Dominion | John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard | 2016 (25 February) | Headline | 464p | Review copy | Buy the book
Over the past few years, there have been a few Young Adult science fiction trilogies that have given me such pleasure. I look forward to the books each year, longing to find out how it all will end, and then one day book 3 comes along and there’s those mixed feelings of lapping it up while feeling blue that there’ll be no more. Chief among such series is Conquest of the Invaders by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard. This fantastically thrilling and emotionally intense trilogy began with Conquest, continued with Empire and now ends with Dominion. Obviously, you need to read all three books in order and the review below assumes that you’ve caught up – so do be warned. If you haven’t, stop now, go back to the beginning and enjoy the treat in store.
Chronicles of the Invaders takes the reader to a future Earth that has been invaded and conquered by the Illyri, a humanoid race that thrives on war and religion – not a good mix. While many humans joined the Resistance, fighting the Illyri in the streets, many others were imprisoned and forced to become soldiers, helping their masters to conquer other planets across the Galaxy. But Illyri society is now at war with itself, soldiers set against politicians, stirred up by the Sisterhood that wants it all, urged on by something (how to describe it?)… other. But this is no simple tale of good versus evil. By focusing on two young Ilyri women, Syl and Ani, the authors show how complicated everything has become for anyone who wants to stay alive, not least when Syl, becoming a powerful symbol and force in her own right, falls in love with Paul, a human soldier captive and now rebel and figurehead for a cause.
The cliffhanger at the end of Empire meant I couldn’t read Dominion fast enough – and it delivers. The threat to both Ilyri and human is now at its greatest, threatening entire planets, including Earth. The scale has shifted enormously since Conquest and our heroes have grown – in age and in significance. With odds so strongly stacked against them, there’s nothing they won’t risk and that means that at times Dominion is a deeply emotional read.
I loved the places that we are taken to, including one environment that seems outside normal space entirely. We see wondrous things. Everything falls slightly into a different perspective. The battle sequences are thrilling – war on planets has extended into space. But just as tense are the scenes in which Syl ventures deeper into the lair of the greatest threat of them all.
I was so looking forward to Dominion and it was well worth the wait and the angst of the Empire cliffhanger. The stakes in Dominion couldn’t be higher, the entire future of humanity is at risk, and the book delivers a stonking finale worthy of it all. The writing is so good, the dual authorship seamless, the action thrilling and the small amount of romance tender. I’ve grown so fond of Syl, Paul, Ani and Steven over these three novels – it was great to see them again and I shall miss them very much. Young Adult science fiction doesn’t get better than this. I just hope there’s more of it to come from John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard. And soon!