Book Review 2007 #46: Endgame

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from EOS of this book.
Endgame, by Kristine Smith.


It can be difficult to jump into a series in midstream, or, as it seems in Kristine Smith’s fifth novel about Jani Kilian, its last story. I have heard of Smith’s work before. However, this is the first time I have read any of her work.
Smith in Endgame does a fairly good job in immersing a first time reader into the world of humans, idomeni and hybrids. The novel starts off with a completely different viewpoint character, which allows readers both familiar and unfamiliar with Kilian and her world to ease into the narrative. Her reaction in seeing Kilian likely strikes a chord with familiar readers. With this new reader, it is a signpost that Jani Kilian is someone who, over the course of five novels, has developed a rich and powerful backstory and even mythology around her.
The story itself revolves around Jani Kilian, a human-alien hybrid whose skills are put to the test when her mentor is assassinated. In seeking its killer, Jani Kilian has to take on powerful enemies, perhaps from both the humans and aliens both. Partaking of both worlds, Kilian finds that there are those from both worlds who would seek to destroy what she has so carefully and painstakingly built: a refuge for hybrids like her.
When the novel’s narrative turns to its main character and gets going, I was entertained, even though the main character and the associates around her were new to me. I suspect many small character bits which I overlooked were in fact payoffs for readers who have faithfully followed Kilian’s story from its beginnings to this point. In regards to the actual story itself, I was only disappointed in the shortness of Rilas’ first person narrative and her point of view. I think the novel loses a step when it precisely stops cutting back and forth between the two characters. Too,the world is more than adequately explained and developed. So much so, in fact, that I want to read the previous novels not only to find out more about Kilian, but about the world so lovingly and richly described. Smith has done an excellent job with the world building, developing alien cultures and the characters that inhabit them.
Despite coming into the series cold, overall, I enjoyed Endgame.