Review: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach

œFortune's Pawn by Rachel BachFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, paperback, audiobook
Genre: science fiction romance
Series: Paradox, #1
Length: 341 pages
Publisher: Orbit
Date Released: November 5, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

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.

If Sigouney Weaver in Alien met Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica, you’d get Deviana Morris — a hot new mercenary earning her stripes to join an elite fighting force. Until one alien bite throws her whole future into jeopardy.

My Review:

I picked this up because I wanted more SF after the awesome Ancillary Justice, and this was the “if you liked this you’ll like that” recommendation in my kindle app.

For once, Amazon was right.

Fortune’s Pawn is space opera SF with just a touch of romance. But don’t let the romance stop you from picking this one up. The romance may or may not be incidental to the long-term plot, but it isn’t the main thrust of this particular story.

This is Deviana Morris’ story, and Devi is a mercenary with a ton of ambition, as well as an armored suit that she refers to in the third person. Considering how often the Lady Gray saves Devi’s ass, I’d probably think of the suit as a person too.

Devi wants to become a Devastator. Not that she isn’t already frequently devastating, but the Devastators are THE elite mercenary unit from her home system, Paradox. You don’t apply to become a Devastator. If you live long enough as a merc to get a big enough rep, the Devastators find you.

After 9 years of increasing seniority, Devi wants a short cut. That short cut leads through a security gig on a ship named The Glorious Fool. The way that the Fool draws trouble, it’s debatable whether the named fool is the ship, her captain, or Devi for signing on.

Everyone seems to be after the ship. At first, Devi thinks that the captain is just unlucky. But the longer she is aboard, the more she discovers of the secrets that the ship hides, and that the crew is hiding from her.

The universe is way more dangerous than even Devi imagined. Lucky for her, she is damned hard to kill. And even harder to fight around.

Escape Rating A+: Clearly I need to read more SF again, because I’ve been loving every story I get my hands on. Of course, I could just be picking the great ones for a change.

There are secrets in Devi’s universe, huge ones. The Glorious Fool and her crew are obviously not what they seem to be. But it’s more than that. Everyone on the ship is pretending to be much less deadly than they really are, because the universe is much more deadly than almost anyone knows.

The secret at the heart of this dangerous game is more horrifying than Devi imagined. Not just what has happened, but what is being allowed to happen, and to whom and in whose name. If you think River Tam was the scariest space girl you’ve ever met, just wait until you discover Ren.

Devi is a terrific point of view character because she fights everything and everyone to get what she wants, needs, or simply to survive. She never gives up. She knows that as a mercenary her gender can be a liability, so she does everything she can to use every tool she has to do what she feels is necessary. She lets other fighters underestimate her, and then she shoots them. She’s also a gun and armor nut, but then, that’s both a survival skill and the reason she became a merc in the first place.

The blurb says Devi is a combination of Ripley and Starbuck. The person she reminds me most of is Torin Kerr in Tanya Huff’s Valor Series. Not just because Torin is also a female soldier who fights with everything she has, but also because Torin finds herself in a similar situation to Devi. There is something out there that is hidden, and Torin is fighting it while figuring out what it is she is fighting, and while it fights back in ways that she’s never seen before.

honors knight by rachel bachIf you love space opera, get Fortune’s Pawn. I loved this one so much that I couldn’t bear to see it end, and went straight into Honor’s Knight.

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4 thoughts on “Review: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach

  1. I’d heard so much about this series that I finally started the first book one weekend, and then burned though all three books in no time. When I came up for air, I couldn’t believe it was all over. Waaahhh.

    That said, opposite of what you did, I think I’d give the series an A, and Ancillary Justice an A+.

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