maandag 15 februari 2016

Kameron Hurley: God’s War

Hi everyone

I read God’s War as a buddyread with Michael from Bitten by a Radioactive Book. Michael is a German Booktuber and we became friends through Youtube. When he asked me whether I’d be interested in doing a buddyread, I immediately said ‘yes’.
My copy of God’s War has 396 pages and I got it from Book Depository.
This is the first book in the Bel Dame Apocrypha by Kameron Hurley.

 “Nyx had already been to hell. One prayer more or less wouldn't make any difference...
On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there's one thing everybody agrees on...
There's not a chance in hell of ending it.
Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war--but at what price?
The world is about to find out.”

                *  SPOILERS  *

In this debut novel Hurley creates a unique, complex, weird, original, strange, challenging and disturbing world and it’s unlike anything I’ve read before.
The cities house mostly women because men are off fighting the war. That doesn’t make these women weak, quite to the contrary, they are badass and strong. Thank you Hurley for creating this!
Thank you for creating a world with people of color and with a religion grounded in Muslim ideology rather than Christian.
Hurley writes about all these themes, raising questions while doing so but it’s not judgmental, sentimental or emotional. It’s challenging and it makes us think.

There are so many possibilities with this world; the interesting cultures, the different species, the amazing technology, the strange magic and even a few aliens.
But Hurley doesn’t explore it all. I would have loved a more thorough world building, more explanations about the workings of these technologies and insight into the magic system. But it’s not there. She sets it all up to make something absolutely brilliant and then she seems to lack the interest or motivation to make it really work.
It’s nice and intriguing when there’s mystery left to the world, but I’m left with a lot of questions and that frustrates me and leaves me a bit dissatisfied with the novel as a whole.

The writing is very graphic and the book contains some rather horrific and literally skin-crawling scenes. I loved that.

The characters are diverse and unique. Nyx especially is wonderfully done and she has so much depth even though she seems nothing more than a badass fighter on the surface.
All of these characters are flawed, they can be cowards or just dumb and stupid.
I loved the almost complete lack of romance. There was some tension and it was wonderfully done, but there was no real romance.

The first part (before she goes to prison) is confusing, almost boring and I couldn’t get into it. I didn’t like the timejump either. In my opinion, Hurley should have started the novel after Nyx’s time in prison so she could properly introduce the characters and the story. But no, after those almost prologue-like first pages we jump right into the action without any explanations or time to get to know the world and the characters. I felt lost and it took me a while to get into it. Once I stopped questioning everything and just accepted things for what they were and once Nyx was out of prison, the enjoyment of a good book started.

Also, enough with the bugs already! They are used for everything; medicine, fuel, torture, espionage…
How is that even possible? It’s like Hurley thought of something new and exciting and she just couldn’t stop herself putting them to use everywhere and for everything.
But, even though I'm terrified of spiders, I absolutely loved the idea of using bugs as a cornerstone of society.

The novel is fast paced and I didn’t want to put it down (unfortunately, life gets in the way of doing just that). It’s suspenseful, unpredictable (mostly), very intriguing and full of twists.
The ending especially was interesting.
The reappearance of Jacks was unexpected and it brought the whole novel to a proper ending.
It’s not quite a setup for the next two novels in the series because it’s a closed ending and the story can go a few ways but I do hope the old gang gets together again.
And it’s in no way a happy ending for anyone.

I didn’t love it, but I enjoyed it a lot so I ordered the second and third installment a few hours after finishing this book. It’s very interesting but it left me unsatisfied.
Hopefully, we’ll get (a) better world building, (b) the old team back together and (c) more hints about the possibility of Nyx having children.


Happy reading.

Leftover homemade carrot cake while starting a new book.