Review: Undercity by Catherine Asaro


by Catherine Asaro
Series: Major Baahjan #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Published by Baen
NetGalley e-ARC (Publication date is December 2, 2014)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
304 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Book one in a brand new series by Nebula and Hugo Award Winner Catherine Asaro set in the world of her Skolian Empire universe. In the galaxy-spanning future, Major Bhaajan is a tough female P.I. who works the dangerous streets of Undercity.

Major Bhaajan, a former military officer with Imperial Space Command, is now a hard-bitten P.I. with a load of baggage to deal with, and clients with woes sometimes personal, sometimes galaxy-shattering, and sometimes both. Bhaajan must sift through the shadows of dark and dangerous Undercity—the enormous capital of a vast star empire—to find answers.


  • I’ve read some of the Skolian Empire books and enjoyed them, but it’s been awhile so when I saw a new book by Catherine Asaro on NetGalley and that it was a beginning of a new series, but still in the Empire I wanted to read it!
  • I like that this Empire is more matriarchal than patriarchal! However, it has become more equal in most areas.
  • I like Bhaajan, a private investigator, and the way she interacts with other people. She’s smart, but kind almost despite herself.
  • She doesn’t realize when she accepts a very lucrative job where she is going or what the job is. She’s surprised when she discovers where she is and who she’s working for. She’s not very happy to be on her home planet which she escaped from by joining the Imperial Space Command. She firmly believes “you can’t go home again.”
  • She grew up in poverty in Undercity which is under the city of Cries. The people who live in Undercity aren’t welcome in Cries and often live in poverty surviving by their wits as well as crime.
  • In the case she’s working she must go back to Undercity to find answers. And even when the initial case is settled it just leads to more questions and more problems she finds herself involved in. The case she was hired to solve becomes much bigger than originally thought.
  • I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.


  • Because the book opens as she arrives to begin the job she’s been hired for we don’t see Bhaaj living in Selei City on the world Parthonia. I would like to know more about her life there.
  • Ms. Asaro doesn’t explain the Empire as a whole which is alright, I think, since this book is about a very small part of the Empire. There is a timeline and a section called “Characters & Family History” at the end of this book. However, even though I’ve read a number of the books I found it kind of hard to understand all the information.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I don’t think you need to have read other books in this universe to understand and enjoy this book.
  • I need to figure out which books I read and which I haven’t so I can read more in the Skolian Empire.

Have you read other books by Catherine Asaro? Have you read this book? If so, how did you like it?

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Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

4 thoughts on “Review: Undercity by Catherine Asaro”

    1. I think I may have had more problems because I had read some of the other books. I kept trying to figure out how and where it fit into the Empire as a whole!


  1. I’ve never read anything by Catherine Asaro, but she seems to be pretty popular among my sci-fi loving friends. This series sounds like it has potential but I think I’ll probably begin with the first books in this universe so I can get a feel for more vintage Asaro.


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