Here’s what SeánReadsBooks had to say about the second book in The Tradepoint Saga:
AFTERSHOCK picks up right where REFUGE left off. Now that her people know of the destruction of their planet, Gredin has to deal with the aftermath. The plot just doesn’t stop — there’s rarely a moment of rest. One step forward, three steps back; for every problem solved, new ones pop up, some caused by the solution of others.
In the aftermath of the surviving Vennans finding out about their planet being destroyed and the rest of their people perishing with it, Gredin makes her people a priority. The book also shows how draining it is for Gredin to sit down with hundreds of people each day to hear their worries and answer their questions.
In Refuge, immediately after she was changed by the Power, Gredin was somewhat robotic in how little she felt or showed in terms of emotions. In Aftershock, it seemed like the change brought on by the Power was no longer suppressing Gredin’s feelings & emotional turmoil. She was allowed to feel more. This helped with the big twist at the end. It was definitely a shocking revelation and while it didn’t come out of nowhere, more foreshadowing from other people would have laid the groundwork for it a bit better.
The power struggle between Gredin and Burlon is prominent in the book despite neither of them actively trying to seize control over the other. I actually enjoyed their little stand-offs; they’re both trying to do what’s best for the Vennan survivors, in different ways. They’re good parallels. Because of her role as First Speaker, voice and ear of the Vennan community, Gredin focuses more on the immediate concerns of the people, specifically their mental and emotional states. As a Trader, Burlon focuses more on the bigger picture and chooses long-term solutions. Gredin isn’t depicted as over-emotional or foolish and Burlon isn’t labeled as a heartless person. The reader can side with one or the other, but Blacklocke makes no effort to sway the audience to one over the other. Also, neither was forced to concede; instead, they compromised and found a way that worked in everyone’s favour, which wouldn’t have happened if either had conceded.
I would’ve liked to see more of Burlon dealing with his change of House. It was brought up only very briefly at some points. I’m hoping it’s addressed in the next book, as well as what it means for those who depart their original House. I liked Burlon as a character, though I definitely didn’t agree with some of his choices. Even when they’re at odds, Burlon and Gredin are at the very least confidants, if not friends.
One thing about the Tradepoint Saga that I really like is that every moment is important to the story. There’s one chapter that consists solely of a meeting between Gredin’s personal council. The chapter is a lot longer than the others, but there was not a second where I felt the conversation was either deviating from the plot, or didn’t hold some importance in regards to character development. I really enjoy Blacklocke’s writing style & how they highlight each individual’s struggle.
Other races were introduced, ones that the Vennans hadn’t interacted with in the first book. Each race is so different in their looks, culture, language, way of communicating, and in their way of trading. I would’ve liked a bit more physical description of them, as sometimes their looks are somewhat vague. Incidents that occurred between Gredin and other races in Refuge only flared up in this sequel. However, these flare-ups occurred in the third of the book. I would’ve liked to see more interaction with the Hesch and the Beng, but I expect both will have a more prominent presence in the third book.
One thing that bothered me a little bit was that some issues were brought up, such as the status of a Vennan-imported item that is essential to the Prett’s planet, since the Vennan homeworld was destroyed. The issue comes up once in the very beginning and again nearer the end. I felt like this would have come up again in the meetings with Wyve, but it seems to have been shoved aside despite the book’s events occurring over the course of about seventeen days.
I found the food testing scene to be a good addition, rather than just having it mentioned in passing. Showing the great care the Prett put into everything gave a clear view of their race’s values. The Prettian technology was also inventive and somewhat fascinating. However, I have no idea how their way of telling time works, exactly. It was explained in this book, but since Vennans don’t have the concept of hours and minutes, there’s nothing to really compare Prettian time to.
Tetralanna was somewhat less of an issue for the first half of the book but she became more prominent in the second. She’s always been an arrogant and condescending person but she’s taken her self-importance to a new level. I’m looking forward to seeing her personal grievances with Gredin come to a head in the next book.
It was hard to put this book down and I enjoyed reading it overall.