The Graven

by Essa Hansen

Nophek Gloss

book cover

Caiden’s planet is destroyed. His family gone. And, his only hope for survival is a crew of misfit aliens and a mysterious ship that seems to have a soul and a universe of its own. Together they will show him that the universe is much bigger, much more advanced, and much more mysterious than Caiden had ever imagined. But the universe hides dangers as well, and soon Caiden has his own plans. He vows to do anything it takes to get revenge on the slavers who murdered his people and took away his home. To destroy their regime, he must infiltrate and dismantle them from the inside, or die trying.

Azura Ghost

Caiden has been on the run for ten years with his unique starship in order to keep his adversary, Threi, imprisoned. But when an old friend he’d once thought dead reappears, he is lured into a game of cat and mouse with the one person whose powers rival Threi’s: Threi’s sister Abriss.

Now with both siblings on the hunt for Caiden and his ship, Caiden must rescue his long-lost friend from their clutches and uncover the source of both his ship’s power and his own origins in order to stop Abriss’s plan to collapse the multiverse.

Ethera Grave

book cover

In the final book of this genre-breaking, roller coaster of a space opera trilogy, bold new voice Essa Hansen will stretch the limits of your imagination in this adventure perfect for fans of The Expanse and A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet.

Caiden has finally been reunited with his sister Leta after ten years on the run with his unique starship and managed to convince his longtime enemy—Threi—to join his side. But the multiverse isn’t safe yet. Threi’s sister Abriss is still the most powerful being in existence. And she still wants to collapse their beautiful, diverse, constellation of multiverses down to one, growing more powerful and more ruthless with each unique universe she destroys.

As Abriss’s strength grows, her sanity wanes under the burden of the universe’s whispers. And Caiden must weigh his final choices against a new risk: if he finally unlocks the ancient Graven abilities lying dormant in his genetics and saves the multiverse, he risks losing himself to the whispers just as Abriss has. For the last time, Caiden and his makeshift family must carry the fate of all the worlds in their hands.

My Take

Wow. Just wow. It’s hard to talk about this series without spoilers. It covers topics both societal – the balance of the individual versus the collective, the nature of diversity – and personal – the nature of family, love, sacrifice, feeling at home in one’s body, or not. All with a diverse cast of characters and worlds. I appreciated the emphasis on friendship rather than romance. It’s a slow build that starts out very dark. I read Nophek Gloss then took a break before moving onto the other two.