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God's War (Bel Dame Apocrypha) (edition 2011)

by Kameron Hurley

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4183125,386 (3.66)24
Member:etimme
Title:God's War (Bel Dame Apocrypha)
Authors:Kameron Hurley
Info:Night Shade Books (2011), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:read 2012, to review

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God's War by Kameron Hurley

  1. 00
    Perdido Street Station by China Miéville (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Two excellent examples of twisted, dark and brutal stories with unexpected sci-fi/fantasy elements and engrossing worlds.
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Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Tiptree shortlist 2011.
Despite being unremittingly grim and violent, and a bit confused at times, the story did draw me in. ( )
  SChant | Apr 15, 2014 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2249583.html

Our central character, Nyx, is a woman warrior and assassin in a war whose point seems to have been largely forgotten by the combatants, working her way across the battle-scarred landscapes and streetscapes of a ruined world. There's lots of love, lust, betrayal, and horrible violence. It's awfully well realised.

I found it in the end a bit one-note - concentrating on the vivid setting, at the expense of a real plot, and without quite explaining how this world got itself into such a mess. Perhaps this will be dealt with in future volumes. It's a very good book, but I hope that there are better ones to come. ( )
  nwhyte | Feb 22, 2014 |
After reading this interview about the insect-based magic system, I *need* this.
  EMaree | Feb 11, 2014 |
Pros: unique, diverse cast, interesting world and politics

Cons: limited description, slow beginning

Nyx used to be a Bel Dame, a government sponsored assassin sent after deserters from the war with Chenja. But after a bad job she's stripped of her membership and left doing dirty mercenery work. Her team consists of misfits escaping one thing or another: a Ras Tiegan communications man, a Mhorian shape shifter, a gun loving local (poached from a former boss) and a Chenjan draft dodger, whose magical abilities of controlling bugs are limited. When they're offered a well paying - but dangerous job, Nyx takes it, not realizing it would pit her against the toughest, most dangerous women in Nasheen.

Described by the author as being a book about "Bugs. Blood. Brutal women." and "bugpunk at it's best" this was a... unique read. Heavily influenced by middle eastern culture, the book takes place on a planet colonized by several groups of people, all followers of the book. Each group interprets the book differently though, which has led to a centuries long war among the Nasheenians and the Chenjans. The politics, both between the nations and within Nasheen (where most of the book takes place) are fascinating.

The characters themselves are interesting, each having their own reasons why they've left their homelands to live in Nasheen, and why they're working for Nyx. There's a good balance between action and development, so you get the chance to really know what motivates each of her team members.

I would have appreciated more description and deeper world building. I had to look up what a burnous was (a long cloak with a hood that everyone in the book wears) as there was no proper description of it (I got that it was worn over clothing and had a hood and pockets, but didn't know it was a cloak rather than a jacket). Neither bug magic nor bug tech are explained at all, nor how this planet develped them. The same goes for shape shifters, who you learn were created, but not why or how (though this didn't play into the novel as much as the bug magic and tech so I can understand why the author wouldn't want to focus on it).

I also found the opening a bit slow. Not in terms of action (there's a LOT of action), but in terms of plot. The opening scenes set up things for later, but you don't realize that until you're several chapters into the book.

There's a lot of violence, and a fair amount of gore (several people are tortured and replacing body parts is one of a magician's talents, which gets used a lot in this book).

If you're looking for something very different from what's out there and like kick-ass women, you've found it. If you've got a weak stomach, look elsewhere. ( )
  Strider66 | Feb 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Overall the book is a compelling read, feeling like a future-flung, bio-magic version of the Gulf War; The God’s War has all the brutality and futility of a conflict with no winners, in which both external and internal landscapes are broken and bereft.
 
Are you frustrated with Mary Sue heroines? Well, here comes God's War to rock your face off.
added by karenb | editio9, Kelly Faircloth (Apr 1, 2011)
 
... the story is highly engaging once it starts, and Hurley smoothly handles tricky themes such as race, class, religion, and gender without sacrificing action.
added by karenb | editPublishers Weekly (Dec 20, 2010)
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kameron Hurleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Palumbo, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Nyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen, on the edge of the desert.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159780214X, Paperback)

Nyx had already been to hell. One prayer more or less wouldn t make any difference...

On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there's one thing everybody agrees on--

There's not a chance in hell of ending it.

Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war--but at what price?

The world is about to find out.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:26 -0400)

"On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there's one thing everybody agrees on-- There's not a chance in hell of ending it. Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war-- but at what price? The world is about to find out"--Back cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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