Review: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach

February 15, 2014 2014, B-, book rating, reviews 7

Rachel Bach is an author I haven’t read before so this review is part of New Author Challenge I’m participating in. This challenge is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog. Please visit their blog for more information.

œF��$¿�Ƒ$�8Ò�ò¤»�däå¸R8BIFortune’s Pawn
by Rachel Bach
Series: Paradox, Book 1
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Published by Orbit, 2013
E-book, Purchased
330 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: Devi Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It’s a combination that’s going to get her killed one day – but not just yet.

That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.

If Sigouney Weaver in Alien met Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica, you’d get Deviana Morris — a hot new mercenary earning her stripes to join an elite fighting force. Until one alien bite throws her whole future into jeopardy.

Did I pick safety or ambition? The slow and steady or the gamble? I smiled. Put like that, it wasn’t even a question.

What worked for me:

  • Devi is a swashbuckling mercenary. A very distinct character.
  • She’s ambitious and very competent. She signs on as a mercenary aboard The Glorious Fool (a very funny name for a ship which seems to have lots of bad luck!) with a goal in mind–get lots of fighting experience so she can come to the attention of a group of mercenaries she wants to join.
  • I like other characters–even Jayston Cotter, the other mercenary hired for security, who is a jerk, but quite good at his job!
  • The book has expected plot elements–lots of fighting and attacks–but there’s more going on than a simple shooting story (under the surface in this book). The plot twists at the of end of the book are unexpected.

What didn’t work:

  • The names (Lady Gray–Knight-class armor; Sasha–anti-armor pistol; Mia–plasma shotgun) Devi gives her weapons are silly.
  • I don’t understand why her weapons–which seem practically unbeatable–have such limitations. Why doesn’t she carry another thermite blade? More ammunition? I understand she can’t be all-powerful–because where’s the challenge in that?!–but if you’ve set her up with all these weapons and an awesome suit don’t make them only work for a few minutes.
  • The story can’t decide if it’s a gritty, military science fiction or a science fiction romance.

My thoughts:

I book is entertaining and fun, but I had questions as I read. As I mentioned the book is contradictory and at times was jarring to read.

The series is set up pretty well, but if the first book hadn’t been on sale it wouldn’t have come to my attention. The second book–Honor’s Knight—is set to publish at the end of February. However, the price is high so I won’t buy it right now. I pay over $8 for a digital book only a few times a year.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?


7 Responses to “Review: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach”

  1. Li

    Hmm… I’ve not read this one, but I read her first book under the Rachel Aaron name (fantasy) and wasn’t massively impressed – a bit paint-by-numbers IIRC. It was her debut, I think, and I’d seen good reviews for this one so I was wondering if her writing style had improved… but I think I’ll pass.
    Li recently posted…Weekend LinkageMy Profile

  2. Lark

    I don’t mind combining subgenres, even gritty military SF and SF romance. IIRC, there was a fair bit of both in the Battlestar Galactica reboot. But I agree that the naming of her weapons and armor goes overboard, and it sounds as though their limitations are very arbitrary. I think I’ll pass on this for now.
    Lark recently posted…News & Notes – 2/15/14My Profile

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