In the follow-up to Lightless and Supernova, C. A. Higgins again fuses science fiction, suspense, and drama to tell the story of a most unlikely heroine: Ananke, once a military spacecraft, now a sentient artificial intelligence. Ananke may have the powers of a god, but she is consumed by a very human longing: to know her creators.
Now Ananke is on a quest to find companionship, understanding, and even love. She is accompanied by Althea, the engineer who created her, and whom she sees as her mother. And she is in search of her father, Matthew, the programmer whose code gave her the spark of life.
But Matthew is on a strange quest of his own, traveling the galaxy alongside Ivan, with whom he shares a deeply painful history. Ananke and her parents are racing toward an inevitable collision, with consequences as violent as the birth of the solar system itself and as devastating as the discovery of love.
Radiate was a great and satisfying conclusion to the Lightless trilogy. I loved how each book focused on different important characters. The construction was really well thought out and executed. Lightless sets up the story and is linear. Supernova and Radiate move back and forth in time, (fits the theory of time travel) and does it in a really organized way.
In Radiate each Part starts with Ananke and Althea’s POV, then the chapters focus on Ivan and Mattie through flashbacks to set up some history and the development of their friendship while also showing us their present story. It’s all spelled out so there is no way to get confused when what scene takes place. I do have one critique and though it didn’t ruin the book it does really annoyed me. I really wished we got to see a flashback of how Ivan and Mattie found out about the Ananke and why they decided to go investigate her. I thought we would get one towards the end where it would have fit in perfectly.
Most of Radiate focuses on what Mattie and Ivan were up to for the time period of Supernova, which they were only mentioned in. Both men are dealing with and learning to face the consequences of their actions. I also felt Ivan’s PTSD was handled really well. His time in captivity and Ida Stays still haunts him.
Like I said, Ananke and Althea don’t appear much in this book, but I feel that that’s ok because their scenes would have been very redundant. We already know what havoc Ananke has been up to, so now we got to see the consequences of her actions.
I also want to give a shout out to the cover designs. I love the faces with the stars and how each book has one of Ananke’s parents. Ivan, Althea, then Mattie. (At least that is who I think they represent.)
I am very glad I decided to read them all at once so that the details were fresh in my mind. It was like binge watching an awesome sci-fi mini-series.
Radiate – 4.5 out of 5 Con Men
Lightless Trilogy – 4.5 out of 5 A.I. Spaceships.
Favorite quotes below:
Page 29: The sound of her heels was the Russian roulette click of a revolver on an empty chamber.
Mattie: It would have been nice if you’d let me know what we were doing before you did it, Ivan!”
Ivan: I thought we were on the same page.”
Mattie: “We’re not even reading the same fucking book!”
Page 107: There was a woman standing on the sand behind him. She was very old, bent over herself as if the sky had a grip around her waist and she was passively bowing away from its upward pull.
Page 124: The end of the world had followed him to one more moon.