Arabella and the Battle of Venus (Adventures of Arabella Ashby #2) by David D. Levine : Review

The thrilling adventures of Arabella Ashby continue in the second book in Hugo-winning author David D. Levine’s swashbuckling sci-fi, alt-history series!

The swashbuckling Arabella Ashby is back for brand new adventure in the ongoing story of her life among the stars.

Arabella’s wedding plans to marry Captain Singh of the Honorable Mars Trading Company are interrupted when her fiancé is captured by the French and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp on swampy Venus. Now, Arabella must find passage to an enemy-controlled planet in the middle of a war, bribe or fight her way past vicious guards, and rescue her Captain.

To do this she must enlist the help of the dashing privateer, Daniel Fox of the Touchstone and build her own clockwork navigational automaton in order to get to Venus before the dread French general, Joseph Fouché, the Executioner of Lyon.

Once on Venus, Arabella, Singh, and Fox soon discover that Napoleon has designed a secret weapon, one that could subjugate the entire galaxy if they can’t discover a way to stop Fouché, and the entire French army, from completing their emperor’s mandate.

Arabella and the Battle of Venus (The Adventures of Arabella Ashby #2) by David D. Levine is an enjoyable and fast-[aced read that I was unable to put down from beginning to end. I was honestly a bit worried when I started reading this book that it wouldn’t meet the high expectations set by the first book in the series but happily, I can say that I think Arabella and the Battle of Venus surpassed those expectations in almost every way.

While there was a lot that I enjoyed about Arabella and the Battle of Benus I think the one thing that really stood out the most was how much Arabella grows in maturity over the course of the book. Even though she was the main character I actually found her to be the weakest character in the first book and by far my least favorite. However, in  Arabella and the Battle of Venus, I think she really manages to come into her own and shine as a character. I was also both surprised and pleased with how much more action and adventure there was in this book, the fast-paced swashbuckling action really made the book just seem to fly by.

I think I can honestly say that I still find this to be one of the most entertaining series I’ve read in a long time. The concepts of space pirates flying giant sailed ships through space to be completely ridiculous. The whole space travel part of the series makes absolutely no sense and yet works almost perfectly for this story. Honestly, I don’t think the books would be anywhere near as much fun if the ships were designed in a manner more fitting with what you’d expect in a sci-fi book.

As much as I did enjoy Arabella and the Battle of Venus I was really disappointed in how little screen time the majority of the characters from the first book get in this one. Arabella may have become my favorite character in this book but I would really have enjoyed seeing a few more familiar faces. Though there were some great new characters introduced in this book including Napolean himself, which almost makes up for my disappointment.

I definitely see myself recommending this book in the near future, though I think anyone interested in reading it needs to read Arabella of Mars first.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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