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Review: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach

Review: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach
Series: Paradox #1
Published by Orbit
Published on: November 5 2013
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
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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.


On the off-chance anyone hasn’t gotten the memo yet: A-L-I-E-N-S<——I love ’em.

This is partially b/c when my grandmother (who I stayed with instead of going to daycare) wasn’t reading me fairy tales, I was watching PBS specials on the ocean or OUTER SPACE.

Which is why when I was in first grade and got asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “Astronaut.”

That not panning out didn’t make me bitter . . . It made me friggin’ love A-L-I-E-N-S.

I love good aliens, I love humans triumphing over bad aliens . . . I would totally be one of the idiots holding a sign and screaming for the aliens to beam me up should a spaceship ever appear in our atmosphere.

And one will someday, I can FEEL it.

I think the appeal lies in the infinite possibilities. It’s also what makes Science Fiction so much fun. It’s SCIENCE, so it could totally happen one day, but it’s also FICTION, so it’s free to stretch the bounds of credulity.

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach embraces both of those ideals beautifully.

Devi Morris is a seriously kick-ass female. Raised in a military society, she wants nothing more than to serve in the most elite company in existence. Trouble is, even though Devi is as hardcore as they come, she doesn’t have the experience. Doesn’t want to wait the standard 10 years to get it either. So she acts on a tip from a friend in the know, and signs on for a year-long stint on a notorious trade vessel.

IF Devi survives her contract, she has it on good authority that the right people will be impressed.

From the beginning, it’s more than obvious that things on the Glorious Fool aren’t exactly what they seem. It doesn’t make sense that a simple trader would have such a high turnover rate for security officers (“turnover” is a euphemism for DEAD), and some of the crew are clearly keeping secrets . . . But Devi is determined to keep her nose out of not-her-business—there is a giant pit full of inquisitive mercenaries somewhere, and Devi doesn’t want to jeopardize her future.

She does want to kick A-L-I-E-N ass.

And she gets to. Often. Her most frequent target is the pirating, insect (of course) breed of alien. They live in “hive” ships. They’re basically giant, sentient exoskeletons, so killing them is virtually impossible (requires a between-the-eyes shot).

So how do Paradoxians like Devi compensate for being so outclassed?

Really cool armor, that’s how.

Devi used two entire years’ salary to purchase her own (rather than just using whatever her employer hands out) armor. She can put it on in 19 seconds flat. The individual pieces lock together in such a way that there are virtually no vulnerabilities. It makes her stronger, faster, acts on its own to prevent injury if she’s getting slung around. If she somehow does manage to get injured, it takes measures to prevent further injury—seals off wounds, injects with adrenaline, etc. The visor of her helmet constantly scrolls all kinds of information, and can zoom onto targets at just a thought from the wearer.

It’s like wearing an incapable of speech Night Rider car (KITT)<——pret-ty dang cool.

But the most impressive part of this book is it’s consistency.

Devi’s priority is ALWAYS meeting her career goals. She may get distracted momentarily, but she always realizes it quickly, and immediately makes adjustments. My #1 character pet peeve is waffling. LOATHE it. And not only is Devi consistent, ALL of the other characters are too.

The nonstop action is also a major selling point. Something is always happening, and that something is relevant to the overall plotline—none of the action is superfluous; it all serves a purpose.

But what is that purpose?

Well, I have a pretty good idea, but I can’t tell you for certain yet.

Which brings me to the one and only reason that I am glad to be behind the pack in reading this series—CLIFFHANGER ending. But never fear, the series has already concluded with all installments available to you at the click of a button (oh, how I LOVE the electronic age).

So yeah, this book ends in a cliffy, and it is a doozy. There are also unanswered questions, but the kinds of unanswered questions that are typical of a first-in-series, not the type that have you scratching your head, trying to figure out what in the bloody heck is going on. Like I said, I have a good idea about that, I just don’t know to what end yet, but I’m not supposed to, so it’s cool.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely. I would recommend it to anyone who loves heroines of the kick-ass persuasion, scifi, A-L-I-E-N-S, and all of that with a nice dash of romance. Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach is an excellent start to what I am convinced is an excellent series.

Jessica Signature

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.



  1. The best part about the cliff hanger ending of this book it how fast the series came out. It was completely one by the time the first book dropped so us in on it from the beginning only had to wait a few months each shot.

    And if you know where the story is going you are better than me, that first book left me in the dark. But maybe your A-L-I-E-N obsession gives you some insight, no?

    • A few months is definitely better than a few years, but no months is better still 😉

      And yes, it had to be my alien obsession, b/c as soon as she was bitten I new what was what, and everything that happened after that just added detail. A-L-I-E-N obsessions are good for something!

  2. Hehe, I’m not a big fan of aliens but I can appreciate it when it’s done well. Great review! 🙂

    • My parents raised me on Star Trek and Star Wars so a love of aliens was kind of inevitable 😉

  3. I love your reviews Jessica, they are always so much fun to read!

    I am so glad you had fun with this one.

    • Thank you! I’m glad they’re fun for you, and this yes, this book was definitely fun for me 😉

  4. Do you watch Ancient Aliens? That show fascinates me completely. This book sounds like fun, though…

    • No, but now I’m going to! And this book IS fun. And awesome. And A-L-I-E-N-S 😉

  5. LOL–like wearing K.I.T. That cracks me up! I loved Devi as a character–should I ever get into trouble, I’d want Devi and her Lady Gray backing me up. I highly enjoyed this entire series! Totally binge-worthy.

    • Can you imagine? It would be EPIC. And yes, if I were team captain, Devi and Lady Grey would definitely be my first pick. I am binge-reading these even as we speak!

  6. I don’t do much science fiction, for some reason I’m not a big fan of it, but you really have curious about this one, maybe this could be the one that turns me.
    Thank you Jessica 🙂

    • If there was ever one that could do it, this would be it! Thank YOU 🙂

  7. Where can I get armor like that? Too cool! I love aliens too. Grew up on Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galatica, and all the rest. I love picking these up for my off-genre breaks 😀 So gotta go grab it! Thanks Jessica!

    • It really is great, Traci! I love all of those too. Except Battlestar Galatica. For some reason I never watched those. BUT I have watched Stargate and Farscape, and Battlestar Galatica is on Netflix, I think, so I’ll have to remedy that. BUT make sure you have time to read the first two b/c the cliffy in book 1 is KILLER 😉

  8. I want a KITT armor for my constant battles that occur inside my house! Take that house-cleaning! LOL. I love science fiction as well and alien and kick ass heroines like Ellen Ripley (Aliens) Will check this series out for sure. Thanks Jessica : )

    • You are welcome! And yes, wouldn’t that be lovely? I think you’ll definitely like this if you love all of those things. Devi is fabulous!

  9. I also wanted to be an astronaut!! After some years I realized it’ll be impossible so I consoled myself getting a pilot license. 🙂
    I’m pretty sure if someday and alien ship comes to earth we will end up meeting in there. Beam me up Scotty!
    I couldn’t agree more with your review, Devi is a kickkass heroine and this book is made of awesome.

    • SO fun! I don’t have my pilot’s license, but my husband does. He tried to teach me, and that didn’t go so well, LOL.

      And, YES! I will meet you on that roof top! Hooray! for awesome alien books to pass the time with until then 😉

  10. gah I love Aliens as well lol wanted to go to outer space when I was little too! Was quiet fascinated with it! I think I need to read this one.

    • Aliens are awesome. I either wanted to go to outer space or the bottom of the ocean. Scientists need to step up! This needs to happen, LOL.

      Yes, I definitely think you need to read this one. ALL lovers of aliens and space should 😉

  11. Nice! You know I enjoyed these books a lot, so I’m actually sitting here giddy over your review while reading it 😛

    Devi does indeed kick so much ass. I hope you’ll like the rest of the trilogy 😀

    • I was a bit worried at the beginning of book 2—I really don’t do creepy kids, but I pushed through it to more awesomeness! Now I just need to read book 3 . . .

  12. You had me at ALIENS and nice dash of romance!!! My dad would always watch Star Trek reruns when I was growing up and since he thought it was the best show on the planet…that’s what I watched too! 😉 So this book appeals to me GREATLY. Stunning review as always my friend!!! ♥
    PS: I hate waffling too! 😉

    • Then you will LOVE this Cristina! It is pure scifi awesomeness. Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate, Farscape—LOVE all of them 😉 Thank you!!

      And yes . . . waffling is the WORST. “I’m a strong heroine. But I love him, so I’ll let him take control. No wait, I’m strong again. Oh, but his smile is so pretty.” GAH. Stop it! Not a problem here (thank goodness).

  13. I didn’t know that you love aliens but I’m glad I got the memo. 😛

  14. Not my kind of read, not into aliens except in movies and TV.. anyways, I was in yer neck o the woods this Monday. Went to see them fishies then headed back. Need to spend time exploring Chatanooga, your town is so purrty!

    • DUDE! You should have told me!! I could have met you for lunch at Rembrants in the Bluff View Art District (it’s right friggin’ next to the aquarium!) and they have pastries and desserts TO DIE FOR. Downtown Chat is fabulous!

  15. Sounds pretty cool 🙂 But the cover looks kind of, well cheap

    • Yeah, the covers are LAME. All three of them. I think they used the same pic . . . Book is cool though 😉

  16. I love your enthusiasim for Aliens. They scare the crap out of me and I hope none come to visit any time soon 🙂 I do enjoy a good cliffhanger if the next book is already out lol

    Not sure if this would be a book for me but I do love your review!!!

    • Thank you! Sadly, Aliens are not for everyone . . . sigh 😉 Some aliens scare the crap out of me too. Prometheus—no me gusta. No me gusta at ALL. And yes, I enjoy a good cliffhanger if the next book is already out too, LOL.

  17. *ha* I wanted to be an astronaut, too, Jessica! 🙂 Fortune’s Pawn sounds incredible. I love a kickass heroine and the premise for this is fantastic. Also, I have to admit that the series being already complete is a plus since there’s a cliffhanger. 😉 Excellent review!

    • I know! Isn’t it wonderful when you stumble across a really great series, it’s already complete, AND there aren’t like 10 or 12 books to read? This series is perfect like that 😉

  18. Great review Jessica, now you have me wanting to read this series as well.

  19. Awesome review! I’m a sci-fi geek so this sounds like something I’d like. Who doesn’t love a kick ass heroine taking on aliens?! I think I contemplated being an astronaut when I was young, until I saw the movie ALIEN….LOL I’ll be giving this one a try for sure Jessica. 😉

    • Excellent! This is a book ALL sci-fi geeks should read. And sadly, I wanted to be an astronaut right up until I had to get glasses, LOL. Oh well . . . I don’t think I’d be very keen on space diapers, so maybe it’s just as well 😉 And don’t even talk to me about Alien. I saw Prometheus when it came out . . . *shudder*

  20. haha – I’m glad the creepy kid stuff didn’t turn you off too much and yes she is so amazingly kick ass and her armor is so amazing that I just gobbled up and loved every minute of it!

    • The creepy kid stuff didn’t bother me until book 2! But I pushed through it like you demanded, I mean encouraged 😉 and it was fine. I loved it too!

  21. I love coming to read your reviews and know that you are going to make me laugh! I can just see you and your sign!! Chanting into the sky! lol
    The plot and characters have me intrigued and I can see you have your owm pedictions. Hope you don’t wait too long for the next book!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

    • You can see it b/c it’s very likely to happen 😉 And nope! No waiting. All of the books are out, I just have to plow through them<——YAY.

  22. lol – I can just imagine you in that scene of Independence Day! I tend to like sci-fi books like this more than fantasy, even though I read a lot more fantasy. Go figure. And I do love a kick-ass heroine!

    • Kick-ass heroines are the BEST. And if you like sci-fi, you should definitely give this series a chance. It. Is. Fabulous.

  23. So we have aliens!! Sign me in. I love all books that are set out in a different world and this one seems great. I also like kick-ass heroines so this books seems great. Great review, Jessica 🙂

    • Thanks, Tanja 😉 And yes! We have different worlds! We have a kick-ass heroine! And we have A-L-I-E-N-S ftw!

  24. Man, the heroine sounds freaking badass! Definitely want to read it at some point 😀
    I better make sure I have both the first and second books on hand when I get round to reading it though lol

    • Yes, you definitely need to have both and the time to read them both before you begin! Way to plan, Nara 😉 And the heroine is as badass as they come. LOVE it.

  25. This sounds awesome!!! I think I forgot how much I LOVE sci-fi but I never find it!!! I still need to read Grimspace by Aguire (UGH!). Have you ever read Kenyon’s sci-fi series??? I’m a HUGE fan!!! Hmm, I should get caught up on that one.

    Dang, I’m completely digressing today – I blame the head cold *aaaaachooooo*

    I seriously love how you write!! Numero uno fan here *waves hands in air like she just don’t care… ouch!*

    …. damn, drugs are wearing off 😀 Go watch Ancient Aliens, seriously. I laughed it off at first and then I was like hmmmm….

    • It is awesome, and if you love sci-fi, you MUST read these—SO good. And I have read Kenyon’s series, but I’m behind on those . . . I still preorder them in paperback though, so I just need to actually read them. I’m probably 3 books behind by now, but I do love them, so it’s only a matter of time. And thank you, Kristin *blushes* I love your reviews too! Will also watch Ancient Aliens. B/c aliens 😉

  26. I’m a little mixed about Sci-fi books, and I usuallt stay away from them but I keep hearing amazing things about this book and my friend loved it as well. I confess that with your review as well I’m pretty curious and I think I’ll have to discover the novel. Plus kicking Alien’s ass sounds fun! Thanks for the review Jessica!

    • Kicking alien ass is SO much fun! I hope you do give these a try some time, Melliane. I know sci-fi isn’t your favorite, but maybe this will be one of the few you like 😉

  27. I totally love the sound of Devi and appreciate strong, kick-ass take no prisoners heroines. Yeah..I love aliens too Jessica, and this blending of science-fiction, fantasy and suspense has me excited. Awesome review :).

    • Thank you! And yes, this book is a perfect blend of all of those things. I just loved it. I want my own robot armor . . . 😉

  28. I haven’t read many sci-fi books but I do love a good kick-ass heroine!!! I can tell you got totally absorbed into this book 🙂 I can totally see you wanted that armor *tee hee*
    Great to know all the books have been released!

    • It is great the books are all released, and YES! Gimme that armor! 😉

  29. Seriously? You like aliens? No way. Well add that and a kick ass heroine and I am in

    • No, no . . . I love A-L-I-E-N-S. And if aliens + kick ass heroine is what you want, then yes, you are definitely in 😉

  30. This is something I definitely would not have ventured out to read on my own but now I’m really interested. Science fiction is a tough genre for me but I have to admit this was sounds amazing. The MC sounds genuinely kick ass, which I love, and aliens are always fun. Although I prefer zombies 😉

    • LOL! Zombies are the one thing I avoid at almost any cost! But I completely agree—sci-fi can be a tough genre. Especially it it’s a space opera/military thing (those can get very tiresome, very quickly). But this was action-packed and a quick read and I loved it. And yes, Devi is 100% kick ass 😉

  31. This is where I dance around the campfire and go I TOLD YOU SO! Heeee. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, all of us at TMG are huge fans. Well, Kate’s review of the last one has me a bit worried, but she really didn’t like the romance from the get go and I didn’t mind it, so….

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    • You did 😉 You did tell me so! But I’m kind of worried about the last book too. Not b/c I didn’t like the romance, but b/c I did . . . up until he did that Bad Thing. Now I don’t know . . . we’ll see, I guess. I’m supposed to buddy read it this weekend, so I won’t have to wait for too long. *crosses fingers*

  32. Aliens are pretty damn awesome. I don’t read good alien books too often. And Devi sounds kickass. She is so my kind of MC. I will look into this one.

    • Aliens ARE pretty damn awesome. I hope you do look into this one, b/c Devi is pretty damn awesome too 😉

  33. We’re totally the same in that respect, Jessica. I love reading about anything that’s related to Outer Space. It’s this other-worldliness, it’s the fact it’s full of possibilities, that makes this subject matter and everything in it so wonderful and fascinating. It’s my dream to be reincarnated one day (if it exists) in a world where intergalactic and interstellar travel is possible, because I just want to see more of this universe we live in 😀

    With that said, I am totally reading this. I AM I AM I AAAAM!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

    • Yes! We can travel intergalactically TOGETHER. It will be awesome 😉

      • Have you a PS2/PS3? You should totally play Star Ocean: Till the end of time and Star Ocean: The Last Hope 😀 They’re RPG following a bunch of characters cross the universe. The sci fi aspects are spectaculaaar.

      • I don’t. I play WoW and that’s about it 🙁 Blizzard’s got a sci-fi game too, but I don’t know much about it.

  34. You had me at ‘aliens’, and half lost me at ‘cliffy’, lol. This sounds like a fabulous read, but I’m definitely giving it time to have at least the second out. One of my OCD reading needs, lol.

    As a sidenote, I wonder why bugs so often inspire the alien races in stories. Ever notice that? I mean, they are freaky as all hell, and just considering them in a bigger size than they are…*shudders* Maybe our sixth sense is telling us the aliens are already here, lol, in the form of these bugs crawling around.

    Anyways, awesome review, and I’m definitely checking this title out!

    • DOLLFACE! This books are ALL out. I hate cliffys too 😉

      B/c bugs are scary and creepy and awful. I mean think about it—a big bug is maybe the size of your thumb, and I don’t know about you, but I see a bug that big and I’m shrieking like I’m dying. A bigger-than-me bug? I can’t even . . . maybe it’s subconscious aliens-are-among-us, or maybe it’s something that we ALL fear . . . either way, no bueno.

      Thanks, Livia! I hope you like it 😉

      • Iiiih, contemplating the bugs gave me the brainfart effect, lol!!! I thought this was out 2014!! Well, totes just bought all 3 of them 😀 That’s how I roll, lol. I love it when this happens, and instead of thinking “Gah, must wait, might lose sight of this series, I hate waiting!!” all of a sudden it’s “Three of them out!! Good reads, getting them!! Kyaaaa!!” Friday vibe galore, what can I say…

        Gawd, they’re freaky things. I mean, I get the whole live and let live thing, I’m a total pacifist and all… but if there’s a bug anywhere near me, I want it dead, want its family dead, and death & fire to all of their homes :)) Okay, might be sliiiightly exaggerated, I wouldn’t set fire to their homes…I mean people might burn too… I wouldn’t do it, but I’d visualize it to give myself peace of mind :)) Pacifist to the bone, you can totally tell right? 😀

      • I love it when that happens too. Sometimes I simply cannot wait—favorite author, favorite series, etc., but if I can . . . I do . . . finding out I don’t have to = HEAVEN.

        And I get you. I wrote an entire paper on bugs and why I hate them when I was in school. When I was driving to my sister’s house on Thursday, I saw that a spider had spun its web on my car (from side mirror to somewhere on the driver’s side door), and I was doing 70mph before the freaking thing got torn off. Then when I stopped at a drive-through, I saw the spider still sitting on my side-mirror, just chillin’ IT’S UNNATURAL. Kill them with FIRE 😉

      • Amen, sister! Amen!!

      • LOL!

  35. I like alien books too. Though they can freak me out a bit cause I’m pretty positive that they are out there and I’m just waiting for the day they show their faces.
    This is one I hadn’t heard of before. The cliffie isn’t good, but it’s not TOO big of an issue since the next books are out.

    • Exactly. Best case scenario for a cliffy IMO. And yep—we are not alone in the universe. No way, no how 😉

  36. I appreciate kick-ass heroines and Devi sounds wonderful + I love aliens! this sounds like my kind of read and I’m glad you mentioned the romance {I neeeed romance ;)). Bugger about the cliff-hanger!

    A fabulous review Jessica!

    • But not as bad as it could be b/c the series is finished 😉 Sure, no cliffy is better—let’s you read more at your leisure than making you feel compelled to hurry up and read them ALL, but Devi is awesome enough, that I don’t mind. Thanks, Sharon!

  37. This sounds surprisingly good, actually – I’ll have to check it out.

  38. You know what!?! I don’t believe I have ever read an “alien” book! For shame! I know! Currently I’m working on reading a memoir…eh….it’s not going so hot and wishing I had read your review before adding memoirs to my reading bucket list. Aliens would have probably been more interesting to mark off. 🙂

    • I have read less than a handful of memoirs myself (in my entire life). I’m sure there are good ones out there, but the ones I’ve always been finagled into reading have all been really melancholy. And I don’t like my books to be melancholy. Guess what isn’t melancholy? This book! *snickers* But seriously, I hope you give aliens a chance some time b/c they are awesome 😉

  39. I saw E.T. when I was nine years old. I was terrified — there was nothing fun nor cute about that lumpy little creature. I slept in my parent’s bed for a week. However… I’ve read a few alien books in the last year, and I really enjoyed them. While the cliffy would be a no-no for me, it’s fine since the next installments are available. I think I’m turning a corner and slowly warming to the sci-fi genre, and this wonderful review just landed a new book for me to explore smack dab on my reading list.

    • Yay! I think this is a great book to see if sci-fi is for you. It’s covers all the standard sci-fi bases without being too technical or too horror-like. I’m sorry your first experience with aliens was a negative one, LOL. I was one of the weird kids that was never bothered by things like that—ET . . . flying monkeys . . . didn’t bat an eye 😉 I hope you give this series a shot, and it makes you more interested in the genre as a whole!

  40. This sounds awesome. I don’t read many space stories, but usually enjoy them when I do. The total consistency of the character is a big plus, as is the pronouncable name. Cliffhangers aren’t usually my thing, but if the next book is already available, that makes them so much easier to read.

    • Yes, the pronounceable name is a big bonus, isn’t it? I didn’t even think about that, LOL. And I agree about a series being easier to read if the books are all already out. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many unfinished series I have sitting on my bookshelves b/c I never went back to them after the 6-12 month wait for the next book.