The Gates of the Frontier Universe: A Society Called to Arms is an intense space opera by Christopher Villanueva. Original and imaginative, it is an action packed book and part of a longer series.
A key of Sci-Fi is world creation, and Villanueva does an excellent job. The world (or better described “universe”) that he creates exists in parallel to our own and once interacted with our own while maintaining interest in it. The Galactic Court is like a confederation of peoples and planets that must rise to face the threat of an unknown enemy who turns out to be an old one. Despite the fact that action begins with a back-story, Villanueva develops the back-story with minimal intrusion into the present storyline, yet with clarity.
Villanueva is excellent at describing action sequences, and the novel does not suffer from a lack of them. The book is like an action movie. While most characters remain on the surface of development, some, such as Reed, one of the main characters, have some depth in development. The author manages tension and suspense well.
My most common complaint about independent authors is length—usually too long. While I grant that Sci-Fi/Fantasy needs more pages to allow for world development, this book goes beyond that. There are too many characters, too many worlds, and too many action sequences. Also, sadly from my perspective, the evil characters are more entertaining than the morally sound ones.
If you want an action-filled space opera and are an avid reader who reads a great deal, this book (and series) are probably for you. If not, then perhaps a classic Asimov, Bradley, or Clark novel would be better.
Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author for review purposes. I was under no obligation to give a positive review.