Hello, good readers, bad readers, and everyone in between!
It’s time for another book review, and I’ve again gone to my Armadillocon haul and pulled out Archangel by Marguerite Reed (amazon link). As with every review, I’m going to do my best to keep it spoiler free.
Yet again, I’ve started the first book in an as of yet unfinished series, and while Archangel works as a stand alone story, don’t be surprised if you close the book after reading the last chapter and immediately check to see if book two is available. (It’s not as of this posting, but the book was just released this year. Give her some time, jeeze.)
Reed takes us to Ubastus, a planet on the edge of civilized space, to a time far enough in the future that Earth is on the way out, but humanity has fortunately developed space travel. Ubastus struck me, thematically, as a mix of colonial America, the wild west, and Jurassic Park. Just go with it. The setting is amazing and intricate, and well thought out, and she does a much better job of explaining it than I do.
If I had to pick a standout part of this book, it would be the characters. They are So. Fucking. Human. Vashti Loren, the protagonist, is always believable, whether she’s deep in the wilds or navigating the deep pits of local and interstellar politics, and especially when she’s spending time with her daughter, Bibi. Vashti is a badass biologist single mother, but more than that, she’s a well rounded character that deals with boiling rage and loss and makes mistakes while trying to do what needs to be done. If that doesn’t grab your interest, then, well, this book might not be for you. Books might not be for you.
Archangel is hard sci-fi to it’s core. There were words I had to look up or infer meaning from context clues, great fight scenes,analysis on the ethical dilemmas of interstellar colonization and human genetic manipulation! Politics! Excitement! Adventure! Sexy times! Hmm. Nope. I mean, that’s all true, but it doesn’t seem like the best way to describe the experience of this book. It’s just good. Read it.
TLDR: Entertaining sci-fi with a real female protagonist that builds an amazing setting that excites, delights, and leaves you wanting more. 5/5 stars.