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Reviewed by Riley

 About Edge of Dark

What if a society banished its worst nightmare to the far edge of the solar system, destined to sip only dregs of light and struggle for the barest living. And yet, that life thrived? It grew and learned and became far more than you ever expected, and it wanted to return to the sun. What if it didn’t share your moral compass in any way?

The Glittering Edge duology describes the clash of forces when an advanced society that has filled a solar system with flesh and blood life meets the near-AI’s that it banished long ago. This is a story of love for the wild and natural life on a colony planet, complex adventure set in powerful space stations, and the desire to live completely whether you are made of flesh and bone or silicon and carbon fiber.

In Edge of Dark, meet ranger Charlie Windar and his adopted wild predator, and explore their home on a planet that has been raped and restored more than once. Meet Nona Hall, child of power and privilege from the greatest station in the system, the Diamond Deep. Meet Nona’s best friend, a young woman named Chrystal who awakens in a robotic body….

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Review of Edge of Dark

Edge of Dark is absolutely the best straight (non-romantic) sci-fi I have read this year. I was only a couple chapters into the book and I knew I would be making that proclamation.

What leads me to such a proclamation?

It is just a very well written book.

Brenda Cooper’s story grabbed my mind and pulled it into her universe. I love the worlds she created from the planet Lym to the space habitats that have evolved, spreading from a central hub like, like a city overgrowing it’s limits and creating satellite communities.

But mostly, it is the characters that made Edge of Dark such a compelling read.  They are vibrant and alive, clamoring for my attention. Charlie, the planet saver, Nona the would-be diplomat and Chrystal and her family, are all characters that the reader can sympathize with.

Among those characters that I admired, I would even include the Next – the robots – that have evolved into a community of highly complex, intelligent beings. I appreciate their needs, even want them to succeed, even if I am not crazy about their methods. Humans banished them out of fear but now may be forced to co-exist – one way or another. At this point in the duology, the Next appears to have all the advantages and the ability to dictate the outcome. That they start out by offering choices to humans is interesting. Is it a sign of a superior benevolence or of something more sinister?

But turning Chrystal into a robot is what really engages my empathy, not just with Chrystal’s plight but also with that of the Next. Her ties to her family and to her friend Nona serve to make her as human as a robot can be. They also serve to add depth to the story.

There are also several secondary characters, most of whom are continually plotting, making things interesting and keeping you guessing about who is the good guy/gal and who is not so good.

There is a low key romance between Nona and Charlie, that is secondary to the main plot, but still important as it brings together humans that live in space and on the world of Lym. Humans on Lym, in the space stations and the Next all have a lot at stake. Edge of Dark is the story that sets up the showdown and ends with a tenuous arrangement. But Edge of Dark is part of The Glittering Edge duology, so I’m guessing the arrangement, like the Next, will evolve to something greater. I’ll find out in book two, Spear of Light.

Edge of Dark is one of those books I will recommend over and over again to readers of space opera sci-fi.

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