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Infidel: The Bel Dame Apocrypha Volume 2 Paperback – October 1, 2011
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"Infidel is a well thought-out and intelligent novel, which asks a number of questions and refuses to present easy answers." --SFF Chronicles
"Readers who enjoyed God's War will not be disappointed by Infidel... Infidel is a fast-paced book with a lot of action and smart character moments, mixed with cynical battlefield philosophy. I highly recommend it." - Strange Horizons Magazine
"Hurley's world-building, vivid and blissfully free of infodumps and expository lumps, was one of the great strengths of God's War, and it's a pleasure to return to the fascinating and messed-up world she created -- one especially enjoyable for its ethnically diverse cast and freewheeling remixes of traditional gender roles." --Tor.com
"Often, I find myself reading reviews for second novels before actually reading the first to learn about whether or not it's worth investing in an author. To everyone who reads this - Kameron Hurley is worth investing in... this is ground breaking work and should be recognized..." - Staffer's Musings
About the Author
Kameron Hurley is the award-winning, Nebula nominated author of God's War, Infidel, and Rapture. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Year's Best SF 12, and EscapePod, among others. Visit kameronhurley.com for more.
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Like the first book, INFIDEL is shockingly good at presenting strange technologies and cultures without bewildering the reader and without pages and pages of exposition. This is no easy thing and is, frankly, shocking in such a young (two published books) author. Having avoided that major pitfall of science fiction, Hurley manages to go on to present believable and engaging, if not always likable, characters who are wrapped up in a complicated and action-filled plot.
The general writing on the page in INFIDEL is clearly a lot stronger, which makes me very excited to see what Hurley will produce in the future. However, the story was noticeably weaker than the first book. GOD'S WAR may not have been the tightest writing ever done, but the story was believable and engrossing. That was no easy feat considering the necessity of believing our not entirely top shelf main character was consorting with Queens and the fate of nations rested in her hands. That all happened while some heavy and very intimate interpersonal relationships were woven. In INFIDEL, it feels like the same basic thing was intended. However, the political machinations feel a lot more like something the reader is simply told, rather than shown; and, the interpersonal issues are drawn out a little long making them feel a bit repetitive and weak. That being said, the amazing world-building and tightly engrossing action sequences remain fantastic.
Overall, INFIDEL is a good read and has a lot of great elements. It just wasn't quite as fun and not as consistently engaging as GOD'S WAR. I'd still highly recommend it to anyone looking for some science fiction/fantasy that is not the usual space marines or elves & orcs.
The notion of the book's main protagonist (Nyxnissa so Dasheem) as a broken, imperfect, morally-questionable human being is one that appeals to me greatly. She's not exactly likeable, but you can't help but care about her and become invested in this character. Her personality and outlook have not much changed since the first book in the series (God's War), but, in my opinion, she seems to be starting to have those niggling seeds of personal change taking root in the back of her mind.
I am extremely interested to see where the final book in the trilogy, Rapture, eventually takes us and how the underlying political theme finally plays out.
rcenary in Mushtallah, the capital of Nasheen. She's assembled a new team consisting of Eshe, a "half-breed" boy (her adopted son) and Suha, a Chenjan mercenary and recovered drug addict. At the end of God's War, her team left for Tirhan, a neighboring country that is heavily invested in dealing weapons to both sides of the war between Chenja and Nasheen. After six years, they've all moved on with their lives. Rhys has become a translator for the Tirhani government and started a family. Inaya works for the Ras Tiegan embassy and is raising two children with Khos.
The novel runs at a slower burn than God's War. The chapters alternate between Nyx figuring out who is trying to kill her in Nasheen and the lives of her former associates. Khos and Inaya are having a rocky marriage, while Rhys and his bride seem far too happy.
Because Nyx is bound to cross their path eventually. Investigating just who is trying to kill her, and why she is feeling ill lately, points her to Tirhan. Saying much more about the plot would ruin a lot of what Hurley so carefully puts into place, and into execution in the last third of the novel.
Infidel is a more polished story than God's War, which shows both its place as the middle book in a trilogy and perhaps its author's growth as a writer. Where God's War is a high-octane chase punctuated by moments of humor and reflection, Infidel is a slower paced story. Its elements all come together with more clarity and unity. At times I wanted the pace to pick up, but when it did about 2/3 into the book, Hurley mashed down on the gas and never let up until it was over. There are plenty of surprises and weird elements that I am sorry that there's only one novel left in the series.
To sum it up, I recommend Infidel for a riveting story, sophisticated worldbuilding, and compelling characters. If you enjoyed God's War, the sequel will give you more of what made that book work so well with several levels of added depth and breadth. Five stars, hands down.
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Nyxnissa so Dasheem is a character that forces the reader think, analyze and discuss with a group of...Read more