Kameron Hurley’s all-female universe of tentacled worlds and the cycle of life is absolutely and utterly insane. I read the entire thing torn between “what the hell is going on here” and “I’m really enjoying whatever it is”. Zan wakes up, a warrior without a memory, given conflicting information from those who insist they are her sisters. She must fly off and infiltrate another world – the Mokshi, the only world that has left its orbit, and can take them to freedom. I toyed with wondering if this is a meta-narrative about bacteria, but whatever-tf it is, it is absolutely excellent.
Another Hurley, another narrative in which we’re tossed into the deep end and expected to swim. Hurley’s vivid imagination and mad ambition means that she’s once again created a complex world with few, if any, touchpoints. Three empires exist in a fragile peace, while an unknowable cataclysm approaches after two thousand years of silence. Hurley blends quantum physics, personal relationships, philosophy, and the end of the world to start off another completely new story. It’s ambitious and it delivers, despite an occasional as the reader wades through and enormous cast of characters and country names. Expect this trilogy to build.
Nyx, aging, sick, and expelled from the bel dame order, is making her life as she can – with black work, grey work, any work. The thing is: she’s caught up, as usual, in larger situations than she realises. The world expands, and we get a picture of several other nations and cultures on this planet. Despite being a bit convoluted and harder to follow than the first volume, this is a worthy follow-up to God’s War. You’ll need to have read the first, and worth the read to see characters growing and changing as they struggle with longer-term challenges.
On a never-ending war planet in the far future, Nyxnissa do Dasheem is a bel dame – a huntress for god’s justice, returning boys back from the front. Kameron Hurley’s been publishing short stories and creating this bellicose planet and society for some time now; this is her first novel. It has a strong woman protagonist, a non-Anglos in space future, and treats a (future-ish) Islam with respect. It’s neither preachy nor does it appropriate another culture, it’s just a strong first novel with a swashbuckling bounty hunter/political intrigue thriller. Definitely both one to read and an author to watch.