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Engines of Oblivion

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Karen Osborne continues her science fiction action and adventure series the Memory War with Engines of Oblivion, the sequel to Architects of Memory—the corporations running the galaxy are about to learn not everyone can be bought. Natalie Chan gained her corporate citizenship, but barely survived the battle for Tribulation. Now corporate has big plans for Natalie. Horrible p Karen Osborne continues her science fiction action and adventure series the Memory War with Engines of Oblivion, the sequel to Architects of Memory—the corporations running the galaxy are about to learn not everyone can be bought. Natalie Chan gained her corporate citizenship, but barely survived the battle for Tribulation. Now corporate has big plans for Natalie. Horrible plans. Locked away in Natalie's missing memory is salvation for the last of an alien civilization and the humans they tried to exterminate. The corporation wants total control of both—or their deletion. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.


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Karen Osborne continues her science fiction action and adventure series the Memory War with Engines of Oblivion, the sequel to Architects of Memory—the corporations running the galaxy are about to learn not everyone can be bought. Natalie Chan gained her corporate citizenship, but barely survived the battle for Tribulation. Now corporate has big plans for Natalie. Horrible p Karen Osborne continues her science fiction action and adventure series the Memory War with Engines of Oblivion, the sequel to Architects of Memory—the corporations running the galaxy are about to learn not everyone can be bought. Natalie Chan gained her corporate citizenship, but barely survived the battle for Tribulation. Now corporate has big plans for Natalie. Horrible plans. Locked away in Natalie's missing memory is salvation for the last of an alien civilization and the humans they tried to exterminate. The corporation wants total control of both—or their deletion. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

30 review for Engines of Oblivion

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Tas

    Read this review and other Science Fiction/Fantasy book reviews at The Quill to Live Last year I had the pleasure of reading Karen Osborne’s debut, Architects of Memory. Over time I feel I may have been a little tougher on it than necessary, especially since it was smack dab in the middle of other wonderful books on my TBR. I also buried the lead on Osborne’s rich world of corporate warfare and espionage, completely glossing over how ingrained within the characters the system was. However, the bo Read this review and other Science Fiction/Fantasy book reviews at The Quill to Live Last year I had the pleasure of reading Karen Osborne’s debut, Architects of Memory. Over time I feel I may have been a little tougher on it than necessary, especially since it was smack dab in the middle of other wonderful books on my TBR. I also buried the lead on Osborne’s rich world of corporate warfare and espionage, completely glossing over how ingrained within the characters the system was. However, the book still left me excited for more of Osborne’s work and well, luckily for me and other fans, the second book is around the corner. Engines of Oblivion is a more brutal examination of Osborne’s world, with tighter character work and pacing to boot. Engines is the story of Natalie Chan as she cobbles together a life after the events of Tribulation in the first book. After a routine scouting test of her remote controlled mech goes awry, and Natalie is removed from her position as head of her lab. The test went perfectly in the minds of the Board members, but Natalie’s unwillingness to see their point of view has put her in dire straits. To salvage her reputation she has to capture Ash Jackson and their former captain, Kate Keller. The board doesn’t believe Ash and Kater are dead, and has a distinct feeling that Natalie helped them escape their grasp. Paired up with the infamous Dr. Reva Sharma, Natalie sets off to find Ash and Kate, to hopefully help Aurora corporation unlock the remaining secrets of the alien Vai and take the fight to them. Like I said in the intro, I totally flubbed on pointing out Osborne’s screed against corporatocracy in the first book. It’s a major foundation of the world and the characters’ journeys, and Osborne fleshes it out beautifully. Every aspect of life revolves around ones relationship to a corporation. Osborne delivers it in handfuls as well, allowing it to come out in speech and action instead of a direct to reader monologue. It’s a living breathing corporate owned humanity where everything is a commodity, where the lowest are treated as expendable slaves, and the highest used as replaceable machine parts. If I had read the book at a different time, this would have been the center of the review, but alas, I had been mired in several such stories, and it took a truly awful book to make me realize how important it was to Architects. That being said however, Osboune ratchets it up several notches in her second outing, and I was hooked on it. The different ways contracts, hierarchy, personal choice, and internal storytelling dance in their violent waltz is constantly on display in Engines. The best choice Osborne made for the book was centering Natalie as the point of view for Engines. It honestly felt like a stroke of genius. Don’t get me wrong. Ash Jackson is great in Architects, but Natalie was someone I had trouble sympathizing with on a personal level. She was xenophobic and dedicated her life to fighting the alien menace. Even when Ash tried to explain their thinking, how their understanding of life was so incredibly different from our own, Natalie was stubborn about wanting to exterminate them at all costs. This continues into Engines and while it’s not exactly baklava, it’s less cartoonish and is rounded out. It comes from a place of misguided protection, but her xenophobia is still highlighted. Natalie as a person still frustrating, but it felt so right for her character. It was fascinating to see Osborne’s world through Natalie’s eyes. She was truly someone who believed in the power and mission of Aurora, and she felt they could make the best use of her skill. However, this feeling is slowly eroded through the story as she learns more about the goals of Aurora and the board members she so diligently serves. Every step Natalie takes to her vision of freedom, she learns of two or three more barriers. Following her, and watching her try to buck the system she has been fighting for was truly a treat. Natalie spends a lot of time following orders, mildly questioning orders and trying to bury her own complicity in the red tape of bureaucracy. Osborne writes with patience, watering the seed of Natalie’s guilt and dissent with care, never allowing a single moment to define “this is where she changes.” She begins to question her relationships, her skills, and her place within Aurora as it uses her to suit its needs. Osborne makes it work with hard-hitting reveals, and slow acceptance on Natalie’s part. It becomes a journey of taking responsibility for one’s own complicity and by god, is it a journey. Engines of Oblivion is the perfect sequel. Osborne amplified every aspect of the first book and made it all tighter. The story is always moving, but Osborne deftly controls the speed, ramping it up for tension, and slowing it for introspection and revelation. Her choice to step outside her original protagonists and gaze at her corporate world through Natalie’s eyes was bold and insightful. There are layers to Natalie, and her transformation through the book is hard fought. She never feels quite safe, whether it be from conflict in front of her, or from her own internal turmoil. Every piece of the narrative fits into the wider puzzle, and when you get to see the whole picture, it’s beautiful. If you liked Architects of Memory at all, you need to pick up Engines of Oblivion. And if you haven’t read the first one, it’s absolutely worth it to read Engines. Rating: Engines of Oblivion – 9.0/10 -Alex

  2. 5 out of 5

    Traveling Cloak

    Engines of Oblivion is the second and final installment in The Memory War duology by Karen Osborne, and I was even more impressed with this one than I was the first. It just as dark and mysterious as Architects of Memory (the first installment in the series, check out that review here), but with even more twists and a deeper look into the alien technology the series is based on. Answers, I tell you. We get answers. The first thing I think it is important to point out is that this book changes mai Engines of Oblivion is the second and final installment in The Memory War duology by Karen Osborne, and I was even more impressed with this one than I was the first. It just as dark and mysterious as Architects of Memory (the first installment in the series, check out that review here), but with even more twists and a deeper look into the alien technology the series is based on. Answers, I tell you. We get answers. The first thing I think it is important to point out is that this book changes main character points of view from the first. In Architects, Ash is the main and the reader experiences everything from her point of view; whereas, in Engines Natalie is the main protagonist. I find this switch to be absolutely fascinating, due to the difficulty level. This series in and of itself is complex, and then to make this kind of change is crazy to me. Crazy like a fox (I think I used that saying wrong, but you get the picture). Because Osborne absolutely pulls it off. Ash is still a player in book 2; in fact, she continues to play a really important role. It is just that the reader does not follow her around. There is a reason for that, and in my opinion it absolutely makes sense. It is just something that I, as a writer, would never have considered. The fact that this is a boon to the story as opposed to a detriment is a nod to Osborne’s writing. Only an incredibly skilled author could do this successfully, and Karen Osborne has officially climbed that mountain. Not that the author necessarily needed to do that to show off her writing aptitude, because the narrative of The Memory War series is intricate enough to make that claim. The tracks of this story are far from parallel, twisting into each other often enough that I had to stop and recalibrate every once in a while. I love a story that makes me do this because it keeps me interested as my brain constantly has to churn. In my review of Architects I mentioned how I felt like every page was an opportunity for a new discovery in this book, but Osborne took it to the next level in Engines. My favorite aspect of the book is just how mysterious it all is. From the opening scene in Architects all the way through to the last page of Engines, a dark shroud surrounds the plot, keeping its secrets. The deeper the reader goes, the heavier it gets and the more reality has to be suspended. The aliens and their technology in question are different from humanoids or even other aliens we have read about in so many ways. A little advice: come in to Engines eyes wide open and ready for anything, because the way Architects leaves off there is so much story left to tell, and the author is determined to answer all the questions while also creating more questions along the way and answering those, as well. I found the subtext of the narrative to be very thought-provoking. The humans and aliens end up in a few chicken-and-egg situations that make the reader think about our respective places in the world. What does it all mean? And how might it mean something different to another sentient species? Themes of capitalism (and anti-capitalism), slavery, agency, and corporate greed abound. These topics are heavily broached in the series overall, but come to a head in Engines. Sometimes they are in the background, but often are brought to the foreground and can be very obtuse. In my opinion, these themes add to depth of the book because they are a factor in every action taken by every character in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed Engines of Oblivion. It is a fabulous ending to a unique and compelling series. Fans of The Expanse will enjoy its dark, spacey tone.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Indre

    I read the first book last year, and the concept of this new alien race and the war intrigued me. It had a good concept, and I was really looking forward to finishing out this duology to see how these memories are the big part of the war. Well, I didn't love the follow up in the series. For the most part I was confused, and to tell the truth bored. First of all, the book would not be able to stand on its own. You're thrown into the action without a clue of who the characters are and why they are I read the first book last year, and the concept of this new alien race and the war intrigued me. It had a good concept, and I was really looking forward to finishing out this duology to see how these memories are the big part of the war. Well, I didn't love the follow up in the series. For the most part I was confused, and to tell the truth bored. First of all, the book would not be able to stand on its own. You're thrown into the action without a clue of who the characters are and why they are where they are. It bothered me, as I had to rethink of what I could remember from the first book, where we ended, and the change of POV. Most of it is finally explained and I was reminded of the first story around 50%. That's a long time to be lost. Without a re-read and going in with the story line in the forefront, it is hard to follow of what is happening, The cool part obviously is the aliens, and the whole concept of memory war - it is finally revealed. It is a cool concept, with so much to think about. Not just about aliens, but how humans exploit people and what they could do if they came up with such technology. Natalie as the main protagonist worked. I loved her strong personality. For obvious reasons we couldn't continue with the original POV, and that's ok. Natalie added a new perspective on everything. The whole story is very mind bending. There are alien voices, and other things happening that at times are confusing, but still very cool. There were scenes though that were confusing as all be, and I couldn't follow the changes, jumps, the concepts. I'm still confused on what parts were real and what parts were imagined. It was unclear in some parts. Or i might have skimmed and missed something? Some things worked, some didn't. I was engrossed during certain parts, and some I was completely bored with and was skimming. In the end it wasn't a favorite, and I liked the first one better.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    UGgggggh. I got so drawn into this world and it was so hard to watch it resolve in a way that was fundamentally foreign and impossible to imagine (by design!) but still it's own kind of resolution! Sometimes books aren't about what you want them to be about or don't end the way you want them to but that doesn't mean they're not good! These books do a really good job of interrogating of what capitalism does to memory and trauma and war and what makes a person a person and what makes together toge UGgggggh. I got so drawn into this world and it was so hard to watch it resolve in a way that was fundamentally foreign and impossible to imagine (by design!) but still it's own kind of resolution! Sometimes books aren't about what you want them to be about or don't end the way you want them to but that doesn't mean they're not good! These books do a really good job of interrogating of what capitalism does to memory and trauma and war and what makes a person a person and what makes together together, of situating those conflicts within a person. I think, in particular, the use of physical and mental frailty were what really roped me in emotionally - totally harrowing. That said I definitely ripped through it too fast and will have to go back and try to parse some of the twists and turns because I was both in my feels and confused by the end.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John Deardurff

    The follow-up to Karen Osborne’s debut novel, Architects of Memory. This time told from the viewpoint of Natalie Chan, a newly appointed citizen after her heroic triumph at the Battle of Tribulation. Like the first book, it took me about five chapters to get hooked into the book. Unfortunately, I never connected with Natalie like I did with Ashlyn from the first novel. And I think that was the point as Natalie is more xenophobic warrior than Ashlyn. So the ending of this book has a higher reward The follow-up to Karen Osborne’s debut novel, Architects of Memory. This time told from the viewpoint of Natalie Chan, a newly appointed citizen after her heroic triumph at the Battle of Tribulation. Like the first book, it took me about five chapters to get hooked into the book. Unfortunately, I never connected with Natalie like I did with Ashlyn from the first novel. And I think that was the point as Natalie is more xenophobic warrior than Ashlyn. So the ending of this book has a higher reward. It just takes a longer time to get there.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    Number two in the series certainly didn't outdo the first, partly because of less novelty. The change in the protagonist was well done with good continuity from the prior protagonists. The good combination of psychological exploration and hard sci-fi continues. However the consciousness switching bodies /machines / entities became confused without tags or clues of who's who in what object. I'll probably read the third one mainly to see if my prodiction of the ending is close. Number two in the series certainly didn't outdo the first, partly because of less novelty. The change in the protagonist was well done with good continuity from the prior protagonists. The good combination of psychological exploration and hard sci-fi continues. However the consciousness switching bodies /machines / entities became confused without tags or clues of who's who in what object. I'll probably read the third one mainly to see if my prodiction of the ending is close.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Vaughan

    Great conclusion to the duology. Like the first, it is action packed, start to finish. Also like the first it is a terrifying look at amoral capitalism's endgame if left unchecked. Entertaining and well written, a pair of books well worth the read. Great conclusion to the duology. Like the first, it is action packed, start to finish. Also like the first it is a terrifying look at amoral capitalism's endgame if left unchecked. Entertaining and well written, a pair of books well worth the read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    This one just blew my mind in a good way and also made me cry and read faster in desperate hope and was relieved to find that hope rewarded. Because in this year of all years we need some hope and this delivered.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    While I liked the idea of the continuation of this story I didn't like the Natalie character as much as I liked the characters of Ash & Kate that were primary characters of book 1 therefore I wasn't as fully invested in this part of the story. While I liked the idea of the continuation of this story I didn't like the Natalie character as much as I liked the characters of Ash & Kate that were primary characters of book 1 therefore I wasn't as fully invested in this part of the story.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Even better than the first, which I enjoyed a lot. I hit a point in the book where I couldn't put it down, and stayed up way too late finishing it because I was so engrossed. Even better than the first, which I enjoyed a lot. I hit a point in the book where I couldn't put it down, and stayed up way too late finishing it because I was so engrossed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    3 1/2 stars actually. I found this story unique and comprehensive but perhaps too complicated at points for my easy comprehension.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    A strong follow-up to her first novel. Characters are given time and space to tell their stories, there are plenty of conflicts (internal and external), and a strong resolution.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael Alfaro

  14. 4 out of 5

    Russell

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Spooner

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leffingwell

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rakhya

  18. 5 out of 5

    Geffstar

  19. 4 out of 5

    MARIA B BORNE

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bobbi

  22. 5 out of 5

    Wafflepirates

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sonic Rainboom

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robert Roland

  25. 4 out of 5

    J.S. Dewes

  26. 5 out of 5

    Daren Walker

  27. 5 out of 5

    Keith Anderson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ethan Johnson

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  30. 4 out of 5

    Krzysztof Majewski

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