Sci-Fi Review: ‘God’s War’ by Kameron Hurley

God's War (Bel Dame Apocrypha, #1)Completely indescribable and apologetically dark, God’s War quickly became a favorite of mine when I read it several years back.  Recently, due to the magic of twitter, I learned my friends across the ocean are just now able to get their hands on it.  That little tidbit also reminded me that I have not read the concluding volume of this trilogy.  So I decided to remedy that this year; and in order to do so I knew I had to reread the first two.  As I read them pre-blog, I will give them a quick review as well.

Indescribable is what I said, but I can try.  Sci-fi in a way; there is bio engineering and ‘aliens,’ but it often reads like a fantasy.  Main character Nyx is a bounty hunter who slings a sword to bring in her bounty’s heads, carries a hidden arsenal of knives and poised needles, and her team includes a magician and a shape shifter.  And there are bugs.  Everywhere.  This is a planet over ran by them.  Wild bugs are dangerous enough but what the people of this world can do with them is fascinating.  Magic based around calling them, medicine based their unique benefits; even the cars are based around live bugs as fuel.  It is crazy but somehow it works.

Is it dark?  Oh hell yes.  It starts with Nyx killing a boy who ran from an age old holy war that has decimated the male population of two countries.  Quickly we see her betrayal; she is kicked out of the Bel Dame service (official bounty hunters) and after jail is forced to freelance work.  There are torture scenes, heavy drinking characters and lots of fighting over beliefs.  But there is also a lot of heart.  Nyx keeps a loyal team despite her many (many) issues.  And between her and her magician Rhys there is romantic tension so tight it could be played as an instrument.

There isn’t a character in Nyx’s team that I didn’t love by the end; even the ones I wanted to slap.  I love Nyx like family; the type of family I care for but really wouldn’t want to be around and ‘oh, my god, are they in the news again?’  I want to believe she is the good guy in all of this, but in a world of legalized bounties who can be sure?  There passages that let us know she is capable of doing dark work just like people I want to call bad.

If I have to criticize, and human nature says I must, even on reread I am unsure of a couple of plot points; I was a bit shaky on why or how some characters came back into play by the end.  The first time I read it I put it down on me, after all this is not a book that holds your hand.  You are dumped right in and  sink or swim in the details on your own.  But as I still don’t get it perhaps a bit more polish could have made it clearer.

That said, this book was just as good, if not better, on reread.

4 Stars.  On to ‘Infidel.’

Warning!  Do not read any further than this!  If you do you will probably be sorry.  Because you see, once it was in my head I had to work it out as far as I could, and, well you will see the pitiful result.

CUE MUSIC!!

Oh, my, god.  Becky, look at this book.

It is so, different. It looks like one of those grimdark guys dreams

But, you know, who understands those grimdark guys

They only read it because it has a crazy death count, ‘kay?

I mean, her sword, it is so big.

I can’t believe all the bugs, it’s like, out there, I mean –Gross.  Look!

It’s all so, whack.

*Cue bass line*

I like bug-punk and I cannot lie

You other bloggers can’t deny

That when Nyx walks in acting all ace and punches that gal in the face

It’s just, FUN

You love her cause she’s tough

‘and you notice that trunk was stuffed

With a dead body just a red herring

And a bounty you know she be sharing

Oh Hurley, this is how you do romance

Tension but never crass

Others tried to warn me

There’s just so much to this story.

Oh Rhys with smooth skin

You not much of a magician?

But needed, wanted

And so important to Nyx’s bounty team

The team is over their head

But the queen’s bounty will keep them fed

Oh my god this is so hard. Parody song writers, I tip my hat too you.  I give up.  And you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

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