Dire Steps continues the momentum of the first two books and opens up the mystery of the Sims a bit more. The series is now, for the most part, a 3-POV story of the Mortas family – patriarch Olech and his children Jander and Alyss. I still prefer Jander’s POV but as the story progresses, it is obvious why O’Neil has chosen to broaden the scope. It allows Jander to stay a grunt LT. for the ground level perspective while Olech with Alyssa tackle the political and power struggle angles.
With Dire Steps, each Mortas will become embroiled in a struggle. Jander fighting Sims, Alyss attempting to stabilize a mining colony, and Olech risking his life to take decisive steps to contact the alien entity from the first book. O’Neil does a superb job of setting up the mystery and machinations so that by the time the battles break out in the end, each is extremely fascinating, intriguing, and riveting in their own way. I applaud the twists and turns, machinations, and reveals – they are intricate but also logical and perhaps even inevitable. O’Neil never strikes a false note and the plot unfolds organically.
I am greatly looking forward to the next book in this series. So much is yet unexplained and I am eager to see where O’Neil takes the characters next.