page count. Fenn's biggest weakness - her fairly prosaic, indifferent prose style - has been addressed, with more colour and strangeness in her descriptions. A visit to a planet with both segregation of the genders but also a relaxed attitude to sex is fairly vividly described.

Her characterisation has also taken a big step forwards. Bez may be the most compelling protagonist Fenn has created so far, her very ordinariness and lack of material resources despite her immense data-mining abilities or superpowers being contrasted against Fenn's more familiar characters. Action sequences are handled with skill and there's a general feeling of improvement across the board. The main weakness is that this is part of a series, despite the author's attempts to make things approachable for a newcomer.

Indeed, newcomers may be frustrated by what they'll see as deus ex machina such as Taro and Nual's Angel powers whilst long-term readers may be disappointed by a lack of development on dangling plot threads from earlier in the series.

The Hidden Empire series by Jaine Fenn

The 'greater threat' which even dwafs the Sidhe and was introduced in Guardians of Paradise goes completely unmentioned, and there's certainly the feeling in the book's conclusion that we still have some way to go to reach the endgame, despite some elements being wrapped up in this volume. Apr 26, Graham Crawford rated it it was ok. This isn't terrible, but the writer is seriously punching about her weight. There are a lot of embarrassing moments when this author thinks she is being droll or clever when she's spouting cliches.


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The Arch Enemies are basically sexy Fembots - which might work in a comedy sketch, but these are played straight. I don't think even early Heinlein would have tried to get away with that. The alluded to sex is mostly mommy porn, although there is at least more than a nod to non-heterosexual attractio This isn't terrible, but the writer is seriously punching about her weight. The alluded to sex is mostly mommy porn, although there is at least more than a nod to non-heterosexual attraction. The chapters set in the gender divided community were by far the most interesting bits in this book. From time to time there was a weird sense of passages coming into a much sharper focus, I suspect these sections were inspired by autobiographical events.

I started to wonder if this writer had a rather suburban or small town religious upbringing so she escaped into pulp sci fi. Probably a troubled child, who kicked the dust off her teen-aged sandals, left her petty minded mom behind, and then experimented with soft drugs and bisexuality. Jul 03, SFReader rated it really liked it. This is the fifth book in this excellent series -- read my review of Principles of Angels here.

So would it continue to be as gripping as the previous offerings? They have fearsome mental abilities and considerable physical resources at their disposal. Bez is fighting a secret war against them. Always one step ahead, never lingering in one place, she's determined to bring them do This is the fifth book in this excellent series -- read my review of Principles of Angels here. As their paths converge, it becomes clear that the lives of everyone in Khesh City, from the majestic, deadly Angels to the barely-human denizens of the Undertow, are at risk.

And Taro and Elarn, a common prostitute and an uncommon singer, are Khesh City's only chance You can download Apple Books from the App Store. Overview Music Video Charts. Opening the iTunes Store. If Apple Books doesn't open, click the Books app in your Dock. Do you already have iTunes? Click I Have iTunes to open it now. View More by This Author. Description Khesh City floats above the surface of the uninhabitable planet of Vellern. Nual is a sanctioned killer in Khesh City, where the very rich live Topside and the criminal classes lurk in the low-gravity Undertow.

Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1) Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1)
Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1) Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1)
Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1) Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1)
Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1) Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1)
Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1) Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1)
Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1) Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1)
Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1) Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1)
Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1) Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1)
Principles of Angels (The Hidden Empire Sequence Book 1)

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