The Armada Wars series is one of ups and downs, filled with periods of reflection sandwiched between action sequences which we just know have explanations and consequences we are yet to see. And every once in a while the suspenseful thread running through the series snags slightly, and the tension is released in a woah moment.
Here are the top three 'woah moments' so far, as nominated by fans via the Facebook Fan Group. Be warned that there are potential spoilers ahead!
3: Castigon vs Throam (possible LOTD spoiler)
The build-up to this confrontation is subtle, but it's there. On the one hand we have Rendir Throam — the current counterpart to Elm Caden — and on the other hand we have the disgraced renegade Maber Castigon.
Castigon has been murdering Imperial Shards (and sometimes their counterparts, if they get in the way), so we know just how dangerous he is. We already have a strong sense that Caden is his prime target. And Throam's whole purpose is to protect Caden.
So this fight was pretty much inevitable, and when that smoke grenade comes skittering through the doorway we realise suddenly we're about to witness the proverbial unstoppable force colliding with an immovable object.
2: The Emptiness (possible TRD spoiler)
It's difficult to place exactly where this happens, thanks to the insidious nature of it all, but at some point in The Ravening Deep most readers come to suspect that Caden's experiences could actually be paralleling those of the Rasa characters.
In Steal from the Devil the Emptiness is introduced as a facet of Caden's personality, a self-imposed dumping ground for negative emotions. But as the story progresses the Emptiness itself begins to take on the mantle of a separate character, while at the same time the lines between it and Caden's thoughts become blurred.
Then we meet Voice, and all of a sudden things might not be what they seem. Or they might be exactly what they seem! It's an impactive realisation when it arrives.
1: Meccrace Prime (total LOTD spoiler)
Also voted the best fleet engagement so far by users of the FFP, the surprise assault at Meccrace Prime is far and away the most "holy s*&t!" moment in the first three books.
We have no idea it's about to happen: we think Caden, Eilentes and the rest are just going to bust open some kind of conspiracy in the List of the Dead climax, and we're not even slightly prepared for the actual events which occur, never mind their scale.
Without giving too much away, it's a definite signal to readers that whatever it is going on behind the scenes, someone somewhere really means business. The invasion of the Meccrace system ups the ante considerably, giving some insight into the mysteries of the first book and setting the tone for everything which is yet to come.
If there are any other moments that made you gulp, gasp, swear, or throw a book across the room in horror, feel free to leave a comment!