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

by Kameron Hurley

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5263519,198 (3.72)35
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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On a hardscrabble alien world populated with what humanity becomes in the far future, a long holy war rages. Both sides have drafted all their men for so many generations that the societies left behind have become nearly matriarchal, populated by females, boys, and the very old or damaged men who survived their war service. Their planet is nealry deadly for humanity, and over the years its colonists have made all sorts of adjustments. Now they scrape themselves regularly for cancers the way modern people go in for dental cleanings, and reattach body parts as a matter of course.

In this strange and brutal place we are introduced to Nyx, a woman who has lost her faith on the battlefield but can't let go of her own version of honor. On the very first page, Nyx sells her womb for cash, then loses it all gambling on a pretty boxer. The upside is, she gets to bed the boxer. The really badass part is that she bet on the boxer knowing she'd probably lose, and knowing that her bet would be a good in with a depressed losing boxer, who might then take her home. After sleeping with the boxer, Nyx creeps out of bed, kills the boxer's sleeping brother, and collects his head for its bounty. And then the plot starts. After falling out with her bounty hunting sisters, Nyx gets herself a new crew: a mediocre magician, a refugee shifter, an ex-convict, and a half-breed comm tech. None of them are particularly good or well-respected, but they're bound together by Nyx's unstoppable will. Times are hard, and although they're stacking bodies like firewood in the freezer, the bounty hunts never pay quite enough. Then they get a new hunt: to find an alien gene scientist who's lost somewhere in enemy territory. The stakes have never been higher, because whoever has the alien will probably win the war.

Although the plot is fast-paced, action-heavy and twisty, it's really secondary to seeing inside the characters' heads, most particularly Nyx and her bug-magician, Rhys. Nyx drinks whiskey like water, has sex with anyone she pleases, and gave up on god (or felt given up) years ago. Rhys is a refugee from the country she nearly died fighting, and is so pious he can hardly bear to pray in the presence of women. They're drawn to each other without knowing why or how, but refuse to acknowledge how much they need each other, not even to themselves. The unresolved tension between them didn't really work for me: neither of them respects or seems sexually attracted to the other, and they don't talk much, so we the reader are just told repeatedly that they feel things for each other, and that Rhys is known as her shadow. But as individual characters, they're each very well-drawn, complicated people.

The 'verse Hurley has created here is novel, populated by pitiless, practical people. It's not a pleasant read, really, but it's certainly an interesting one. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
I am not sure I got it. Well, that is not quite accurate. I guess I like a little more science in my science fiction and that was seriously lacking. I wanted to know a little more of the history of the world and where we were in human development. of course leaving those elements out made for a shorter read with more action. ( )
  gaveedra | Jan 8, 2016 |
*NO RATING*
Egalley thanks to Night Shade Books

I don't quite know what to think of this book. The synopsis felt like it was right up my alley, but in reality God's War left me confused and emotionally detached.

I felt like this book simply wasn't for me, it needed a different type of reader. Bastard Books, for example, called this the best read of 2011. I on the other hand disliked extremely harsh, matter-of-fact toxic environment of Nyx's world.

First time we meet Nyx, she just sold her womb to the magicians. What? That took me aback straight away. Only sometime later we would have a clearer picture of what happened. Nyx's world can buy and sell organs, replace the damaged ones with the new ones with the help of bug magic and genetic manipulation.

The longer you read the book the more bizarre it gets. In a lot of ways itscasual violence reminded me of Domino. Nyx's world is also a matriarchal Islamic world, where men are permanently fighting the Holy War in the front between two slightly different branches of the same religion, and women rule everywhere else. So most of the characters in this book are women in more or less positions of power.

The only person with whom I somewhat connected was Rhys, a magician in Nyx's group of mercenaries. Everyone else to me was a prop. So, yeah, Nyx might be a cross between Domino and Clint Eastwood, and one incredibly tough girl, but I couldn't feel even slightly sympathetic to her plea of an old mercenary who just wanted to retire, and that was the root of all my problems.

I don't want to rate this book anyhow, because it was so alien to me but might be a fabulous read for someone else.

  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
It took a looooong time to find its pace - this book definitely starts too early, and would not suffer from losing everything before "Part II" - but once it did I was hooked. Nyx is one of those rough, nasty anti-heroes you don't like so much as respect, and Rhys is remarkable for keeping his composure while having to live with her. The setting feels an awful lot like the trailers for the new Mad Max movie. The bug-based technology and magic is pretty gross, but it all fits together into one messy, cohesive whole. I finished it and said out loud, "I'm really glad there are two sequels." ( )
  jen.e.moore | May 1, 2015 |
Great world building and conflicted characters here.

All technology is driven by bugs. There is a very obvious feminist slant here which also leads to some interesting conversations between the characters.

The ending was a tad disappointing. The villains were surprisingly stupid at the end. They won and then did something really stupid and lost.

Will definitely be reading the rest of the series. ( )
  kaipakartik | Apr 3, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:29 -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)

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