*note* I decided to re-brand my book recommendation posts. Does it really count as “re-branding” if there’s only been 2 others prior to this one? OH WELL. You all know how I love me some alliteration and “book thoughts” just was. not. CUTTING IT. So now we have “Fantabulous Fiction”! I’ve also added a menu on the sidebar to find all my recs in one spot. HUZZAH!
This isn’t a book review, this is a book recommendation. As such, I won’t be comparing the good/bad, what I thought worked/didn’t work, or any of those things you expect out of a review. Instead, I’m telling you that I think you should read it and why.
Fortune’s Pawn is everything I didn’t know I needed. But first, check out the Goodread’s blurb:
Devi Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It’s a combination that’s going to get her killed one day – but not just yet.
That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.
Contrary to what the write-up says, Devi kind of is your average merc. Or at least, what you’d expect of one. You know, the shoot-first, brain-later, thinks almost as much with what’s between their legs as what’s on their shoulders, less-talking, more blowing shit up, whoa-where-you-going-with-that-bottle-buddy kind of merc. She just also happens to be a woman. And I love it.
The book itself feels a bit like Firefly but with a varied cast and actual aliens. (So maybe more like Farscape or Mass Effect, even.) I could see Devi as a Macolm Reynolds meets Aeryn Sun meets Star-lord meets Commander-Shepard-Can’t-Dance kind of character. Devi is not perfect. In fact, she’s kind of an ass and most definitely speciest like whoa. But that comes from the entire shoot-first, brain-later mentality and somewhat ignorant life she’s been living up to now. So it’s interesting to see her slowly overcome these ingrained ways of thought (even if she doesn’t seem to fully realize it).
Speaking of aliens, there are four named ones and each are unique. Following the course of the story we get to learn more about one (the xith’cal) than the others, but we’ll see what happens in the other books. I, for one, liked the worldbuilding. Hyrek, a xith’cal, is one of my favorite characters. It takes some skill to make a secondary character that only communicates by typing on a screen and has limited, pseudo-reptilian facial expressions, have such a vibrant personality. He was instantly one of my faves.
Also, ROMANCE. This book definitely mashes up genres and it’s a little risky but I think it paid off. I mean yeah, Devi is on this ship because it’ll look bananas on her resume, but the girl ain’t DEAD aight? So when she sees what she wants, she’s like, HMM. MINE NOW. Even Ripley got some in Alien 3 because THE GIRL AIN’T DEAD, AIGHT? There is definitely some swooning and pining and heated kissery because, say it with me now, THE. GIRL. AIN’T. DEAD.
Besides that though, there’s a definite bromance (girlmance?) between Devi and one of the secondary characters, Nova. For as much as Devi is caught off-guard by her attraction to the romantic lead, she’s equally caught off by actually caring what anyone thinks, and finds herself more often than not going out of her way to make Nova smile, or be conscientious of what she says to her. Which I was so glad to read. I’m all for female friendships.
Now, don’t think because of the aforementioned swooning and pining and gettin’ some that there’s a dearth of action. NOPE. Devi kicks all the ass and takes all the names. She’s not invincible but damn there’s a reason she’s lasted this long as a merc and we get to see that. I’m talking plasma shotguns and anti-armor pistols and grenades and thermite blades that cut through people (and aliens) like nobody’s business. Devi kills people (and aliens) and is damn good at it.
Finally, amidst all the kissing and shooting, there’s legit scary shit going on in this setting. Devi is poking at the tip of a VERY LARGE space-iceberg. Fortunately, she reaches a point where she’s like:
Except it’s way too late.