There Before The Chaos by KB Wagers
Orbit, pb, £12.39
Review by Lottie Lightfoot
There Before The Chaos is a thrilling tale of political intrigue, with plenty of sass and action to boot. It continues the story of Hail Bristol, a former gunrunner and the newly-crowned Empress of Indrana. Indrana has faced a civil war, seen the death of royalty, and seen nefarious foreign intervention, but the worst is seemingly over, and the planet can finally look forward to laying the foundations for long-lasting peace.
Or not. There Before The Chaos picks up where Beyond The Empire left off. Hail, shucking her gunrunning past behind her, must face rebuilding her home planet in the wake of devastation and destruction from the preceding novels. Of course, not able to catch a break, duty calls for Hail. Somewhere in the galaxy, two alien races are warring it out, threatening to drag humanity and their surroundings into the melee. Diplomatic measures might defuse the situation, but both parties are only interested if it’s Hail doing the diplomacy.
From there, Hail is thrown into the thick of it – again. However, departing from the more action laden preceding trilogy, this book ventures into the more political and diplomatic aspect of the planetary rule. It makes for a slower-paced book, sure, but no less enjoyable or thrilling.
If there’s one thing that Wagers nails time and time again, it’s world-building. Previously on the pepherify, the Farians become further introduced and developed, diving headfirst into a whole new world and culture. Wagers’ attention to detail and care in crafting her expansive universe is unparalleled.
There Before The Chaos is the first of a new trilogy but the fourth book overall. The trilogy certainly isn’t a standalone deal, so reading the first three books is an absolute must. The book throws the reader right into the deep end of a complex plot, accompanied by a host of recurring characters with backstories you will miss if you skip the first three.