Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach (2013)

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach (2013)Fortune's Pawn (Paradox #1) by Rachel Bach
Published: Orbit Books (2013), eBook, 352pg
Source: Bought
Genres: Action, Fiction, Sci-fi

Devi Morris isn't your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It's a combination that's going to get her killed one day - but not just yet.

That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn't misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she's found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn't give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.

This was the first book for #SFFWomen book club! I picked it mostly because it’s gotten amazing reviews since it was published in 2013– also, it was on my TBR pile and I wanted to force myself to read it. Ha!

Devi is fairly atypical for female characters. She’s ambitious, unromantic, violent and super headstrong. She’s kind of stereotypical “strong woman” character–as in, she is “strong” because she acts like an insanely macho man. But her ability to kick everyone’s ass is NOT the only aspect of her personality, and in fact she (and the story) ends up turning the strong woman trope on its head.

Which was super fun! I do so love books with physically strong women which don’t only rely on their physicality to make her an interesting character. People who are only good at punching are boring. People who are good at punching AND have an actual personality behind their fists are my readerly catnip.

Devi is uncompromising and tough, she’s curious and inquisitive (to the point that I though the story was turning into a scifi mystery halfway through1), loyal and more. And Fortune’s Pawn is a lot of things–a mystery, an action/adventure–but it’s mostly a story about Devi growing as a person.

She grows through her relationships with the crew of the Fool, and mostly with Rupert the cook. I actually didn’t really like the romance; I appreciated that Rupert shook up Devi’s worldview, and the push-pull between them was a lot of fun, but I super hated Rupert’s whole “don’t love me” routine. He kept doing that thing, that “I’m so dangerous and you should stay away from me” thing that sounds SUPER ROMANTIC in movies but should actually send off alarms for anybody trying to date one of those dudes.

And, actually, he was totally right! He IS dangerous and Devi SHOULD stay away from him…only it’s kinda too late, because she’s already in love with him. Oh, the tragedy.

Why’s he dangerous? Because he’s right in the middle of the huge mystery-conspiracy, which is so tangled and knotted that I’m not even sure how Devi’s going to make it through the rest of the trilogy without a) losing her job and/or b) losing her life. I adore conspiracies, so I had a fun time following Devi around as she tried to untangle it. And since I liked Devi SO much it made for some terrible/wonderful feelings when she became ensnared and endangered.

I want her to be safe! But I also want her to kick ass. I want her to kick EVERYBODY’S ASS and I’m definitely reading the rest of the series so I can watch her do it.

Read: January 17-18, 2015

Other interesting things in Fortune’s Pawn besides Devi: aliens! Multiple kinds of aliens, including some who eat each other (and humans). Space-magic weirdos! Ghost ships! People fighting in mechanized suits like something from an anime! Yay!

  1. speaking of, I would LOVE to read a scifi mystery. Hit me up with recommendations if you have any!

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