Safely You Deliver

by Graydon Saunders

Rating: ★★★

Not really a conclusion to the Commonweal series, nor, in truth, meaningfully distinct from the second book. I had hoped that Saunders would get over the fixation that produced that prior work, but they seem to be lingering here. Getting to see the collective from the perspective of different characters was something, but not much. The attack that they repel was something else, but again, it is just a single event in the middle of a novel of sequential events. Most unique was the concept of the students coalescing into their Independent identities, but this was a small addition to what came before.

Saunders does seem to have been improving their actual writing, and this book is far less pain to read than the previous two were. What is more, the unicorn-language starts to demonstrate that Saunders is actually starting to control their style, and write deliberately. The problem is that, despite being 400 pages long, this book felt like a novella of side-stories bridging the gap in a series. What is needed, really, is for the second novel to be rewritten by this more learned author, expanded to include the events of this one, and then a final novel with real events and an actual conclusion to be reached. There are hints here, certainly, of what it really means for Halt to have such age predating their involvement in the Commonweal, but this thread must be developed properly if we are to find the result compelling.