Hardboiled Dames and Bugtech: God’s War by Kameron Hurley (2011)

God's War by Kameron HurleyAmazon / Baen Webscription / Author’s Site

4/5 stars

God’s War takes place on a brutal desert planet with a centuries-long holy war fought between Muslim colonists. It makes Herbert’s Arrakis seem like a nice place to retire. It’s a world filled with a black-market organ trade, underground boxing rings, and writhing insects that enable magicians to put bodies back together.

As most of the boys die for the war, it’s dames like Nyx that run the town. She and her team of bounty hunters are on the hunt for an alien with knowledge that could end the holy war, and they clash against competing factions who want Nyx dead.

I really enjoyed this book, it combines acid-gun-wielding action with nuanced world building on the dimensions of sex, race, and religion. It first eases the reader into Nyx’s world of boxing rings and assassinations and then launches turns into an epic thriller. The hardboiled prose and dystopian world can sometimes get too heavy, but thankfully some black humour emerges when least expected.

While most of the spotlight is on Nyx, the other members of the five-man band are well developed and break out of the typical SF tropes. I like how the magician is underpowered and the muscle is a woman with a skill set that brings to mind the “specialization is for insects” Heinlein quote. Their experiences as refugees and immigrants are also integrated into the narrative with an authenticity that I’ve never seen before in SF.

I highly recommend this book. If any of you are familiar with Mieville’s Perdido Street Station, God’s War has similar strengths and weaknesses with regards to plot–although it has a better ending. I’m eagerly awaiting for the sequel and other works that Hurley will produce next.

You might like this if you like…
William Gibson, China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station, Sigourney Weaver in the Aliens franchise, Fallout with the bloody mess trait.

Skitter, skitter.

About Caroline Cryonic

Formerly known as Frida Fantastic. A speculative fiction book blogger from Vancouver, Canada currently living in Quezon City, Philippines.

Posted on April 6, 2011, in 4 stars, Ebook Reviews, Fallout bloody mess trait, Frida Reviewed, God's War, Hardboiled and Noir, Kameron Hurley, muslim lesbian boxers, Science fiction, Sigourney Weaver and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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