This review was first published by Booklist on October 4, 2018.
Laporta’s skill with intricate world building is on full display in this first novel of a new trilogy for adults (after Mirror at the Heart of Time, 2017, for teens). He’s created an engrossing far-future reality of galaxy-spanning civilizations, populated by multiple alien races (bodiless symbionts, sentient AI, and mysterious creatures who exist outside of linear time, among others). His imagination is impressive and establishes a delightful playground for the trilogy to explore. This is a political-intrigue story with aspects of military sf and some action sequences. The main character is a diplomat and the conflict is set off by a shortage of vital resources. It’s not the typical fast-paced plot one expects for this kind of setting; that alone makes Probability Shadow interesting. Laporta’s characters are compelling, if drawn rather broadly. The plot gets convoluted and the short chapters make for abrupt transitions, but the sheer scope of his imagination is worth the experience and redeems minor stylistic missteps. The setup for the next book promises an even grander vision.