Rhoads launches an SF trilogy that seems determined to bring the style of grimdark fantasy to space opera, for better or worse. Far in the future, a grave-robbing expedition to the world of the Templars reveals that their strange science preserved the human assassin Reana when she was buried alive. She’s reunited with her lover Sloane, and they are soon pursued by her former master, the sadistic warlord Thallian. Thallian’s capacity for evil borders on moustache-twirling caricature: he rapes all three major female characters (including both his own wife and Reana’s other lover, Ariel), tortures his children in combat games, and is willing to kill anyone to get back what he views as his. Rhoads sometimes descends into lavish depictions of talent—beyond Reana’s perfection at killing and a handful of other talents, everyone in the book, from the underground doctor who heals her to the ragtag kids who help her steal a starship, is incredibly skilled—but the dark and brutal nature of her universe makes the well-choreographed action more painful than admirable. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015 Release date: 07/01/2015 Genre: Fiction
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