God's War

God's War
Kameron Hurley, 2011

Premise: Nyx is a bounty hunter on a desert world eternally at war. She is sent on a troubling mission to find an alien woman who she's told is able to end the war, but she might lose her team and her life trying to find the woman and find out the truth.

I think this may be a case of missed connections, because everyone seems to love this book, and I just didn't. I don't think it's a bad book, I think it's well written in a technical sense, but I didn't enjoy reading it.

I found the first 50 pages uselessly slow, and by the time I started to actually like the book around page 160-70, there were only 100 pages left. I don't know what to think. The main character is similar in some ways to a noir hero. She struggles, mostly futilely, against uncaring thugs, conspiracies and powerful figures, and it's set up as a world of grey shades where there is no way to win. It should have been right up my alley, but I just didn't click with the writing.

The story was fine, but I didn't connect to the style or the setting at all, and that seems to be the main strength of the work. The bug-based tech is intriguing on the surface, but it never seemed to go anywhere, just remaining as flavor. There were a lot of implications about religion and race and gender, but hardly any of them were explored in depth.

I don't know, maybe this just wasn't up my alley. What bothers me is that it should have been. A society of badass, masculine women, future religion, magic-bug-based technology... it all sounds great. There was something off about the characters than I'm having trouble putting a finger on. It was as if Nyx oscillated between being blankly badass, just a collection of tropes, and having an unconvincing squishy underbelly. The other main characters were more believable, in some ways, but balancing a masculine woman in the cast with a feminine man is boring, and I just couldn't muster much care for what happened to them.

Maybe I just missed the hook somewhere.

Or maybe the setting is just much more awesome if you've never heard of Dark Sun.

2 Stars – An Okay Book


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