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On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there's one thing everybody agrees on - there's not a chance in hell of ending it.
Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war--but at what price? The world is about to find out.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Hari on 09-15-12
A thought provoking rarity
This is one of those rare sci-fi novels that uses the genre to explore our own culture and assumptions by turning them on their head in a far-flung fictional world. The true beauty and success of the narrative is that the book does this without becoming preachy.
This is not a simple book. It explores questions of gender, religion, morality, violence, war, bio-engineering and what it means to be human. The protagonist is an anti-hero... complex, morally ambiguous, someone who I could believe as a scarred war veteran.
You should read this book and appreciate it for the nuanced examination of social structures, belief and the affect of war on the human psyche. Or, you could simply read it for the action, the pacing, the unique sci-fi world building and the interesting story.
The narrative and the narration flow so well together that I didn't experience any of that disconnect you sometimes feel in an audiobook.
I rarely give 5 stars. I gave this 5 stars across the board.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful
By Kat on 03-01-13
Rough brutality? Get it here.
Here's two things you should probably know before you purchase this book:
Kameron Hurley is a Feminist, capital F, the kind that doesn't want women to be men with breasts. She's the type of person interested in what makes societies what they are, and who puts all of the negativity of strict gender roles into this book, unflinching.
She was very into Middle Eastern religion when she wrote this trilogy, and spent six years beforehand researching war.
Still with me? Good. Kameron Hurley doesn't pull punches. She's interested in writing real people who have real consequences from their actions. If you want a kickass assassin hero who retains the high road after witnessing or being part of bloodshed, or whose sense of honor keeps her above the nitty gritty, who can go live happily ever after when all is said and done: this is the wrong story for you.
If however you're into a fantastically crafted world that sticks your nose down into the blood and gore and tells you to look at it, whose characters are a product of that bloody world, and has a story that continually pounds the characters into the ground? If you want a world that is vast, well thought out (and is continually developed into the next two books), that has BUG TECH and huge sociological and gender equality (no, not just women being oppressed -- in Nasheen it's the men who are most outwardly oppressed) issues due to an unending war? Yeah, this one's for you.
That said, it isn't perfect. It gets slow in some parts and some things don't quite fit together. The plotting wasn't as tight as it could have been, and some of the pacing will feel rushed. A lot of real world parallels can be drawn, and some may find that offensive. The characters aren't nice, and you might find yourself wishing there was a little more give in them. This is the type of book that, if you get invested enough into it, will make you hurt. But, maybe that's a plus. I don't know. What I do know is that despite its flaws, despite the unflinching way it rubs your nose in the dirt, I loved it.
Now, the narrator. I know that some people have complained about her voice because it is naturally on the high side, but after listening to all three books I would honestly not have anyone else. Her ability to put gravel into her voice, to make it sound rough and old and worn out, to put nuances into the characters and the slightest bit of accents: no complaints. I think she was a dang good choice for the role. I know who is speaking almost all of the time without needing to put a name to it, and the way she paces herself and puts emphasis on certain things made the story come to life. Great narrator.
So! Bottom line: If you want a strong female main character whose brutality, mental damage due to said brutality, whose relationship with the other narrating characters is more conflict than not, and whose resolve pushes the story along in a wave of violence: this is a good story for you.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful