It’s hard to find a good sci fi/fantasy book with a female lead. Patricia Briggs pulls it off the best with her Mercedes Thompson series. Ann Aguirre has a pretty good showing here with The Dread Queen. Dresdemona Devos (Dred) can hold her own against the boys, with or without her chains. She is tactical, tough and cares about those close to her. She has some ability to ‘see’ emotions in others auras, which gives her some insight. In addition to a great main character, the story had strategy, an interesting setting and a good pace. I am going to give this book 3 stars.
Here’s a breakdown…
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What is this book about?
This is a story of two people falling in love in a future space prison. OK, it’s really about more than that, but the love story was more predominant than necessary. Perdition is a prison that used to be a space mining station. There are no guards so the place is run by the prisoners. There are six territories, and this book focuses on four of them, one run by Grigor (The Great Bear), one run by the Priest, one run by Silence (a lady who doesn’t speak) and the main character- The Dread Queen’s territory. Dred’s territory is the most civil (no cannibals, everyone with responsibility, less senseless violence than the others). Dred has been in power less than a turn (i.e. year) and recruits Jael off the ship bringing in new prisoners. Jael is special in that he isn’t completely human, he has tremendous strength, an inability to die and superhuman fighting abilities- all of which are helpful in this prison environment.
The Priest and Grigor decide to team up to take out Dred, so she teams up with Silence to hold on to her territory. She succeeds in holding on to her territory, identifying and eliminating the spy that Silence planted in ranks, and of course falls in love with Jael. Next steps? Escape…
What did I think about this book?
I enjoyed it. Dred was a great female lead. The setting was original and interesting. The supporting characters were good (Jael, Tam, Einar). The story had a great pace. My only complaint is that the love story was too prominent and perhaps a little silly.
“You want my territory? Come and take it. I challenge you before these witnesses, winner take all. Unless you’re a craven bastard, you’ll take up the gauntlet.”
I’ve already pre-ordered the next book.