Title: The Liberation (2016)
Author: Ian Tregillis
Series: The Alchemy Wars #3
Review: Robot sentience dawns and engulfs the world like a plague. In the third and final volume of the Alchemy Wars trilogy, author Ian Tregillis continues his brilliant alternate history tale with a tense build-up and an explosive payoff.
Tregillis is a master at framing and answering the “what if?” questions inherent in the genre. “What if human-created robot slaves obtained Free Will?” Multiple answers are presented, as separate factions of free “Clakkers” split off. What is so captivating about this novel is how Tregillis uses the chess pieces that he’s laid out in the first two novels (The French underdogs, the Dutch overlords, the free Clakkers, the slave Clakkers, the messiah-like Clakker named Daniel, Queen Mab and the Lost Boys, etc.) to show which strange bedfellows will align to better serve the end goals of their specific group.
Tregillis has built up several strong, compelling characters over the course of his novels. Each feels wholly different from book to book, as they’re all deeply impacted by their previously-endured trials and traumas. I wish we had spent more time with Daniel/Jax and his mechanical kin. It feels that the Clakker perspective is a bit underserved in this novel, but nevertheless, this is a deeply satisfying conclusion to one of my favorite series of all time.
★★★★½ out of 5
✪ SPECULATIVE SHELF STARRED BOOK
The Alchemy Wars series:
1. The Mechanical (2015) – 5 stars (see review)
2. The Rising (2015) – 4.5 stars
3. The Liberation (2016) – 4.5 stars