Review of INNOCENCE PROVES NOTHING by Sandy Mitchell
Black Library, October 2009
The Emperor is not dead, quite, but not quite alive either. His inquisition is hard at work, though, attempting to destroy heretics, psychics, and anyone who gets in their way. A group of inquisitioners follows the psychics who escaped their raid, taking a cursed ship through the void. Along the way, they're themselves hunted by another group of psychics, one of whom can sense when bullets are heading his way and manage to avoid even a firestorm of them.
Meanwhile, there's evidence that the inquisition itself has its problems--including the possibility of treason in the highest circles and the inquisition has infiltrated the escaping psychics, with the goal of following them to whatever escape hole they've discovered. At the back of everyone's mind, there's the reality of alien intruders. What the aliens want and whether they're anyone's friend or pursuing goals all their own is hard to determine.
INNOCENCE PROVES NOTHING has got a lot of really nice pieces. The character of Keira, increasingly confused assassin has huge potential. Author Sandy Mitchell delivers exciting and complex action scenes. And there's clearly a lot of world-building going on (although the worldbuilding may come from the Warhammer 40,000 universe rather than from Sandy Mitchell's own creation). For me, though, the pieces didn't quite add up to a connected story. Perhaps because INNOCENCE is the third volume in a series and I missed the first two, I found myself scratching my head not just at the beginning of the book but throughout, trying to remember who was doing what to whom and why. I would have liked to see more of a clear story goal to help me connect the large number of characters and subplots. Instead, INNOCENCE is like a twisted rope, all entangled with no beginning or end in sight.
Fans of the Warhammer 40,000 gaming universe (like me) will enjoy seeing the weapons and forces from their games translated to the page, with the type of characterization only a novel can bring. For those who aren't familiar with the Warhammer universe, INNOCENCE is not likely to be a good place to start.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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