May. 18th, 2014

Infidel

May. 18th, 2014 03:22 pm
sawyl: (A self portrait)
It feels like a long time since I read Kameron Hurley's God's War — LibraryThing tells me it was two years ago to the day, although I didn't get round to writing it up until early June. Given the timing, I think I was lucky: I caught the ebook version just before it vanished into Night Shade black hole. But it also means I've had to wait a while for the Del Rey UK edition of Infidel and that consequently, it took me a little while to remember the whys and wherefores of things.

Luckily Hurley easies back into things reintroducing Nyx, former Bel Dame assassin gone free-lance, and her new crew Suha and Eshe — the former an recovered venom addict and the latter a shape-changing street boy still slightly to young to get himself sent to the front. The last six years haven't been kind to Nyx and she finds herself increasingly exhausted, unwell, and gripped by a mysterious weight loss that has her magician baffled. Not that any of this stops her from injecting herself into an escalating conflict between a group of rogue Bel Dame and the Queen of Nasheen.

Meanwhile Nyx's old crew, having fled to Tirhan, have done well for themselves. Inaya, working as a clerk in the Ras Tiagan embassy while working for shifter rights in the background, has married Khos and had two children. Rhys, too, is married with children, having picked up a lucrative translating contract with the Ministry of Public Affairs. When Rhys finds himself asked to cover a covert meeting between a the Tirhani government and a pair of Bel Dame with a super-weapon to sell, he puts his nice safe life on collision course with Nyx's savagely dangerous one.

Infidel builds on the solid base established by God's War, cleverly retconning a political explanation for some of the events of the first book. By shifting the action to Tirhan, which sits outside the grinding war of attrition between Chenja and Nasheen, Hurley is able to show that the world isn't necessarily all bad and that they characters have grounds for hoping for a better lot in life even if they don't necessarily get it. Tirhani culture is nicely drawn and detailed, especially the polite fiction that wraps every financial transaction in a narrative that implies that the whole thing was done with no thought of reward — an idiom Nyx and Suha, both blunt to a fault, struggle to grasp.

I very much enjoyed the book, which seems to me to be even better than the first one in the series, and I'm really looking forward to Rapture. I just hope I don't have to wait two years for it to be published in the UK...

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