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