Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review: Fortune's Pawn

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.

Here's the set up--kick ass merc with more ambition then sense at times signs on with a Cursed ship in order to kickstart a career that will eventually lead to the most elite unit known. Merc doesn't ask too many questions at first (except 'really? this is a cursed ship?'), but as mysteries start to pile up to life-threatening levels, merc has a choice between their ambition and their life.

The merc? A late 20something female who works hard (top of the line customized armor, customized weapons, skills that make most men weep), plays hard (I think she could outdrink an elephant) and isn't above insubordination to get her job done correctly.

The ship? A hunk of junk that maybe offers more space then most merc outfits, but falling apart at the seams is a pretty accurate description of it.

The crew? A crazy captain, unbelievable ship's cook (who's sexy but impossibly strong), impossible ship's doctor and a creepy kid with serious OCD issues.

The job? Work security detail on a ship with one sworn enemy of humanity, a cook who can out strong-arm Devi while fully suited up, a flighty mechanic and oh yeah that pesky little thing of the captain running schemes within schemes and possibly using his security detail as cannon fodder.

The reward? Manage to stay a live for a year and just maybe Devi will get an opportunity to join the Devestators--an elite armored unit that serves the Sacred King himself directly. Of course she'll need her sanity intact for that too.

This is very clearly hard scifi. There's a lot of technobabble, science babble, alien babble and world babble to make any scifi nerd happy. And I admit that sometimes I got lost in the talk. Here's the thing--Devi is just as (if not moreso) engaging and relatable as Bach's alter-ego's wise-cracking thief Eli Monpress. Whether she's waxing poetic about her beautiful weapons (which all have names--Sasha, Mia, Phoenix), lovingly caring for her armor suit, puzzling out the mystery of Rupert (which trying to fight her inappropriately timed lust) or wondering if her sanity is worth her life's ambition, Devi is AWESOME.

She's stubborn, impractical and justifiably arrogant and I love her to pieces. I want to hang out with her (even if I'd probably wind up dead). I want to hire her to protect me (even though I would likely wind up in debt to my ears AND dead). And I really want to go drinking with her (even though I would likely wind up with alcohol poisoning then dead). She doesn't ignore the fact she's putting her ambition above her common sense or caution. Nor does she make excuses for why she does what she does. She apologizes--if she's truly in the wrong (which is only determined by her).

And then of course there's everyone else. The rest of the cast are entertaining, though I wasn't half as interested in them as Devi. Maybe Ren, since she represented a huge chunk of the puzzle and definitely had interest in Rupert.

So bring on Books 2 and 3 - somehow I think Devi can handle it (even if she doesn't think she can).