Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book O'the Decade: RAPTURE by Kameron Hurley

If you've been hanging around here very long, you've probably heard me gush about Kameron Hurley, a "new" writer that I've fallen for rather hard.  I put "new" in quotes because she's only "new" in that she just got published fairly recently; like most of the rest of us, she's probably been writing for years, and submitting for nearly as many years as she's been writing.  This is a hard business, people, and anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something.  But every now and then one of us breaks through, and when it's somebody as cool as Kameron Hurley, there's cause for some serious celebration.

The first book the Bel Dame Apocrypha, God's War, introduced us to Nyx, a former bel dame (government bounty hunter-cum-agent for the Queen) who lives on a world where the wars go on for hundreds of years and the bugs run everything.   She's after a woman who may hold the secret to ending the war between Nasheen and Chenja.  Trouble is, that secret might just as easily end the human race.

The second book, Infidel, picks up about six years after God's War.  Nyx has fallen out of favor with both the bel dames and the Queen, and now she's reduced to bodyguarding the teenage daughter of a diplomat to make a living.  But not for long.  Trouble's brewing in far-away Tirhan, which has grown rich selling weapons to Nasheen and Chenja, and where a group of renegade bel dames is negotiating  with shadowy representatives from an unknown foreign government.  Couple that with an old bel dame trying to kill Nyx--or maybe keep her alive--and let the rumbling in the streets begin. 

And now we have Rapture, the third and final book in the series.  Is it everything we could have hoped for?  Does it answer all of our questions?  Does it close out the story of Nyx with a gigantic bang?  Welllll....not exactly.  But it's awfully good all the same.  We find Nyx living in exile with an old mercenary buddy and her thirteen thirteen-year-olds.  The diplomat's daughter from Infidel seeks her out for a special mission that even the bel dames can't be trusted with; rescue her old boss, Raine, from kidnappers who have taken him far north into the tractless desert.  Trouble is, the last time Nyx saw Raine, she stuck a sword in him and left him for dead.  And there are plenty of other complications, from the moony sixteen-year-old rich girl that follows one of her team members all the way from Ras Tieg to the red sand that comes to life when it smells blood and can strip the flesh from a body in under fifteen seconds.  There's also the matter of the extremely deadly assassin on her tail, and the fifteen-foot centipedes that have this annoying habit of leaping out of sand dunes at inopportune moments.  And those are just the minor problems.

Rapture suffers, oddly enough, from an overload of narrators.  There are so many I had trouble keeping them straight.  The many interweaving story lines do eventually come together in a huge and satisfying way, but by the time we get there we've lost one of the most interesting narrators (yes, she does show back up and surprise us, but where was she for half the book?) and another one has just stopped talking, though he continues to exist in someone else's narration.  Is this fatal?  No, just annoying, but annoying enough to be noticed, and anything annoying enough to be noticed is annoying enough to push me out of the story, which is also annoying.  So if I had a star system for rating books, I'd give it a one-star deduction.  But that shouldn't stop you from running right out to buy it as soon as it's released, because it's still a great read.

I've heard that Rapture is supposed to be released in November, but then I've also heard it's available from Amazon already.  If that's the case, run, don't walk, to the evil Barnes & Noble rivals that I don't like and get yourself a copy this very evening.  Upload it on your Kindle Fire or whatever the hell. (Kindle. Fire. Books.  That does not sound like a good combination.) And keep an eye on Kameron Hurley.  She's supposed to be hard at work on another sci-fi trilogy, and if the Bel Dame Apocrypha is any example, it's bound to be amazing.   

No comments: