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God's War

by Kameron Hurley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bel Dame Apocrypha (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8334318,341 (3.71)47
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.… (more)
Recently added bynelsam, private library, rgherndon, bookbrig, lcd, pitboapda
  1. 00
    Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (bookwormelf)
    bookwormelf: Nyx and Takeshi are quite similar protagonists. Dark sci-fi, crapsack world, specially trained government assassins gone freelance
  2. 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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» See also 47 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
This is a seriously violent and bleak novel - I don't think I've read so many torture scenes in one published book since Elizabeth Moon's Paks novels. I came close to giving up on it a couple of times, but in the end, I'm glad I stuck it out.

I also have some reservations about the treatment of Islam and Muslims in the book. On the one hand, it's great to see a science fiction world populated largely by Muslims, and by people of color. On the other hand, the world is a gritty, war-torn, polluted desert with the two main countries ruled by corrupt unelected leaders. On the other other hand, the novel handles religious themes (including misuse of religious power, religious bigotry, genuine piety, respectful relationships across religious difference, and religious hypocrisy) thoughtfully and creatively. ( )
  elenaj | Jul 31, 2020 |
I went through several transformations as I read this novel, or four if you include a priori expectations after judging a book by its cover; for some weird reason, I thought this title would be more UF than a gritty SF title that masquerades as a fantasy.

It's not really as confusing as I make it out to be. No gods are involved in the telling of the tale, just a bunch of people who believe in Allah and Jehova in a far future world that seems awfully like the Gaza Strip, only filled with Magicians who control bugs by their will and shapeshifters (Shifters). Traditional military hardware is available everywhere you look, too, and most of our focus is firmly on a hard-as-nails normal female.

We get to see her in her youth as a part of an official assassination squad, the betrayal and her downfall, and her poverty and life as part of a small squad of bounty-hunters.

I had some issue with this. The writing was rather sparse when it came to fleshing out each of the characters and it took me a long time to care who each of them were, other than Nyx, of course. And then there were long sequences in the text where I was flooded with names and names and names and very little hook to keep my interest. At that point, my hopes rested entirely on the brilliant and complex world that was being laid out before me. It was absolutely enormous and complex and well-thought out. My only concerns were with the characters.

And then I had my first transformation. I didn't have a problem with the boxing, and the small squad scenes were so-so, but when Nyx and I got to spend some time alone, the text came alive. I shuddered and thanked all the stars in heaven. The novel went from burdensome to snappy.

My next transformation came when the rest of the characters finally started coming to life through their choices and actions, and it took just a little bit too much time to get there, but it did, and for that, I am eternally grateful. The climax was especially personal and rich in both action and characters, and at this point, I am now a fanboy.

Worldbuilding kicked this off, but eventually, the characters carried the day. I'm not going to have any issues picking up and devouring the next books, unless I have to start from scratch. :) Who knows? It's not like I've done any research on this series. This is my first Kameron Hurley book, and I'm rather impressed. It is rather dense in places and not always an easy read, but I can say it is very rich and I'm very happy to begin my journey here. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
UGH FABULOUS.

Like "Best Served Cold" meets Lostara Yil meets Tatooine and there's a magic system based around BUGS and women are in charge and men are war fodder and it's all very slick and violent and awesome. ( )
  allison_s | May 25, 2020 |
if you like Joe Abercrombie, this should be right up your alley, though somewhat less humorous ( )
  mvayngrib | Mar 22, 2020 |
Big, bold, unflinching, and - for me - much more engaging and therefore fun than Mirror Empire. Part of that is how just plain excellent our heroine, Nyx, is. She's James Bond in an eternal and meaningless Holy War - she takes a regular pounding, is both jaded and promiscuous, mildly hates herself, and yet makes you cheer for her all the while. She's magnificent, and I thoroughly enjoyed taking this (bloody, ruthless, violent) journey with her.

Really the only hiccup for me was in starting. The world is complex and intricate and not introduced with delicacy - which is only right for a world that's all about slapping you in the face at a minimum, but was something of a challenge to read. It settled into itself very well, though, and rewarded the effort by giving pay-off on just about every aspect of complexity.

All of that said, I'm not sure I am eager to read any further. It's still a tough world to read in, and while I enjoyed this trip, I'm not left gagging for more or with any massive burning questions that need resolution. Indeed, the world is so gritty and so tangled that part of me feels like resolution would be a betrayal, so I'm not sure I want to venture further when I can let this sit, a very satisfying piece of great speculative fiction with so much to say about what it means to be human. ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (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 editionscalculated
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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