I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Dred Chronicles #2
Published by Ace on August 26th, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
The Conglomerate’s most dangerous convicts have made the prison ship Perdition their home. And they will defend it…
Perdition is under siege. Mercenaries have boarded the station with orders to take control of the facility—and execute the prisoners. Their commander is offering full pardons to the first five inmates willing to help the mercs complete their mission.
Dresdemona "Dred” Devos hasn’t survived hard time just to surrender to the Conglomerate’s armored thugs. Leading a ragtag army of inmates, Dred and her champion, Jael, wage a bloody guerilla war of chaos and carnage against impossible odds. But no matter how dire the outlook, the Dread Queen never backs down…
Ah, I’m so glad to be back in the Conglomerate system with Ann Aguirre’s five dollar words and no held punches. I’ve missed it.
The scope is still small, as the prison ship Perdition continues to contain our lively group of misfit protagonists. They still have two opposing territories to worry about attacks from, Mungo’s cannibals and Silence’s tongueless assassins (and the alien faction that lives in the underbelly, but they’re not one for petty battles). Yet, the opening of the book is full of laser fire and a docking ship full of mercenaries armed to the teeth. It’s clear that this is a much larger threat to everyone aboard than the squabbles for territory and supplies.
The protagonist circle has widened out a bit, including many more of the characters on board. The aliens, as allies, are fleshed out some more. Jael has some feels about the local Ithorian. There are also more back stories to be had from existing characters, remaining varied and interesting yet all ending up in the same place.
Dred is maintaining her tenuous hold on her kingdom, her persona as the Dread Queen starting to wear on her. The crazy stunts she’s now required to pull off are assisted by Jael’s blood transfusion, imbibing her with some of his abilities. We’re still not sure of the extent that her mental gift reacts with the new strength and healing, but as it stands she seems to be becoming a berserker. Which, is AWESOME. Way better reason to black out than Anita Blakes, eh?
Jael is still Dred’s champion and lover, their bond growing ever tighter through everything they’ve been through. He’s having a lot of feelings, which is good. It means he’s settling down and not being such a ruthless dillhole.
Tam has a larger part to play in this book, leaving to scout with his new lover Martine at every opportunity. We’re still not sure where he came from or why he was sent to Perdition, but I’d really like to know. Out of everyone, he is the most mysterious.
New to the point of view ring is Vost, the mercenary leader hired to clean out Perdition of its residents in order for the ship to be reappointed and used as something else. Despite misgivings, ample squad death and a mutiny, he isn’t about to give up the huge chunk of cash waiting for him if he can pull off the mission.
The action in this book doesn’t stop. As with the last book, it starts from the very first page. Yet, this book goes above and beyond that which came before it. If they aren’t doing reconnaissance missions full of acrobatics and death, they’re having sexy downtime in their bunk. Even the discussions this time are riddled with excitement as characters reveal their sordid pasts.
Overall, I loved it. I love Ann Aguirre’s gritty science fiction universe as it taught me that sci fi can be about a lot more than stuffed shirt politics and epically large space battles. If any of you know any books in a similar vein to these novels and the Sirantha Jax ones, please tell me. I would love to read more sci-fi that doesn’t instantaneously dull me.