In this dark, dangerous, roller coaster of a debut, a young man sets out on a single-minded quest for revenge across a breathtaking multiverse filled with aliens, mind-bending tech, and ships beyond his wildest imagining. Essa Hansen’s is a bold new voice for the next generation of science fiction readers. Caiden's planet is destroyed. His family gone. And, his only hope for survival is a crew of misfit aliens and a mysterious ship that seems to have a soul and a universe of its own. Together they will show him that the universe is much bigger, much more advanced, and much more mysterious than Caiden had ever imagined. But the universe hides dangers as well, and soon Caiden has his own plans. He vows to do anything it takes to get revenge on the slavers who murdered his people and took away his home. To destroy their regime, he must infiltrate and dismantle them from the inside, or die trying.
Finalist for r/Fantasy Stabby Awards for Best Debut!
One of the most highly praised science fiction debuts of the year:
“A killer story with real heart and soul."-Alastair Reynolds
“A fast-paced, action-filled ride through the multiverse” - Library Journal (starred)
“A strong, rollercoaster of a debut." – Gareth L Powell
“Gripping and inventive” – Megan E O’Keefe
“Mesmerizing” – Fantasy Book Critic
“Reads like a Becky Chambers novel crossed with Firefly”—Michael Mammay
The Graven Trilogy
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Essa Hansen’s debut is an intoxicating and thrilling science fiction read. Caiden, a teenage mechanic on an isolated world, barely escapes death when the slavers who rule his planet massacre everyone he knows. Hiding in an abandoned spaceship, Caiden is discovered by a motley crew of space rogues. He is haunted by his experiences, but finds solace in the camaraderie of his new friends, who include a wisecracking, shape-shifting machine-organism hybrid and a surly alien whose skin ripples in colors and patterns that reflect his emotions. As Caiden seeks revenge on his murderous enemies and discovers new powers, Nophek Gloss barrels forward. Hansen creates a vivid, colorful setting that’s full of strange tech, fantastic aliens, and reality-warping spaceships. It’s mind-bending fun.
A revenge plot leads mechanic Caiden across a multiverse populated by a colorful array of humanoid species in Hansen's wonderfully inventive debut, the first of a space opera trilogy. Fourteen-year-old Caiden lives on a planet that raises vicious predators called nophek. When the planet is attacked by a new shipment of nophek, Caiden alone escapes, and uses his unique ability to manipulate technology to pilot an abandoned spaceship. Caiden soon joins a team of scavengers who guide him to Emporia, an interstellar marketplace where he learns more about the Casthens, who orchestrated the slaughter of his people, and undergoes genetic manipulation to accelerate the development of his body and mind. He emerges a 20-year-old determined to bring down the Casthen but the Casthen leaders have their own plans for Caiden's future. Hansen packs a lot of novelty and a fair number of ethical dilemmas into Caiden's adventures, as he realizes that killing the Casthens will create a devastating ripple effect. Caiden's ability to control technology also extends to sentient beings, making him wary of his heritage and uncertain of his relationships. But in the end, his essential decency prevails. Space opera fans will be eager for the next installment.
Coming up with new worlds and fresh aliens is hard word, but this books shows there’s still a lot of imaginative writers out there. Will get the next in the trilogy.
Just very bad writing
Chaotic story stuffed with too many elements interesting just for the sake of being interesting, but with no relation to the plot. The idea of “moral superiority” / “heart of gold” is repeated and spelled out every possible way 2-3 times in each chapter. Flat characters. Flat worlds / universes. No cohesion.
Bad all over
I could not follow. It never explained what it laid out. I mean the beginning was good because Caiden didn’t know anything and his friends explained it to him, but in the end it seemed as if you were just looking at memories instead of sentences.