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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
A.K. DuBoff’s Cadicle Space Opera kicks off with Empire Reborn in the Taran Empire Saga Series. She has created a space opera reminiscent of the works of E.E. Smith. Take a step into the Cadicle Universe where Tarans are the dominant race and humans are their genetic offshoot. Jason Sietinen has worked hard to become a Tararian Selective Service officer in his own right and has gotten used to his parents occupying important positions in the TSS. Jason is assigned to investigate a mysterious attack on the salvage hauler Andvari. Further investigation reveals a tentacled leviathan was responsible for the attack—creatures made from ethereal energy and without physical form. A shadow faction of the Taran Empire has opened the Gates in an attempt to disturb the peace. As war looms, Jason must find a way to unite the worlds and restore peace.
As a new space opera, Empire Reborn puts emphasis on the game of space politics. But it is a political allegory that goes beyond escapism, as it points your consciousness to contemporary cultural politics and how it might undergo changes in the far-off future. Empire Reborn counters the grand expectations of optimism in the age of great advancement. It may sound cynical, but inequality appears to persist as those who reside within the Outer Colonies are in want in affecting change. I like how the TSS agents are gifted with telekinetic and telepathic abilities, which in its own way has a political purpose, as they use it to leverage their traction in the hierarchy. The plot has a perspective that fixates on re-envisioning privilege and hierarchy. Perhaps this is why the book has such a sense of narrative richness. It is a story that balances dialogue and characterization, as we get to know more about the cosmic threat based on every interaction, and you believe the danger as it lurks. Discovering its resolution will make you want to read the next installment.