My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Zyra Zanr is on a mission; to extradite the dangerous terrorist Boris Skringler from the planet of New Venus, and give him over to the InterGalactic Alliance, but nothing is ever so easy. Ending up imprisoned herself, Zyra must somehow fix her own mess and capture her target, who just so happens to be her ex-lover.
(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)
I received this book in exchange for my honest review. My thanks goes to Kevis Hendrickson for giving me the opportunity!
I admit, I’m very particular when it comes to science fiction, especially space opera, whether it be watching or reading. It needs to have a certain punch to fully interest me, something more than flashy battle scenes or odd looking aliens, but a story that’s got depth. Story is essentially everything and, of course, how it’s presented. Hendrickson certainly impressed me with a number of things, from his world-building to his highly descriptive writing. Zyra Zanr was portrayed exceptionally well, her every emotion described in such intimate detail, it’s as if I could feel her rage, or even her lust. Of course, Zyra wasn’t the most wise of characters, as her issues were caused by her own impulsive actions, however after reading the author’s note after the ending, I believe this was intentional. She’s deeply flawed, but even so, she wasn’t completely dislikeable. Perhaps she’ll grow as the series progresses, become more careful, as such development is no doubt important. We all learn from our mistakes, after all.
Being a bounty hunter, Zyra is anything but a good person. Sure, she struggles with her decisions and thinks she’s doing the right thing, but she’s ultimately a killer for hire. At best, she’s in amongst shades of grey. Mikaela, her lover, was the likeable sort; loving, understanding and Zyra’s only hope of fitting into a normal life with a stable future. I wanted things to work out between them, I really did. I found Mika was trying to be an anchor for the troubled love of her life and it was lovely, yet perhaps destined to fail. (Yes, I’m a real sop sometimes.) Their first scenes were erotically charged whilst not going into the nitty gritty too much, which I actually loved; being able to convey such sexual heat without going into the act of sex itself. Not all writers can do this.
I didn’t like Boris Skringler and I certainly didn’t want a screwed up, abusive romance going on, so I’m glad Zyra got that out of her head. As a murderer, terrorist, former partner in crime, I found him completely undesirable and annoying. In fact, the few men introduced seemed to be the unsavory types, but that however added to the “girl power” aspect. I do hope in the proceeding instalments, men are given more of a chance. Although saying that, I thoroughly enjoyed the Venusian’s and their all-female culture. It was fantastically done and held a very dark undertone that was even unnerving. Their past was pretty grim, with being experimented on, forced to have abortions and whatnot. I truly believe they should’ve been left alone to rule their world however they saw fit, even if Queen Karah was a nasty woman.
The space battles were an exciting bonus to the great storytelling. As Captain Edna Ajala made the difficult decision to sacrifice her own life, and those of her crew, to attempt one last blow to the Alliance, well that moment was emotional. I don’t usually enjoy such battles, and yes I became confused at times with all the techno-talk, but Hendrickson really drew me in. I wanted to know the fate of New Venus, I wanted to know about the super weapon and just what the goals of the Alliance really were. It was truly great, with a shocking finish.
In conclusion: I feel that Zyra, as a protagonist, has a lot of potential. Despite the plot being highly political, I really enjoyed it; the differing cultures especially drew my attention. I know one thing for sure – I have to check out more works by Kevis Hendrickson.
Ajala turned around and looked directly into the faces of her crewmembers. But instead of fear, she saw their courage. It was invigorating to be surrounded by such proud women, women who were willing to give their lives to protect their world. She took strength in their nobility and felt a surge of confidence. Death was going to come to them all. But she was going to see to it that the enemy died with them.
© Red Lace 2015