Title: Empire of Silence
Author: Christopher Ruocchio
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Sun Eater # 1
Hardcover, 612 Pages
Publication: July 3, 2018 by Daw Books
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy.
It was not his war.
The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives--even the Emperor himself--against Imperial orders.
But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.
On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe starts down a path that can only end in fire. He flees his father and a future as a torturer only to be left stranded on a strange, backwater world.
Forced to fight as a gladiator and navigate the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, Hadrian must fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.
I’m not an enthusiastic reader of Science Fiction, although I watch plenty of Sci-Fi movies and televisions. But that’s because there hasn’t been a Science Fiction novel that captured my attention…that is until I read Empire of Silence. Empire of Silence was more than just a Science Fiction novel, it’s a novel about a man’s journey and struggle to find out who he is and who he wants to be, about life, war, political, family and friends. It multifaceted, complex and beautifully written. Many reviewers stated that this is an epic Science Fiction Space Opera, a genre I’m not too familiar with but what I can definitely say is this book is impressive and well written and executed. This is a whopper of a book and one would think a book this size would be intimidating with over 600 pages but by the time you start and finish Empire of Silence; you’d wish there was another 600 pages!
Empire of Silence is written in a style I’ve never encountered before. It’s written like an autobiography narrated by a future Hadrian and Hadrian in the present. It was different, unique and I loved it. Readers are taken on a space adventure as we see young Hadrian, a noble on Delos, Hadrian on the run and living in poverty on a foreign planet light years away, as a fighter in the coliseum, a prisoner in a gilded cage to Hadrian on the cusp of greatness or destruction…or both. But it wasn't always fun and games. Ruocchio also painted a cruel, unforgiving and dreary world. Where nothing is as it seems and there are monsters, because where would a story be without monsters? Except they don’t come in the form of some alien species nine feet tall or with talons and razor sharp teeth. But are made flesh and bone like us dear readers.
The characters and world-building were both well-crafted, developed and rich. The way that Ruocchio described things down to the most minute details showed the great care he had for his characters, with the world being a secondary character itself. I can imagine myself on Delos with the red and black imperial colors in the flag billowing in the wind to the hot days and nights in the slum of Emesh. Hadrian was a great flawed characters and I loved seeing his transformation over the course of the book. After reading the first page I knew I was going to enjoy this book and narrative. Hadrian did terrible things, or to be more accurate it’s the things that he didn’t do that made him terrible but yet I couldn’t help but want to learn more about him. He is by no means your typical lead, he never said he was a hero. He was just Hadrian, Had to his friends.
I absolutely loved Empire of Silence. I loved reading every minute of it, every page. With normal books, 600 pages would've been too much but for Empire of Silence it wasn't enough; and we were left with a cliffhanger! If you haven’t already read Empire of Silence then you need to go grab yourself a copy A.S.A.P. This is a 2018 debut you do not want to miss! I am already counting down the days until we get the sequel. Ruocchio is an emerging talented writer you’re going to want to watch out for and I can’t wait to see what he publishes next.