Rollicking space opera starring a tough, sexy, armor-clad space chick who smells like rotten meat.
So, anyway, thinks the massive, claw-endowed dude who ought to be Deviana Morris’ mortal enemy. Devi, as she’s known, returns the compliment. “There are four space-faring races in the known galaxy: humans, aeons, lelgis, and xith’cal,” she mutters—adding that the last are “always dangerous.” So what’s an 8-foot-tall xith’cal doing aboard their ship? Well, therein hangs a tale. Devi is an accomplished sleep-arounder, tough and cynical, though capable of melting a bit in the arms of the right space guy; when she’s not, she is most definitely kicking butt and, thanks to her ability to speak Universal, taking names out in space. She’s also got a secret weapon, namely, “Custom Verdemont master craft knight’s armor,” which is a bigger deal than it might seem. Bach, aka Rachel Aaron, a much-published fantasy/science fiction author best known for her Legend of Eli Monpress series, does a nice job of painting a scenario that, if familiar—think the space marines of the Alien franchise or the motley crew of Firefly—allows her plenty of room for action. And action aplenty is what she delivers, with lots of variegated blood and memorable characters, major and minor. Devi is the most complete of them, but New Agers, for instance, will thrill at Novascape Starchild, a groover who utters oracular sayings such as “[t]here is no top or bottom in space. We are all exactly where we are meant to be.” And where we’re meant to be is tucked inside our armored long johns blasting xith’cal.
Lots of fun.