The Broken God

David Zindell, 1993, Sci-fi

The sequel to Neverness and the start of a new trilogy, The Broken God is, again, far-future space opera. This one's mostly a sci-fi twist on the classic coming-of-age story. It follows Danlo Ringess, the son of Mallory Ringess, from childhood to college graduation on the ice planet of Neverness. Along the way, Danlo sees almost all of his family die, finds friendship, finds religion, finds a girlfriend, then loses almost everything thanks to betrayal. It's a bit like high school and college, but with more starships, hydrogen bombs, new religions, and illicit mind-altering substances than you probably had at your college.

The book works, but it's not without its flaws. Danlo's not perfect, but he's close, and he's always trying to do the right thing. Not very many real people can claim that. Mallory had huge, glaring character flaws in the previous book, and that made him more believable. The followers of Ede are an important religious and political faction in Zindell's universe here, but they were never mentioned once in Neverness. Anyway, this is probably the least satisfying of Zindell's books, but it's still worth reading.