Chasing Solace (Book 2)
The legendary Lost Ships exist, and they harbour nightmarish horrors. Opal knows. She barely survived her first encounter with one.
Despite escaping, she failed to find what she was looking for: her lost sister. Now Opal must board a second derelict Lost Ship to seek answers, and it’s even more monstrous, a sickening place of death and decay. To make things worse, the military government wants her, dead or alive. Considering their reputation, dead may be better.
To find her sister, Opal will risk everything: her life, her blood, her sanity. There’s always a price to pay. Armed with her wits, an experimental armoured suit, and an amazing AI companion, she might just stand a chance.
Ideal for fans of sentient AI ships (as in Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell), while the massive space-based abattoir conjures up the horror worlds of space from films like Alien, Pandorum and Event Horizon.
If you buy here then more money goes to the author. Yay! But if you prefer to buy from online stores such as Amazon, Kobo, Nook or Apple then that’s cool too: here are links to the book on those sites (including print versions where available).
"Book Of The Month for July goes to Chasing Solace by Karl Drinkwater, my favourite so far of his brilliant scifi series."
— Literary Flits - A Month In Books
"Chasing Solace is the third book I've now read in Karl Drinkwater's series, after Helene and Lost Solace, and I think it's my favourite yet! The inventive storyline continues Opal's search for her lost sister, Clarissa, and allows greater insights into the weird alien creations that are the Lost Ships.
I loved Drinkwater's detailed descriptions of the new ship that Opal has to explore. Actually I'm not sure that 'loved' is anywhere close to the right word to use here because the Gigatoir made me feel positively nauseous several times! I'm not a keen reader of gory scenes so picturing this grim environment was horribly compelling. Imagine squelchy hints of Heart Of Granite by James Barclay blended with the unearthly atmosphere of I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman, topped with sparkling dialogue and a shockingly exciting narrative, and you've got Chasing Solace. I really appreciated Drinkwater's futuristic evocation of a current situation that I personally find particularly abhorrent. Imagining it taken to Lost Ship extremes doesn't, unfortunately, take a huge leap of faith so the place, while being utterly alien, is also very plausible.
Opal is again accompanied by her little stolen spaceship, the AI awareness ViraUHX who has now reimagined herself as the ancient goddess Athene. She takes full advantage of the potentials of this persona which is brilliant fun to read. The relationship between Opal and Athene is an excellent example of positive female friendship which we see continuing to build and develop as their adventure progresses. If such authentic-feeling women could be widely found in scifi novels, I would read a lot more of them! I'm delighted to have discovered this Lost Ships series.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars."
— Literary Flits / (Alternate)
"Drinkwater makes this journey equally exciting.
The way Opal and Aegis learn to navigate this bizarre landscape depends on their ability to make careful observations of small visual disturbances that gradually lead them forward. This section is one of the more remarkable in the Lost Solace series. I don’t want to give away exactly what happens.
Drinkwater has the ability to maintain an exciting pace while introducing strange alien landscapes and states of being that are almost incomprehensible. He beautifully balances physical action with the intellectual probing that leads to critical decisions. For a series with really just one human character we get to know well, he builds a complicated relationship story and poses innumerable important questions about human and AI interaction.
I recommend that you read the tightly connected pair of novels, Lost Solace and Chasing Solace."
— SciFi Mind
"The author takes you straight back into the action in this fast paced science fiction series.
This is a journey fraught with dangers. It is a journey driven by love, a huge learning experience and one which will change them forever.
This is a brilliant sequel in this series, with the characters developing further, so many twist and turns it keeps you on the edge of your seat and turning those pages."
— Splashes Into Books
"I love the development of the relationship between Athene and Opal, and Aegis (her battle suit A.I.) and Opal. The flash backs to Opal and Clarissa’s childhood were sweet and explain her need to find Clarissa so desperately, in more detail.
The description of the gigatoir ship was horrifying, incredibly atmospheric. Very filmic action. I could see these books being made into films.
The explanation for the Lost Ships and the Oracle’s worlds are fascinating. The description is slightly dreamlike, although Opal learns to navigate and control it.
It’s a tale of friendship, familial love, and what it means to be human. How do we make free choices when any choice we make will cause pain?
As with the first novel, I really liked the characters, the story was entertaining and gripping, and I want to know what happens next."
— Rosie Writes
"Chasing Solace is not an imitation of Lost Solace. Chasing Solace is well and truly a book driven by action.
Chasing Solace has grit and determination, sci-fi, armoured suits, aliens, family ties, horror elements and so much more. It’s a real tour-de-force in a fun sci-fi romp. It’s gruesome in places (which is great) and it’s a hell of a lot of immersive, entertaining fun.
Chasing Solace can of course be read as a standalone, but you’ll probably be missing out on a few good bits from the first story. Especially as Chasing Solace picks up pretty much where Lost Solace left off.
Chasing Solace is a great sci-fi experience full of fun and fear in equal measures."
— A Novel Love
"I really loved Chasing Solace. The blend of scifi and horror made my bookish heart happy. Karl Drinkwater is able to turn the expected into the unexpected. He manages to take concepts I thought were done already and make them super new.
There is a very creepy atmosphere in this novel. This is a very character driven novel. Opal is the main voice and I really enjoyed AI too. I feel as though Karl Drinkwater is talented when it comes to bringing characters to life and making them feel real. I love novels like that and that fact alone made me want to give Chasing Solace five stars.
I could not put this book down. This is such a fantastic scifi/horror novel with fantastic characters and a plot that surpassed my expectations. An easy five stars to give. Highly recommended! Rating: 5/5☆"
— Jessica Belmont
"Drinkwater does an extraordinary job of exploring the “other” in his books. Admittedly, none of us knows what an alien intelligence would be like. Would a sentient AI develop a sense of humor? Would a crystalline entity struggle with syllables? Would beings who measure their lifespans in millennia be compassionate? We have no way of knowing, but with his imagination Drinkwater explores alien intelligence in ways that feel distinctly different than the humans in the story.
Opal is a fascinating protagonist. Military trained, she is reluctant to take life unnecessarily. When the need arises, though, she is decisive and efficient. Her relationship with Athene is constantly evolving, especially as Athene evolves and develops with her own personality. Athene is a sentient AI, but she also is shaped profoundly by her relationship to and connection with Opal. As the story unfolds the two grow into an almost symbiotic relationship, and when either is forced to survive without the other, the sense of loss is palpable. Both Opal and Athene are strong and self-sufficient, but they are stronger together and they both acknowledge that fact.
The universe of Chasing Solace, or perhaps I should say the multiverse, is dark and forbidding. Racial disparities continue to plague humanity. A harsh militaristic government dominates. Poverty abounds, along with prejudice and oppression. Unlike some science fiction writers who imagine we leave those troubles behind us, Drinkwater’s future relies upon our basic character as a species continuing to manifest its most unpleasant aspects. I wish, as a human, that I could see more hope in the future. Unfortunately, as an observer of the present, I too wonder whether the future shows societal evolution or devolution.
Chasing Solace is not an unremittingly dark view of the universe, though. It is a universe where one individual–with the help of her AI friend–can make a difference. People matter, choices define us, and ultimately the future is what we make of it ourselves."
"I loved the first book in this series, and Chasing Solace did not disappoint. The action doesn’t let up, and I really enjoyed this. Bring on book 3!"
"I never thought the relationship between Opal and Athene could be even better than it was in the first book. I always had my suspicions that Athene would betray Opal. But when I started reading Chasing Solace, there wasn’t a part of me that doubt Athene’s loyalty to her. If she was ever going to do something against Opal’s orders, it would be for her protection, never to harm her. Witnessing how close their relationship got from surviving the first lost ship, flickered a switch in my brain, and I couldn’t imagine Athene as a bad guy anymore. And as an AI, she grew so much her “human” side that it felt as if Opal was talking to a friend or a sister, instead of a digital being.
I didn’t want this book to be told in any other way. There was something between the story and the pace that worked beautifully.
This is a book to read with an open mind and without any preconceived ideas of the universe. Simple laws of physics don’t apply. The universe can be a very strange place, and what might come as an absurdity can have some sort of “logical” explanation after all.
The only thing I could do was sit back and let the author take me on this journey.
Looking back on both books, I felt the series was a process of self-discovery for Opal. She learned how to trust, how to make friends, how to be hopeful, how to believe in herself, and live her life in her own terms. It was a selfless journey to understand the place humans have in the universe, and how irrelevant and wholesome that can be at the same time. The only thing we have to do is change our perspective."
— Miss Known
"They find the ship and Opal gets suited up and off she goes….and things get horrific.
The ship is a food production ship, they grow Chattel….animals for food, with less bone and more meat and something else is roaming the dark. When Opal finds something sticky and web like, my heart skipped at beat….not spiders!!!
No, not spiders exactly….a thing of nightmares.
This is non-stop action, with a strong Ripley-esque female character and her relationship with the AI Athene, a real friendship and they rely on each other. Gruesome, fun and emotional too.
Brilliantly immersive and entertaining. I can’t wait for #3 in the series."
— The Bookwormery
"The bond between Opal and Athene has grown, and I loved their banter and conversations. Seriously the highlight of the book for me is their relationship and the scary vibes that is the lost ship itself.
This lost ship is scarier than the first! We have more monsters/creatures, and though there are more ‘faces’ to them, it doesn’t make it any less terrifying nor did it make me anticipate any less, haha. I was on the edge of my seat as I read this! If you all ever glance at my twitter, I was screeching about it as I read it.
Opal is still one of my favorite protagonists ever and this is still up there on a level with Metro 2033 as far as the fear and monsters go in the SciFi horror world.
It’s going on my faves list."
— The Caffeinated Reader
"Opal continues to be a fascinating main protagonist and time spent in her head is always interesting and rewarding. And as always, I loved the humour and wryness of the AI characters. If you like science fiction, you will love Chasing Solace."
— Amy Kitcher (Goodreads)
"More drama, more space fights, more internal struggles and the horror ante is increased.
Again, the most wonderful part of the novel is the friendship between Opal and Athene. There are some truly devastating and emotional scenes between the two characters.
But don’t be fooled by that, there is grotesque, terrifying horror and a couple of claustrophobic scenes that made my skin crawl.
There is a sense of dread and of horrifying secrets from the get go. The action builds steadily, poor Opal must be absolutely wrecked! But she’s feisty, resourceful and very much human.
Chasing Solace is the perfect sequel to Lost Solace, building on companionship, horror and the search for Opal’s sister."
— Banshee Irish Horror Blog
"This sequel to Lost Solace picks up where the horror of the first book left off. Lead character Opal is hunting for her sister, lost in the universe - and that means trying to find answers in the Lost Ships, strangely monstrous vessels that seem like haunted houses in space.
The first book had plenty of horror, this book layers on the grotesque, for the ship she has to explore this time is a space abattoir, slicing up giant pieces of meat for the galaxy's consumption.
The channels of the ship run red as she makes her way through the charnel house with only her artificial intelligence vessel as a companion.
One by one, all of Opal's assets are stripped away - leaving her trying to survive alone in the most dangerous of environments.
I compared the first book to the movie Event Horizon - and that holds even more so here. I look forward to whatever horrors await in future."
— Altered Instinct
"A compelling, suspenseful story of survival and quest. The author writes horror, and this does have some horror aspects - most of the book is the protagonist making her way through a deserted spaceship that's an abbatoir, with all of the disgusting fluids, sinister tools, and reminders of industrial-scale suffering that implies. Plus monsters trying to eat her face.
There are, near the end, some genuinely alien-seeming aliens in a genuinely alien-feeling setting, which is hard to do and, here, is well done."
— Mike (Goodreads)
"Coming to the end of Chasing Solace is not unlike saying goodbye to a new friend you got to know intensely well, in a very short time, only to then have to see them to the airport, realizing you’ll likely never to see them again.
Sappy drivel? Perhaps. But Chasing Solace—along with its prequel Lost Solace—was one of the most enjoyable novels I’ve ever read. Drinkwater is a master on so many fronts: his narrative ability is exceptional, his prose is extraordinarily deep and poignant and his ability to make you really care about the protagonist and her unusual best friend is magical! Far more than just another beautifully written sci-fi novel, he brings to life his characters in ways I’m still marveling over. Opal and Athene will live forever in my memory as two of the greatest characters I’ve ever come across.
Pacing and tension are just superb as well. The Lost Ships are one of the creepiest settings I’ve ever come across and I have a hard time with the fact that I won’t be able to follow Opal thru the dark, cold, green-flecked corridors any more. Ah well... Really great, great stuff!"
— Taig (Goodreads)
"A sequel worthy of the original. Having read Lost Solace in a couple of days, I purchased this book immediately. Even more action packed than the first book, with excellent development of the characters (both organic and non-organic). The final mind-bending chapters are a real entertaining read."
— G. J. Sutherland (Amazon)
"As a response to their experiences on the previous Lost Ship, Athene has upgraded and modified and I was looking forward to seeing her in action. I wasn’t disappointed! Athene’s ‘humanity’ in her communications with Opal show a gentler side which only made me love her more (I never thought I would say that about an AI …). I’ve loved how their characters have developed, their vulnerabilities making them even more of an unstoppable force that you certainly wouldn’t want to be up against. Formidable.
Once again, the challenges and action move at a fabulous pace, raising blood pressure and adrenalin! The factory caverns on this Lost Ship are (in my opinion) much more deadly and horrific than before. So descriptive I could feel my stomach churning at times … love it!
Opal’s experiences onboard are nebulous and the purpose they move us towards? Mind blowing. Totally. I LOVED the Null zone and the Oracle. I’m in awe of the imagination needed to create this.
Karl Drinkwater has the skill of leaving us on a cliffhanger at the end of chapters making it near impossible to stop reading. Expect late nights and longer reading sessions. And if the story affects you the way it has me, expect your dreams to take place in deep space on a Lost Ship with unknown adversaries.
Simply outstanding. 5* of awesomeness."
— Jera's Jamboree
"Opal takes on a second lost ship. Where the first appeared to be a liner, this is at first sight a 'gigatoir', a massive space-based abattoir - surely the most perfect version of an Alien-style scenario, where the whole ship is in effect the monster. Here, though, as was the case in the previous book, Drinkwater makes sure that things are rarely what they seem. Later in the book we get an experience that reminded me of the end of the movie 2001, A Space Odyssey."
— Popular Science
"This book surpassed all my expectations – Opal is back, feistier than ever, the AI has evolved into a sentient being called Athene, and it’s non-stop action for two-thirds of the book as Opal continues her search for her sister.
The tension begins on the first page, and carries on all the way through almost to the end. There’s a new lost ship, and it’s even scarier than the first one, with a nightmarish layout of an abandoned abattoir inhabited by creatures only Drinkwater’s mind could come up with! I couldn’t put the book down, I had to find out what happened next as Opal makes her way through the spaceship, trailed by…well, you’ll have to read it to find out!I love how the author gives his AI personality and characteristics that you can relate to – even the AI in Opal’s spacesuit grows on you, leading to a heart-wrenching scene at the end. While Athene fights her own battle with another AI, where the author gives free rein to his imagination.
There are some incredible scenes in this book, some that will keep you on the edge of your seat, others that will take your breath away with the intricate detail and beauty of the narrative."
— Pink Quill Books
"Having already established the dynamic relationship between Opal and Athene in the first book, Drinkwater loses no time diving straight into the action with the sequel.
Drinkwater wisely takes what the reader might expect and shifts it on its head, upping the stakes while introducing new elements we haven't yet encountered. First off, the lost ship in this book has been taken to the next level, with some serious creep factors that made for a fascinating and eerie setting. This was one of my favorite parts of the original book, and seeing Drinkwater continue to make the setting and lost ship almost a character unto itself continues to add dimensions to this series you don't often find in sci-fi.
Without going into spoilers, my favorite part of this book was the change in relationship between Opal and Athene, with conflict hitting in multiple and unexpected layers. A new character of sorts is introduced, with its own unique arc, which was surprisingly gut-wrenching, but that relationship between Opal and AI is what makes this series so unique.
Aggressive action, elements of horror, and some well earned twists and turns elevate this sequel from what could have been a mid-book slump. And for those hard-core sci-fi lovers, there are plenty of experimental yet scientifically grounded ideas floating throughout this book. Drinkwater's stretching his abilities here but proving he's got the chops to do it. Looking forward to seeing how this series concludes."
— The Behrg
"Excellent sequel. I found this book was much more a horror and supernatural genre than the first book (Lost Solace).
I suppose I'm a glutton for punishment since I don't really enjoy horror and lean toward hard science fiction. It's just that Karl Drinkwater is such a master writer that I basically like everything he produces. His books, Cold Fusion 2000 and 2000 Tunes - loved them. Both are basically about love and growing up and have nothing to do with sci-fi. I wish he'd take on more projects like these.
As in the first book, Chasing Solace is a character driven story with a single protagonist and a couple Artificial Intelligent partners. Non stop action, but the interaction between the main character Opal and the A.I. is priceless and is the centerpiece of this book and also Lost Solace. It's so intimate and oft-times funny. Most sci-fi books seem to have so many characters I lose track of who's who, but to pull off a story with a single character, and keep it so interesting throughout is a difficult task."
— KHB (Goodreads)
"The interactions between Opal and her AI are the highlight once again. Funny and humanising - humour is used again with great effect to break up the horror. If you liked Lost Solace then this is a great addition to the series. Whereas the first book reminded me of Alien and Event Horizon, Chasing Solace reminded me more of 2001 and Interstellar if they were written by Stephen King.
Chasing Solace fleshes out the universe nicely and adds other social context. Even without the horror elements this would be a great read for any sci-fi fan."
— Ally Rowan (Goodreads)
"An excellent Sci-Fi/action saga! I've had a hard time finding books that were interesting and enthralling enough to keep my attention to the end the past few years. I loved "Lost Solace" when it came out by Drinkwater and was excited to hear a sequel was in the works. The author here does not disappoint.
Opal's search for her sister brings her to a second lost ship, one even bigger and more dangerous than the last, with even more insidious threats. We also see more of the universe Opal lives in and how twisted it really is under the surface level that most people live in.
Probably the best thing about this book, is even though it's the second in a series, you don't have to read the first to understand and get into it. Drinkwater's writing is so thorough, that you can easily enjoy this book after or before the first one, and I would absolutely encourage anyone who loves sci-fi to jump into either one to start this journey."
— Shaun Horton (Amazon)
"I enjoyed this book even more than the first. Lost Solace left me wanting to see more of the world Opal inhabits, and Chasing Solace delivered in spades. Some question were answered, and some more were raised, but despite that the book has a satisfying conclusion.
Opal is on the run from the UFS still, aided by her sidekick A.I., Athene, who you will remember as Clarissa from book one. Once again, they encounter a lost ship, but in no way does it feel like a rehash of book one, there are new eldritch horrors to face, and new enemies to face in combat. There is plenty of action to be had, and more touching moments between Opal and Athene. The interactions between Opal and Athene are absolutely the highlight of this series, trying to humanize an artificial intelligence is no easy task, but once again, Drinkwater delivers.
The prose again, is easy to read, as well as relatively short chapters that are easily digestible. And of course, the descending chapter numbers are back! There are parts that are poetic, fast-paced, hilarious, and heart-felt, and one scene in particular that I dare say, is mythological? Let's just say I hope that Athene finally gets the payoff of kicking a digital avatar in his unmentionables in book 3.
All in all, a fantastic read, and I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for the series!"
— John-Michael Lelievre (Goodreads)
"What a fabulous read. For me, this is very much a character driven novel, with Opal's voice at its core. There are also beautiful and funny scenes between Opal and the AI spaceship, all set in the vast expanse of Space. You really get a sense of their remoteness and that they depend upon each other. These scenes are beautifully written. Chasing Solace is an adventure story about a lost sister. It's full of action, pathos and human emotion. It's also stunning and I loved it!"
— Brew and Books Review
Book 2 in the Lost Solace series