Review and links if you want explanation on the references and the like at rew up in the 80s when fantasy fiction largely meant the Lord of the Rings esue fantasy world or the parallel worlds fantasy the same fantasy setting juxtaposed with the real world It wasn t until much later that I understood most of the fantasy settings I read were based on a highly sanitized Western medieval framework Do I hear George Costanza in the background saying not that there s anything wrong with that I ve found that those familiar types of settings and stories no longer hold my interest to the same degree I live in a world that is broader complicated and importantly has even stories to offer that reflect different cultures and perspectives The most satisfying stories have echoed that philosophy stretching Integral Biomathics genre conventions drawing upon a wider range of cultural traditions and bridgingenres God s War has earned a place on my shortlist of fantasy books that are able to successfully breathe fresh air into the fantasy enre Nyxnissa is a bel dame echoing the Belle Dame sans Merci who has made her living as an assassin for the overnment of Nasheen hunting down the men who have deserted posts at the war front She s fallen on hard times however and also works as a bounty hunter bringing in thieves or those dealing in illegal ene trading Lately she s doing a bit of that black market ene transporting as well After serving a prison sentence she Beyond the Snows of the Andes gives up the independent work and recruits a crew When Nyx is called to the palace by the ueen she and her team areiven a job they can t refuse hunting down an alien woman who has disappeared likely into the enemy territory of Chenja Rhys is a magician and immigrant from Chenja where women wear the veil and men are head of household When Nyx is recruiting for her team Rhys agrees to work with herThe plotting says heist but the setting says Middle East in space It seems this world began centuries ago when it was settled by colonists from another world Their world is at the edge of the space routes and as they ve elected not to modernize their spaceport off world visitors are rare leaving the colonists isolated For over a century Nasheen and Chenja have been at war Although very different culturally they share a similar religious foundation all consider themselves People of the Book being ill versed in world religions I only thought of People of the Book not of the ermane monotheistic Abrahamic religions This is one book I would have benefited by reading on Kindle with Wikipedia at hand Nyx disenchantment with her own religion and Rhys dedication to his provide an interesting contrast and social commentary Social and religious divisions are further complicated by a marginalized class of people who have carry shapeshifting enetics She didn t much like the stink and crowd of cities but you could lose yourself in a city a lot easily than you could out in farming communities like Mushirah She had run to the desert and the cities for anonymity And to die for GodNone of that had worked out very wellNasheen is a matriarchal overnment and culture men are sent off to war and only allowed home if they reach forty Sexuality is open and lesbian relationships are normalized although male homosexuality is still somewhat hidden I was half expecting the Women s Studies 1o1 version of matriarchy but instead Hurley is far nuanced Male or female everyone has mixed motives varied upbringings and ethics or lack thereof drive them towards their decisions As is often noted everyone is fighting the war in their own way The preponderance of bugs in the magicians uarters made his blood sing as if he was attuned to a bit of everything able to touch and manipulate pieces of the world He felt alive here than he had anywhere else in his life among those who spent their days coming up with new and interesting ways to kill his peopleThen there are the bugs a world building aspect that takes the story to a whole new level of uniueness Some people magicians have the ability to manipulate the bugs and their energy Some of the technology is hybrid organic and the bugs play a role in powering vehicles lighting rooms and in healing Magicians are the only men ranted an exception to serving at the war frontIt s a complicated set up with a non English foundations and Hurley doesn t handhold I thought it flowed reasonably well iven the range of components but it was the kind of wind that pushes you a little harder making for an exhilarating sail The first forty pages are virtually an independent short story the development of the larger plot comes later with roots in the prologue The story works in the China Mi ville sense and I m thinking of Embassytown here so take that for what it s worth people who don t read much in sci fi or fantasy may wish for explanation and those who have little tolerance for ender dynamics might find themselves irritated I thought the relatively straightforward plot balanced the complicated setting and ethical issues nicely It was engrossing interesting and occasionally melancholic Nyx is truly a belle dame sans merci she has a very bloody culturally sanctioned job but her lack of compassion also extends to herself It reminded me of the torturer Glokta in Abercrombie s The First Law series or the lead in Best Served Cold It provides an avenue for compassionate development of a deeply flawed humanWithout doubt God s War deserves its Nebula nomination as well as the Arthur C Clarke and British Sci Fi Association nominations That said I m not sure everyone would enjoy it But if you are looking for complicated unusual fantasy with a fast moving plot Inventing the Future give this a try I ll certainly be moving on to the next in the seriesInfidelFour and a half bloody stars Orson Scott Card talks a lot in his How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy about exposition and about how science fiction and fantasy readers react to it with different expectations than nonenre readers Roughly summarized his point is that if you open a story with She mounted her Understanding Women graazchak an experiencedenre reader will think Huh Okay there s a creature called a raazchak and it can be ridden I ll keep that in mind and keep an eye out for information about what it looks like and what it does Someone who mostly reads literary fiction on the other hand is likely to react A raazchak What the hell is a Verdammt verliebt graazchak Does the author expect me to know andrind to a haltI am definitely an experienced The Way Between the Worlds (The View from the Mirror, genre reader and I actively seek out that sense of I don t know what soing on but I m sure I ll piece it together Inverloch Volume 4 given time God s War provides it over and over again from its politics to its bug based tech to its characters backstories In places though the exposition is a little too rough even for me Sometimes it s small things like the interchangeable use of sister for both Nyx s sister by birth and the other bel dames in the opening chapter If they d consistently been oh I don t knowene sisters and blood sisters I would have noted the terms assumed they d be defined later and forged onward Instead I found myself flipping backward trying to work out whether there were two different categories at all Other times it s bigger things like the timeskip after the opening chapters which left me feeling lost and unanchored in time lacking any clearly defined markers I couldn t see how Nyx and Rhys s timelines were supposed to alignBut I figured it out eventually and once the story The Good and Beautiful God gotoing the exposition ot smoother Though there were a few places where it erred in the other direction with info dumps Taite s backstory comes to mind here That let me spend time admiring the uniueness of the world and than anything the characters And I fell in love Nyx Rhys Taite Khos Inaya they are all horribly broken and horribly flawed and I can t look away I love that their flaws are not sexy flaws no too uick to anger in the face of injustice or a dark and brooding loner here and that the narrative never flinches from them from Nyx s lack of intell. Nyx had already been to hell One prayer or less wouldn't make any difference On a ravaged contaminated world a centuries old holy war rages fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries magicians and conscripted soldiers Though the.
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Asically it s a debut and it interested and annoyed me in shifting proportions I felt much cheerful about it when I realized that I don t really want to read the next two books in this trilogy But I really do want to read Hurley s sixth or seventh book somewhere around there because she s ot something here and I really want to know what it s oing to row up to be I picked this up after reading the first few sentences onlineNyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen on the edge of the desertDrunk but no longer bleeding she pushed into a smoky cantina just after dark and ordered a pinch of morphine and a whiskey chaser She bet all of her money on a boxer named Jaks and lost it two rounds later when Jaks hit the floor like an antiue harem The Horse in Celtic Culture girlThat is a kick ass entry to a story if you ask me Hang on this is a long reviewThis isscience fiction adventure noir maybe It s a world of mostly post apocalyptic Muslims of varying degrees of recognizability in which most technology is driven by insects Yes Also the two major nations of the planet have been at war forever and partly as a result of this women have come to dominate society Menet drafted as boys and sent to the front and women volunteer to fight too But on the home front at least in the country where we spend the most time women are soldiers and politicians and businesspeople and pretty much everything else They re also brutal to each other the main pastime seems to be boxing and just about every woman we meet has some violent tendencies or history This isn t a pacifist Hertopia kind of worldThat s one of the things I loved about this book its bold creation of a world where women dominate and where women are socially physically and in all other ways tough and capable Setting aside the fact that this is a world where magicians use bug technology to repair amputations and mortal injuries the women in this world are bad ass Or maybe they re just people It s a sad statement that it s so unusual to read about women in roles that men would usually fill kicking asses and etting their asses kicked but it is unusual And Hurley does a reat job of making her women realI appreciated so many things about this book that the dominant religious ideology was Muslim rather than Christian that the main characters are almost all non white that our antihero Nyx isn t a stick figure and that she doesn t stay pretty There s a phenomenon in novels and movies that feature strong or kick ass women cf Tomb Raider Charlie s Angels Kill Bill Underworld et al let s call it the reasonable facsimile phenomenon It s when authors or directors decide they re Every Boys Dream going to capitalize on a trend provide a strong female role model and they do so by casting a skinny whiteirl in a tank top and telling her to look brooding Usually the reasonable facsimile doesn t have a realistic or profound story arc or much character development if she s a secondary character she may be defined solely by a skill like rock climbing or much to do besides fake fight Starflight Zero guys who would kick her ass in real life because she has wrists like twigs and has clearly come from the Fighting School of Pilates Seriously watching Michelle Rodriguez decline from her tough meaty role in Girlfight to the dumb bullshit action stuff she does nowthat s the reasonable facsimile tragedy right thereBut anyway I loved that this book doesn t dredge up the reasonable facsimile Nyx as a protagonist is thorny and crude and rebarbative she s physically large and strong she carries weight both literally and figuratively She has a full complete character arc a history and presumably a future since this is the first book in a trilogy I admit I didn t follow all the political intrigue in this one but that s me I tend to read lightly over that stuff and dwell in the scenes And it s possible that some of that explanationot a little convoluted in an effort to propel us to the ending I can forgive that because the world of the book is so original and well imagined and because I liked the characters that live in it The second book Infidel just came out in October A third is in the works I have a feeling I ll be reading em I am excited with feminism in SF or Fantasy stories because I can expect a really different way of lifethinking not just fictitious world with people who has same waythinking as oursReading this novel A Succession of Bad Days gave me that Itave exciting to me with Middle East like world building with its well known social politic conflicts Oh I love the settingAnd the main protagonist is one bad ass person She even seems extremely bad ass due to our standard of way of thinking eg she coldly sold her own wombI can t The Multi-Orgasmic Man give 5 star because the the story itself is not exactly match my taste It seems unfair if Iave 5 star to first books of Malazan and First Law but not this debut novel My reasons are The story and characters are too dark and a bit tedious for my taste It does not have enough humor or heart warming dialogues The uote on back cover from SFX mentioned this book as fast pace thriller but for me the story is a bit slowIf you fine with pure dark fantasy o find this novel There is not enough explanation of the magic system of this book but it is common nowadays in a first book of a trilogy Let s hope the second book has magic system explanations Personally I hope the story explains the deviations of the religion traditions on the book with current Islam from Earth So ood I have The Great Passage got to stop judging books by their ratings otherwise I would have never picked this up I can t wait to continue this series I have book 2 and the book of short stories on hold at the library This had everything I loved in a book Uniue world building cool magic system bleak tone unlikable anti heroes except well I really liked them all complicated and complex characters and relationships I loved it On a hardscrabble alien world populated with what humanity becomes in the far future a long holy war rages Both sides have drafted all their men for so manyenerations that the societies left behind have become nearly matriarchal populated by females boys and the very old or damaged men who survived their war service Their planet Night Shade Books the publisher has my number when it comes to whatever it is that catches my eye with cover pictures And then NSB hits my other sensory checkpoints when I pick up a book the books are a The Beast House / After Midnight good size and heft for cradling in the hands or lap the cover material is a nonlossy and yet satiny smooth finish that doesn t preserve unsightly Off Leash (Freelance Familiars Book 1) greasy fingerprints and the pages and print are sturdy and don t smear I was actually hooked by the 2nd in the series for this and another one Infidel and Yarn and found the first for both series so that I could eventually read those 2nd onesWell that was a pointless paragraphThis is a mess of a world Echoes of Dune and Mad Max It s the far future and we re shown a planet that had been inhabited by variousroups of followers of a never named religion although it s obvious which one from the brief brief like skivvies not brief like too short tidbits and descriptions of the cultures But rather than being united by their belief they are suspicious of each other if not outright hostile There s been biological evolution One of the nations has twisted itself about such that women have become dominantThis book follows a woman scarred and actually still bleeding figuratively from a war that has been oing on long enough that its cause has been forgotten or rather I d forgotten it in the course of readingdon t remember oops We see her further downfall skip ahead to years later where she s in a rut but with a loyal team and then the destruction of the team We learn that her brittleness covered pain although only at the very end There s no mass killing off of main characters a la GRRM but there is breaking inside and outThe writing has this fleshy oomph to it enough that I was able to stick to it over the weeks I needed to read it in small limited bites I want to see what comes nex. Al between her overnment and an alien The Life You Save gene pirateoes bad Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery The head they want her to bring home could end the war but at what price The world is about to find out.
Igence too many blows to the head from boxing and Rhys s cowardice and everything elseI love this for not being the story of how they all set aside their differences and work together but instead how their differences tear them apart and keep tearing I love this for telling the story of star crossed lovers Nyx and Rhys kept apart not by external forces but by their own internal beliefs which they have no interest in moving beyond I love this for being different for being new for never taking me where I expectedAlso the bugs are pretty nifty and I say this as someone who shrieks and screams for back up when she sees a spider on the kitchen floor I went through several transformations as I read this novel or four if you include a priori expectations after judging a book by its cover for some weird reason I thought this title would be UF than a Tempting Meredith (Lovers and Friends, gritty SF title that masuerades as a fantasyIt s not really as confusing as I make it out to be Noods are involved in the telling of the tale just a bunch of people who believe in Allah and Jehova in a far future world that seems awfully like the Gaza Strip only filled with Magicians who control bugs by their will and shapeshifters Shifters Traditional military hardware is available everywhere you look too and most of our focus is firmly on a hard as nails normal femaleWe Inside MacPaint get to see her in her youth as a part of an official assassination suad the betrayal and her downfall and her poverty and life as part of a small suad of bounty huntersI had some issue with this The writing was rather sparse when it came to fleshing out each of the characters and it took me a long time to care who each of them were other than Nyx of course And then there were long seuences in the text where I was flooded with names and names and names and very little hook to keep my interest At that point my hopes rested entirely on the brilliant and complex world that was being laid out before me It was absolutely enormous and complex and well thought out My only concerns were with the charactersAnd then I had my first transformation I didn t have a problem with the boxing and the small suad scenes were so so but when Nyx and Iot to spend some time alone the text came alive I shuddered and thanked all the stars in heaven The novel went from burdensome to snappyMy next transformation came when the rest of the characters finally started coming to life through their choices and actions and it took just a little bit too much time to Othello (Shakespeare for Everyone Else, get there but it did and for that I am eternallyrateful The climax was especially personal and rich in both action and characters and at this point I am now a fanboyWorldbuilding kicked this off but eventually the characters carried the day I m not Fit For The Chase; Cars And The Movies going to have any issues picking up and devouring the next books unless I have to start from scratch Who knows It s not like I ve done any research on this series This is my first Kameron Hurley book and I m rather impressed It is rather dense in places and not always an easy read but I can say it is very rich and I m very happy to begin my journey here Nyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen on the edge of the desert The opening line in a book is the author s first impression As a writer I ve definitely found the first and last line a beast toet right Other times those beginning sentences are my favorite It all depends As a reader I will often et a vibe whether I m oing to love a book or not before I even open the cover and read those first lines But damn it can set the mood for sure With God s War I was hooked immediately Tell me the above uote doesn t capture your attentionThat sentence It s just the beginning of an absolutely bonkers story setting the tone for a fucking Luthor Huss glorious post apocalyptic romp The cunt is not the heart though a lot of peopleet the two confused Gritty action packed and UEER AF Don t mind if I doGod s War focuses on Nyxnissa a former Bel Dame Variante, Vol. 2 (Variante, government trained assassin who now works as a freelance bounty hunter with a dysfunctional team of misfits on the planet Umayma Colonized over three thousand years ago by aroup of Muslims known as the First Families it was then divided into various nations with the two largest being Chenja and Nyx s homeworld of Nasheen These arch rivals have been part of a seemingly unending religious war for decades The social political economical and cultural impacts of technology are explored in such a deeply fascinating way Because bugs GENETICALLY ENGINEERED BUGS They drive the planets technology and are used for pretty much everything including weapons and medical proceduresNyx works with an incredibly diverse Managers of Their Homes group of people which just makes this even compelling There s the deeply religious Rhys a failed magician someone who is able to control insects from Chenja Taite the ueer communications hacker his pregnant sister Inaya Khos a conflicted shapeshifter and Anneke an alcoholic weapons expertLiving in a brutal landscape and being products of a relentless war the characters are understandably than a little fucked up They are raw and damaged and morally complexThere s just there s a lotoing on in this relatively short novel and I m not about to blather on about the synopsis The complexity of the story combined with the page count makes it difficult to summarize without Competitive Solutions giving too much awayGod s War is Kameron Hurley s debut novel which just blows my mind It s only her second book that I ve read but I m already a massive fan She has her own way of telling a storyetting her fingerprints all over it creating such vividly realized impressive worldsThis is weird as fuck at times and I think in another writer s hands things could The Payoff Principle go off the metaphorical rails Have no fear Hurley is than capable of keeping this shit on trackThere are some trulyut punchy moments as well as wicked Darkest Night (Birthright, gory ones This is an adventure story about bounty hunters in the not too distant future after all There is a shit ton of blood spilled many heads are chopped off pillaging and rape is common people are killed for being ueer and discriminated against for the color of their skin The worldbuilding is bleak and confronting However never once did I feel as though the brutal violence wasratuitous Hurley manages to tell this aggressive story intelligently in such a real way without making it feel as though it s just a plot device Instead it reads as though it is a plausible enuine future rather than a ploy to try and amp up the raphic acts of violence just becauseTechnology and magic religious extremists and sex positivity diverse characters and 7 Hari Mencintaiku gender politics and creepy crawly bugs Did I mention the out of control bugs SO MANY BUGSGod s War is wacky and wonderful and I m definitely jumping into the seuel soon because I too am arim optimist Bounty hunter and occasional Rich Kids gene pirate takes a job that puts her suarely in the middle of the centuries long internecine religious warInteresting as hell but also frustrating and unsatisfying It would be too obvious to call thisritty so I ll The Perfect Collection go the extra mile and explain that I kept asking uestions of the world building like okay seriously you ve been massacring your populations for a hundred years at the front and yet both societies are still built around sending bodies out to fight Bodies from where And then Hurley told me where the new populationrowth comes from in a nearly casual aside and I went oh swallowed hard and moved on This is a bloody awful world vividly drawn and pretty close to fascinating Unfortunately the character work was done with a much heavier hand and I found myself impatient with a lot of it Also with the Bob Stevenson gender politics this is one of those worlds where women are far likely to survive than men so you have most of the problems of the patriarchy but in reverse plus a few extra That aspect like much of the work regarding the religious conflict itself felt like pieces of machinery put carefully together and then not connected up to anything else I don t know I wanted out of it than IotB. Origins of the war are shady and complex there's one thing everybody agrees on There's not a chance in hell of ending it Nyx is a former overnment assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash But when a dubious de.
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Kameron Hurley is the author of The Light Brigade The Stars are Legion and the essay collection The Geek Feminist Revolution as well as the award winning God’s War Trilogy and The Worldbreaker Saga Hurley has won the Hugo Award Locus Award Kitschy Award and Sydney J Bounds Award for Best Newcomer She was also a finalist for the Arthur C Clarke Award the Nebula Award and the Gemmell Morn