War is hell. Especially on a planet torn up between warring religious countries. Nyx has done her time at the front, been a hero and had her body rebuilt. Then she joined the bel dame, government mercenary/bounty hunters to you and me. A sister-hood of the elite to them. But she has been doing black work for extra money and now her sisters are after her.I really wanted to enjoy this book. It has so much going for it. First off, it is not your usual sci-fi war story. It isn’t set at the front, for one thing. War is the back-drop and makes everything all the more dangerous, but there are no battles here. Gun-fights and boxing matches, sure, even a bit of torture. But no all out battles. There is bug powered magic though. With wasps set to attack and bugs powering vehicles. That is pretty damn cool I’ll be the first to admit.
And it is set in a Muslim-esque future. Makes for a nice change from the usual.
Unfortunately it is a little bit too dark and gritty for me. I like to like at least one of the characters. Nyx has a lot going for her in terms of being an interesting woman, but she sure isn’t likeable. And the rest, well, many are supporting characters so we only get flashes and hints, I think I may have liked some of them if we’d had more time with them, but as it is, we didn’t.
It is a very interesting book though. All about how war messes you up, messes society up. Especially a religious war.
I also enjoyed the gender politics. Nasheen is dominated by women. Ruled by a queen and, almost as much, by its bel dames. The boys get drafted and sent off to the front. Few return. Their enemies, the Chenjen are male dominated. Although they likewise send their men off to fight, unless you are head of household that is.
Race, sexuality, religion; its all here, and so well done and believable.
But I need me some nice characters! And I didn’t get them, so I can’t love this book. I can like it, and find it interesting, and I can even recommend that you read it! But I can’t love it :) I will be totally reading the sequel, Infinity though.