Ymir is the second book in the War Horses series, keeping Chevalier’s action and quick pacing while adding more backstory, character development, and a more complex plot.
The story follows Vandal as he goes through training on his homeworld, saves a classmate from assassination, and defends an ice-world from a space-Viking raids.
Like Consider Phlebas, Ymir explores people being small in an uncaring, vast universe. The Autumn Chevaliers fail to protect the civilians, sustaining horrifying losses in their escape. Lifelong friendships break. Yet unlike Consider Phlebas, I enjoyed reading every page.
The plot develops beyond Chevalier’s linearity but exposes some pacing and writing weaknesses:
Subplots end abruptly. Vandal discovering his classmate is an oligarch’s daughter. He saves her from assassins and just as intrigue builds, she disappears from the story.
Plot points also appear without foreshadowing, leaving them feeling unnatural. Vandal has an oddly strong connection to his mech, seeing through its eyes without using his VR helmet. This is revealed mid-chapter with no lead up. A missed opportunity to build suspense as the evidence mounts.
Despite writing flaws, the richer story and characters outperform the first book. I look forward to the next, Serpent Valley.