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Fortune's Pawn (Paradox Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 341 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top customer reviews
Devi Morris is a charge-ahead, physical, and ambitious woman, going after what she wants -- often a good fight -- as the stubborn-to-her-last-breath bada$$ she is. She's a bit less intellectual than most characters I'd pick as favorites, and her *usual* attitude toward taking a new lover is certainly more casual than ideal, but that's how she's chosen to live her life, as an elite armored mercenary: "In ten more years, I'll be dead." Still, she has loyalty, honor, and one of my favorite traits: curiosity -- despite the deadly trouble she finds, trying to get some answers about the many mysteries aboard the Glorious Fool.
This book was a delight, as I raced along (even in this, my second reading -- I didn't do a review when I first read it couple years ago) to its terrible, wonderful, that-changes-everything ending. I'm simply left breathless, and very glad that I've finally got ahold of the rest of the trilogy, and don't have to leave things like that for longer than it takes me to finish writing this review (especially since Devi made one decision that means there's no easy way to go back AT ALL).
Rachel Aaron/Rachel Bach proves anew her skill at world-building in this future metier. Devi's Paradoxian society is interstellar but feudal, with the highest standards (and competition/ celebrity) of battle armor juxtaposed with varying depths of worship for their god-king, Devi being one of the faithful. The Terran Republic is clearly very different, with mainly mutual contempt and old enmity flavoring their dealings. Then there are the other major races: the ostrich-like aeons, including the GF's testy navigator; the fierce, reptilian xith'cal, whose culture is divided between huge male warriors and female techs/administrators -- but all of whom happily capture and eat other sentients; and the lelgis, psionic, toxic jellyfish/squid-types, mainly made of plasmex -- "the flow of power at the heart of all life", as naïve sensors operator Novascape Starchild explains when her religion is revealed to be more than just spacey nonsense. And that's not to spoiler the crypto-creature[s] Devi encounters!
I haven't said much about her romantic interest, either, because he's a "riddle wrapped inside an enigma", and I want to stay spoiler-free, but in case I wasn't clear before, the happy ending won't come until they've earned it the hard way, at the end of the series.
Devi Morris doesn’t want her glorious life as a mercenary to end behind a desk. If she had it her way she would go out with her guns blazing. After reaching the highest rank possible, she quits her current job. Her goal now: becoming a part of the elite Devastators—a unit of armored fighters tasked with the most dangerous and important jobs on Paradox. Unfortunately for Devi, the Devastators only take the most experienced fighters, and even though she has received more commendations than many will ever see in a career, she still needs at least ten more years of experience behind her.
Still, there may be a way to fast track the process. A security detail job on a trade ship may just offer Devi her goal. Captain Caldswell’s ship Glorious Fool is purported to be cursed. Known for getting into copious amounts of trouble en route, just one year on the Fool could put Devi more in the running for a Devastator position than anything else. Once Devi learns this, she’s in. The question of why Caldswell’s ship “goes through security teams like tissue paper”doesn’t faze her. Even when the rumors appear to be coming true, Devi is determined to stick things out. It seems she’ll be in for one hell of a year.
Reading the character of Devi immediately called to mind Ellen Ripley from the Alien series. Both characters are strong heroines who know how to take charge, make difficult decisions, and fight their way out of tough situations. Although, I’d have to say I believe Devi to be more on the stubborn side and she definitely anticipates the fight more. Maybe I would relish the fight too if I could wear battle armor that gives added strength, height, the ability to handle certain weapons, etc. This kind of armor is customary for mercenaries on Paradox, but to say that Devi holds her suit as sacred is putting it lightly.
I can’t begrudge Devi her stubbornness, seeing as how she’s thrust into an uncertain situation. As the story progresses and more and more strange occurrences keep happening, Devi becomes more focused to find out exactly what Captain Caldswell is involved in. She doesn’t know who she can trust, although the ship’s cook, Rupert, looks like a good bet—that is until his friendship with Caldswell, as well as Rupert being tasked with baby-sitting the captain’s strange daughter, makes Devi doubt who Rupert is too.
Still, Rachel Bach wrote an interesting beginning to a relationship between Rupert and Devi. It’s Rupert’s mysteriousness that ultimately kept me on the edge of whether or not I would want them to get together. Over the course of the book, I warmed up to the idea more, but by the end decisions had to be made that will affect Devi going forward in the series, and if anything, I’m interested to see what comes of it.
As a whole Fortune’s Pawn had some slow contemplative moments (usually when Devi was thinking through recent revelations), but they were all interspersed equally with fast action and fighting sequences which kept the story from becoming too tedious. This is the beginning of a trilogy (all released thankfully!) so that means for every answer Devi gets, there are as many questions left open. I’m ok with that. I know Devi’s here to fight, and I’m happy to go along on the ride with her.
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I'm always hungry for good space opera, and Rachel Bach certainly delivered!Read more
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