It's been several years since Daniel Price's first novel in the Silvers series landed, but thankfully The Song of the Orphans remains pretty accessible, and the author catches readers up to speed in short order. If you need a refresher on what happened in 2014's The Flight of the Silvers, Price has you covered on his website, where he has published A Badly-Drawn Recap and a few other helpful guides to remind you of all the things you may have forgotten in the last three years.
The Song of the Orphans picks up a short time after the conclusion of Silvers #1, and with one hell of a hook. The titular Orphans (the sole survivors of our doomed planet, who were transplanted to an alternate Earth) arrive in a movie theater via portal...each of them dead, dead, dead. And yet, simultaneously, these very same Orphans are stomping around New York as wanted fugitives. So, what the heck is going on here?! Price lays out several tantalizing possibilities over the course of his multiverse superhero saga - time travel? clones? something else? - with all roads leading back to the enigmatic, nefarious (or are they?!), and vicious Pelletiers.
Clocking in at 750 pages, Price delivers a King-sized doorstopper epic of superhuman proportions. This sucker is jam-packed with X-Men by way of Fringe action scenes, each one carefully crafted and massive in scope. One of the neat things, and without spoiling anything, is how Price stages each of his large set pieces, and then makes them even larger, and the doubles that again. The dude has clearly plotted the heck out of this series, and I'd wager he's spent more than a few sleepless nights crafting power sets and character sheets for each of his super-powered heroes and villians, and how he can best use their abilities to generate conflict, defeat, reversals, and victories. And like a good Dungeon Master, Price doesn't let any of his players off easy. There's a constant escalation to each of the events that occur within these pages, and there's always a massive toll in the end, both physical and emotional. And when you've got some characters who can heal others and wind back the clock, this isn't always an easy thing to pull off.
In addition to the huge action scenes, Price devotes plenty of space to the characters and their developing dramas and emerging relationships. There's plenty of surprises to be had on the people front, too, particularly as dynamics shift and change, or continue to adapt, to the strange new world the Orphans find themselves in.
The wait-time may between books may have been a bit rough for us fans of the first Silvers novel, but having spent plenty of time as a Dark Tower junkie and reader of George R.R. Martin, the three year gap wasn't all that bad, all things considered. Hugely cinematic, and packed to the rafters with fight scenes and conflict galore, The Songs of the Orphans was well worth the wait. Fans will be pleased to take another trip to AltAmerica, but now begins the wait for book three. I shall wait patiently, or at least try to.
[Note: I received an advanced copy of this title from the author and publisher via NetGalley.]
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