Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Book Review: Babylon 5 - Armies of Light and Dark by Peter David (Legions of Fire #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good characterizations and storyline
Cons: Feels like a place holder between the two first books in the series.
The Bottom Line:
Middle trilogy
Yes, it advances story
But too much set up

The Transformation of Vir

Armies of Light and Dark is the middle book of the Centauri Prime trilogy based on the television program Babylon 5. The story focuses on the events happening to the Centauri race on and off their home world. Specifically, it focuses on their emperor, Londo, and their ambassador to space station Babylon 5, Vir.

Picking up where the first book in the trilogy left off, this book focuses on Vir. At the end of The Long Night of Centauri Prime, Vir had been banished from the palace by Londo. This book opens as the techno-mages find him. Making only one appearance in the original series, the techno-mages are a race that uses technology to create magic like things happen. The techno-mages have heard rumors of problems with a Centauri excavation on a distant planet, and they set off to find the truth. But that is not the end of the evil influence of the Drakh race over Centauri Prime. Slowly, Vir realizes he must start taking action if he is to save his world. Londo, meanwhile, does what he can to destroy the Drakh who have control over his every thought. Will it ever be enough?

Peter David continues to shine as a writer in this book. Once again, the characterizations from the series are perfect, and the references to events in both Babylon 5 and spin-off series Crusade, where techno-mages play a more important roll, make the book lots of fun for the devoted fan. Vir changes dramatically in this book into a leader. Yet he powerfully retains his innocence and soul. The book leaves you anxious to pick up the last book in the series to get the full picture of the events from the third season two parter War without End.

That is my main problem with the story, however. After the build up of the first book, this one seems to drag in spots. It's like it knows it's just the placeholder between the opening and ending of the trilogy. It's still worth reading; I was just expecting a bit more after the excellent first book.

Once again, the devoted Babylon 5 fan will enjoy this look into the story hinted at but never told in the series itself. Readers not familiar with the series will still enjoy the story without being lost, but they won't fully grasp everything happening. Either way, Armies of Light and Dark will leave the reader anxious for the conclusion to the story of Centauri Prime.

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