Empress of the Sun (Everness)
by Ian McDonald
Cover Artist: Larry Rostant
Review by Mel Jacob
Pyr Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781616148652
Date: 04 February 2014 List Price $17.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Empress of the Sun is the third YA novel in the Planesrunner series. Teenage Everett Singh is still on the quest to find his father sent to an alternate reality by Charlotte Villiers. In his attempt to escape her clutches, he sends the airship Everness and her crew to a Disc world inhabited by intelligent dinosaur descendants. The Everness is wrecked, the crew is stranded, and the local wildlife attacks.
Charlotte is still determined to capture the device developed by Everett's father that provides a map of all the alternate worlds. She plans to gain control of the council that rules the ten worlds that have the knowledge and power to reach other worlds. In the preceding book, Be My Enemy, she located, modified, and now uses an alternate Everett as a tool to gain her ends and to eliminate the original Everett as a threat.
The story shifts from viewpoint to viewpoint and for those who have not read the earlier books, this can be confusing. Everett also experiences the pangs of teenage angst and sexual awakening, but he is inhibited by his background and lags behind many of today's teens. Adults may find this endearing, but teens will it as unrealistic.
McDonald had developed a rich environment. The differences between worlds are fascinating as are the cultures they contain. The Everness comes from Earth3 where the alter Everett, EverettM, resides. Charlotte has also taken Everett's family hostage and threatened to kill them is he doesn't cooperate, spurring him to escape from her and to avoid giving her the infundibulum, the map of all worlds, his father created.
The writing is polished and the action sometimes frantic, but it is the characters and how they change that will fascinate the readers. As with the other titles, the saga continues.