Nova War (Shoal sequence book 2) by Gary Gibson

Title: Nova War
Series: Shoal Sequence book 2
Author: Gary Gibson
Genre: Space Opera
Paperback: 568 pages
Publisher: Tor UK

Order from: Amazon Tor UKUS | UK | B&N | sfbok

In Stealing Light, Dakota discovered the Shoal’s dark and dangerous secret, now she works towards stopping not only the spread of this knowledge, but also the onset of the Nova war. Found adrift near a Bandati colony world far away from Consortium space, Dakota and Corso find themselves prisoners of the Bandati. It becomes rapidly clear to them, that the humanity’s limited knowledge of the rest of the galaxy – filtered through the Shoal – is direly inaccurate. The Shoal have been fighting a frontier war with a rival species, the Emissaries, with their own FTL technology for over fifteen thousand years. Realising that the Shoal may be the Galaxy’s one chance at sustained peace, Dakota is forced to work with Trader to prevent the spread of deadly knowledge carried on board the Magi ships. But it seems that the Nova War is inevitable.


This is a story about a war that seems inevitable and the bigger picture that starts to become visible.

The Author

Gary Gibson is a new acquaintance I have only read Stealing Light before. According to Tor UK he is a graphic designer, previously magazine editor, in his home city of Glasgow. He has been writing since the age of fourteen.

World building

I love getting to know new alien races like the Bandati that keeps them prisoner, the Magi we get to know through their ships but they are still mighty mysterious and then we have the Emissaries we mostly learn about through their actions.

We also learn more about the Shoal and the Long War they have with the Emissaries. They have really twisted punishments.


Dakota and Corso have to escape their prison and help the human worlds that are cut off from FTL now. While Trader schemes for a final solution of the Long War.

The plot is much more complex in the details but it holds together well with just a few implausible twists as is common in space opera.

I like the flashbacks to keep us in suspense and portion out the background when we need it.


The more I learn of Dakota the better I like her. Reading about her being tortured and imprisoned felt very realistic. Both Corso and Dakota show weaknesses and behave like real humans.

My View

This is the middle book of a trilogy but it doesn’t suffer from that. It is really suspenseful and I read it in one go. I still miss a good love story but otherwise it is great. I continue to recommend the whole series it is one of the most enjoyable I read so far this year.

Related Post