In this science-fiction novel by Rhoads (co-author: As Above, So Below, 2014), one woman seeks revenge against her tormentor.
In the future, humanity has expanded among the stars through settlement, conquest, and genocide. The narrative centers on sexy, lethal Raena Zacari, who, as the story opens, has been entombed alive for 20 years without food, water, or air. She not only survives this ordeal, but she doesn’t seem to have aged—facts that arouse only the barest curiosity. Instead, Raena’s companions Ariel and Sloane are far more intent on getting the newly freed prisoner in bed. Raena indulges them (separately and together) even while she works to track down her old boss Thallian, now in hiding for war crimes. Raena intends to find Thallian and kill him, no matter how many others she takes out along the way. The worldbuilding is sparse, and backgrounds are one-note—a pleasure planet, a water planet. Characters hint at historical events, technological innovations, and political shifts without expanding on them enough for the reader to appreciate them. The writing itself is weak, with too much repetition. The reader is told no fewer than 11 times that Raena wears high-heeled boots, yet the number of planets settled by humans, for example, isn’t mentioned once. (The author would also do well to learn what does and does not constitute a dialogue tag.) The setting is almost entirely incidental, because all the attention is on Raena: first her appeal as a sex object and later, her personal drive for vengeance.
Due to flimsy worldbuilding and an incessant focus on the relationship status of the characters, the novel reads like fan fiction based on a better space opera that isn’t available in this universe.