I heard about this book from You Book Me All Night Long, a great blog with an equally great name. In September we wrote about our most anticipated fall reads, and this book was described as “Firefly-ish”. I forgot about that post, which is funny because Firefly is exactly what this book reminded me of.
Firefly is a lot to live up to, but this book exceeded my expectations. It’s a fun science fiction read with a sexy hero to boot. I usually avoid books with a lot of romance but this book was sexy and smart, and the romance part didn’t take over the rest of the story. It had a great plot, interesting characters, and a well-developed world.
Bach writes fantasy under the name Rachel Aaron, but this is her first science fiction novel.
Devi is a mercenary who’s looking to get promoted to the King’s Guard, so she signs on to work security on The Glorious Fool, a ship that’s notorious for getting its crew killed. One year on this ship is like five on a normal ship, so it’s a way to make a name for herself. On board, Devi finds a crew of surprising characters, not all of them human. There’s no shortage of danger and it’s clear the captain has secrets – dangerous ones.
Devi is tough. She’s all about armor, weapons, and fighting, and I liked that about her. Unlike a lot of female characters, she hasn’t had a traumatic childhood or a romantic loss, she’s not trying to bury her feelings, she’s JUST a fighter. She’s about her job first, and feelings second. But she’s still likeable. She’s good at her work, she’s loyal to her friends, and she knows what she wants.
I really liked the world-building in the novel. Bach tells us a lot about the different races and societies, and the interactions among the races are interesting (although not explored very much). In addition to Firefly, you’ll get some Star Trek from this book too.
This book felt unique to me, in that it combined science fiction and romance in a way that was clever and not over the top – most of the time. I like my science fiction without tons of science, and I prefer my romance less drippy. This book gave me a lot of information about alien races, powered armor, and ship technology without it being too much.
I should point out that I don’t read a lot of “space opera”, so this book may be totally overdone and I just don’t know it. For example, I thought the high-tech armor sounded really cool, but when I described it to the husband, he said it’s common in the books he reads. So there you are. It definitely felt like watching a movie or tv show. It never gets deep, but Bach’s writing kept me interested and wanting more.
This book gets a high recommendation from me. It was the perfect mix of what I’m looking for in a science fiction read. It’s fluffy but intelligent.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The book was published November 5, 2013 by Orbit Publishers.