Infidel by Kameron Hurley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I come away from this novel with the same feeling I had from the first.
Of course, that's the point. War, religious or otherwise, is hell. Being good at it does nothing to improve your relations with others, and Nyx is a shining example of the honor-bound disgraced warrior working to regain her good name and status as a Bel Dame elite.
And yet, for all the fighting, the tight plotting, the hopes, the fears, and the twists of everything, what I really feel is the oppression of deep heartache. It's wonderful to read a novel that sets out to tear us up and does a grand job of it.
It's even more wonderful to throw in some of the most dense worldbuilding for a SF novel out there, whether as a continuation of the first in the series or not. It's all very close to the cuff. The devil is in the details, and great god in heaven, we're dumped in it. Most of it is political and cultural, but the most striking aspects are of course the bugs. It might as well be magic, and of course the class of people who use the tech are called magicians, and of course there's also the shapeshifters, but don't be fooled into thinking this is some sort of UF.
It's hard SF, through and through.
The same warning I gave for the first novel, I continue for this one. It's rich, it's dense, and it requires patience. Things aren't easy for anyone in the book, especially Nyx, but then, it's not easy on ANYONE. Since I as a reader am getting into the story pretty deep, it is also not easy on me.
Don't read this if you want a light and easy read.
Definitely read it if you want deep immersion and a truly fascinating and well-fleshed world and characters. (Even if they lose their heads now and again.)
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