Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Liminal Sky: Book Three
As the epic trilogy hurtles toward its conclusion, the fight for the future isn’t over yet. It could lead to a new beginning, or it might spell the end for the last vestiges of humankind.
The generation ship Forever has left Earth behind, but a piece of the old civilization lives on in the Inthworld—a virtual realm that retains memories of Earth’s technological wonders and vices. A being named Lilith leads the uprising, and if she succeeds in setting its inhabitants free, they could destroy Forever.
But during the generation ship’s decades-long voyage, humanity has evolved. Liminals with the ability to connect with the world mind and the Inthworld provide a glimmer of hope. They’ll have to face not only Lilith’s minions, but also the mistrust of their own kind and persecution from a new government as homotypicals continue to fear what they can’t understand.
The invasion must be stopped, the Inthworld must be healed, and the people of Forever must let go of their past and embrace what they’re meant to become.
I have been waiting to see how this very talented author was going to wrap up his Liminal Sky trilogy. The preceding stories (The Stark Divide #1 and The Rising Tide #2) were both marvelous feats of LGBTQIA science fiction, carrying me along a journey of epic proportions. So what would the conclusion bring? A finale to a story that, for the author, has really been decades in the making (read the author’s note).
So into The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth I dove!
Well, this is one of those circumstances where I wish I could leave a rating off. Why? Because 3/4 of this novel is brilliant, living up to its predecessors. For the majority of this story, Coastworth has a clear vision, moving his narrative smartly forward towards a highly passionate, suspenseful, action-packed climax. New characters are introduced, indeed entire new revelatory elements have been brought in, layered and over layered to the existing foundation of the seed ship Forever and its inhabitants moving through space. Past history is reintroduced, skillfully I will add, for those that might have forgotten some of the past. And new horrific villains have risen.
The author had me hooked. I was turning those pages, needing to know what was happening next, so thoroughly in the moment with those people, from Destiny (the author’s binary character), to Andy, Gordy, Aine, and all the rest. They were, and are magnificent, and perfectly realized. The sciences behind the workings of Forever is still just as fascinating and incredibly visualized as anything I’ve read. All the people and their various gender identities were handled just as one would hope for a society that advanced. Or should I say a world trying to be a society to be more advanced.
I just loved this story. Especially that climax! Just outstanding? So what is my issue here?
Well , after I got through cheering and thinking about just how perfect I thought that climax was and how neatly I thought Coatsworth had tied up the ending of his story and the trilogy, I noticed something. And my heart sank a little. I wasn’t finished yet. There was more to read. Sign. I was, facing more chapters…after a perfect ending.
That’s the hardest thing for authors. How to let a story go, knowing when to release your characters and say goodbye. Especially when you have lived with them in your head and your heart for such a long time.
There was another chapter, another villain, another smaller, less effective denouement, just to give a beloved character a send off. One that, in my opinion, she had already received prior with her partner and heartmate. This one? Sort of diminished that which had gone before. So very anticlimactic. And it also muddled the waters of the fantastic ending/send off Coatsword had written in the other chapter as well. Just didn’t make as much sense.
And then there was yet another chapter after that. One that could have easily been set aside as one of those side stories the authori talked about when he said he might be revisiting this universe in the future. You could also feel the author just not wanting to let go of this trilogy….not yet…just one more paragraph….one more line.
So how to rate this?
The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth was mostly a magnificent finale. Full of passion, great characters, wonderful science, and imaginative plot, and suspenseful ideas and plot, I enjoyed it right up to the first climax and ending. That was the perfect story for me. It was there I should have stopped. And taken the rest as additional short stories later on.
But that’s not how the author wrote it and that’s not his vision. His vision includes all the chapters and for me, that’s several too many.
I still think the Liminal Sky trilogy is a remarkable series and this was author’s loving tribute to his characters and a story that he’s loved and now finished. I think he did a rmarvelous job and highly recommend it.
Cover art: Aaron Anderson. I have loved all the covers for this series and this one is no different. Just outstanding.
Published October 15th 2019 by DSP Publications
Liminal Sky Trilogy:
The Stark Divide
The Rising Tide
The Shoreless Sea