I’ve recommended Neal Asher’s books before. This one is pretty much cut from the same pattern: superhuman AIs, fearsome aliens, exotic future technologies, and epic space battles covered in detail. In terms of the chronology of his Polity future universe, Prador Moon is the earliest story, although it was written after several other books and stories in that universe.
This book covers the first encounter between humans and the prador, the fierce crab-like species that is featured in so many other stories. This first encounter immediately leads to war.
The prador have no empathy, either with each other or with other intelligent aliens. They have no problem eating each other, and discover in the story that they like the taste of human flesh. They also have no problem experimenting on their own children and, of course, on humans. They’re pretty much the epitome of the evil space opera aliens.
(Their depiction in later books I’ve read and reviewed is a bit more sympathetic, but only because the specific prador in these books are “modified” from the natural versions portrayed in this book.)
My only real disappointment with the book is that it’s short in comparison with Asher’s other books. (Although as of this post, it’s priced lower than most of his stuff.) It felt like the story of one of the chief protagonists, Jebel Krong, could have been explored in far more detail. He is referenced in other books, most of which I might not have read, so readers familiar with most of Asher’s work might have already had an impression of his overall biography.
So if you like space opera, might be worth checking out.