Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Dred Chronicles #1
Genre: Urban Sci-Fi
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Overview: The prison ship Perdition, a floating city where the Conglomerate’s most dangerous criminals are confined for life, orbits endlessly around a barren asteroid. Life inside is even more bleak. Hailed as the Dread Queen, inmate Dresdemona “Dred” Devos controls one of Perdition’s six territories, bordered on both sides by would-be kings eager to challenge her claim. Keeping them at bay requires constant vigilance, as well as a steady influx of new recruits to replace the fallen. Survival is a constant battle, and death is the only escape.
Of the newest convicts, only one is worth Dred’s attention. The mercenary Jael, with his deadly gaze and attitude, may be the most dangerous criminal onboard. His combat skill could give her the edge she needs, if he doesn’t betray her first. Unfortunately, that’s what he does best. Winning Jael’s allegiance will be a challenge, but failure could be worse than death…
All I have to say is, Ann Aguirre has definitely become one of my favorite authors. She consistently delivers highly entertaining books, Perdition being no exception. I have now made my way through at least one book of her four different series and it amazes me how different they are from one another. She just knows how to tell a good story, whether it’s about an orphan living in underground ruins (Enclave) to a psychically gifted space traveler (Sirantha Jax), she makes everything fresh, exciting, and highly entertaining!
The Jax series has become one of my all-time favorites, so you can understand why I was especially excited to read a spinoff from the same universe. With its amazing characters and an awesome storyline, Perdition takes place exclusively on a giant, unguarded prison. It reminds me of that one Stargate episode where the team ends up on a planet that’s been similarly converted to a orbiting prison. You know, the one were they meet that crazy lady… Anyway I love the concept of that episode, and Aguirre presented her twist on that idea in a way that was interesting and new (figuratively speaking, of course… it is a prison after all).
In my mind, there is a difference between atmosphere and setting. I have had minor issues with this author’s settings in the past, but have always loved the mood and feel she gives us with what she does describe. In this novel she did a great job balancing the two which made the world-building my favorite element of the story.
This was followed very closely by how much I enjoyed the characters, especially the main protagonist, Dred. She was one badass chick. I loved her because she had to find and maintain an inner strength well beyond what normal human beings have to endure, and only seemed to get stronger from it. The side characters were all just as memorable, with that hint of mystery surrounding them promising fun discoveries in the future. I’ve always said I love how Aguirre creates relationships, and not just the one surrounding the love story. She manages to form a deep connection between characters every time, which makes me care for them that much more. That is the one consistency in all her works that I most love and appreciate.
Overall, this was an excellent first novel to a new series, and I sincerely hope it develops into a five-star one like the Jax series did once it gained momentum.
Recommended Reading: of course I’m going to geek out about this one to anybody who has already read Sirantha Jax, but I would also feel comfortable pitching it as a standalone series. I would mention it to anybody who enjoys either urban fantasies or space operas (doubly so for those who like both). Readers of her Enclave series would probably like these too, provided they don’t mind a little more, shall we say “adult” content.
by Niki Hawkes
Other books you might like:
Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey
Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
Tinker by Wen Spencer
Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk