A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy
The greatest dangers hide the brightest treasures in this bold, planet-hopping science fiction adventure series.
The crew of the legendary Capricious are rich enough to retire in comfort for the rest of their days, but none of it matters if the galaxy is still in danger.
Nilah and Boots, the ship's newest crew-members hear the word of a mysterious cult that may have links back to an ancient and all-powerful magic. To find it, hot-headed Nilah will have to go undercover and find the source of their power without revealing her true identity. Meanwhile, Boots is forced to confront the one person she'd hoped never to see again: her old, turn-coat treasure-hunting partner.
A good, though not great, read
I really want to like this series, and overall I do enjoy it. I’m just not feeling moved by it - which may have more to do with me as a reader vs the author. Since this is a good read, I don’t want to list out all my quibbles and instead just give a high level comment.
PRO: innovative genre-blending, hints of NK Jemesin in that world-building. I appreciate the perspective-driven storytelling, which can be frustrating as a reader at times but makes for a more immersive read. What’s more, a story being driven in part by the actions and thoughts of someone with what others consider a disability in this world is really neat. Progressive themes fit well with a futuristic setting, while being reflective on the present.
The analogy I draw here is that the series is like a summer popcorn-flick. It’s good, whatever my detractions. And really incredible antagonists, especially in the first book.
CONS: None of the characters are much more than a cardboard cutout. You’ve read them before, seen them before, and have met background/tertiary characters with more to them. The teaser text is right that this series is made for fans of Firefly and the Expanse – because it looks like someone watched those shows/read the books and comics, and a half dozen other well-known ones, and thought hey, let’s do this almost point-for-point at times.
If you haven’t seen those shows/read the books and comics, it probably comes across a little better if still tropish. But you also probably wouldn’t be motivated to read this series if you hadn’t seen or read that other material.
Which is all to say, by the end of the second book, I still don’t really care about any of the characters. The moments of growth and development read like neon lights on a dark night, and moments that are clearly meant to be big, rich, emotional turns end up deflated and hackneyed.
I’m going to finish the series of course, the story is good enough to genuinely want to see how it ends. Some of the thematic elements
That went into this series, I hope, get more flesh and bones to them in the author’s future works.