Dark Space by Kevis Hendrickson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Zyra Zanr's in a lot of trouble when Helship II is bested by an unknown ship. Much to her dismay, her time as the most lucrative and notorious bounty hunter comes to an abrupt halt, when instead of being the hunter, she becomes the hunted. Captured and aboard the Lillith, Zyra must somehow escape the clutches of a rival gang - one that make their hatred for her no secret.
(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)
If it's one thing I love, it's intelligent protagonists. All too often, certainly more often than I'd like, main characters outright refuse to use their brain, and it infuriates me. This leans more toward female leads, as for some reason being "tough" usually means that they can't keep their trap shut; mouthing off at everyone and everything, usually making their predicament ten times worse. This is where I have to give credit to Hendrickson, as Zyra's not stupid. She was well aware of who had the upper hand, that is, until she gained the advantage. This was a satisfying change from the first book in the series (Rogue Hunter is currently five instalments long, with four more planned), as she often gave in to her impulsive tendencies. The obvious progression of her character was something I favoured, as I find characters that learn from mistakes to be less predictable and more engaging.
Similar to Inquest, there were very little people on Zyra's side; most needed serious anger management, and perhaps a lesson or two in empathy. The aspect of bounty hunting was further delved into, and the ugliness of it wasn't shied away from - on the contrary, as rather than being even remotely glamorous, the team had a difficult time merely getting by. Their struggle did nothing to warm me to them, however, as their actions were nothing short of detestable. The torture they inflicted upon Zyra was horrific, and perhaps even a little reckless considering she was wanted alive. I wanted to think better of Drake; a seasoned hunter, he had to act the adult amongst his bickering subordinates, yet he wasn't much better in the scheme of things. They truly were a dysfunctional group of people that were pathetic in terms of professionalism.
Despite everything that happened to Zyra, she was still able to turn it around. This made me wonder about her, and if her incredible knack for survival was intentionally far-fetched. The extent of her wounds were stated to be pretty severe, so much so that she was apparently on the verge of death. I know one of the rumours about her was that she wasn't entirely human, and I began to contemplate that possibility more and more. It went beyond mere skill, when she was able to successfully out-best the entire crew whilst dealing with that amount of injury. It could be that I'm wrong, though, and she's just that good. If that's the case, I'd thus consider her to be a tad unrealistic.
One thing I didn't quite understand, was the self-destruct mechanism on the ship. It seemed convenient only for the plot, however I suppose the ship itself was an earlier acquisition and had a prior function, so obviously certain features would've been left over from that. It's too bad the time limit it issued was less exciting than it should've been, because Zyra wasn't going to die - she's the main character and has natural plot armour. I'm glad Logos made it, though, and I wonder if he's going to be present in future books.
In conclusion - Zyra's quickly becoming a favourite of mine. Hendrickson does a great job in creating a brutal universe where everyone's out only for themselves. I can't wait to see where Zyra ends up next!
Drake was playing with fire. His every taunt stoked the flames in her heart, raising the heat within her to explosive heights. Zyra trembled, unable to check her rising anger at the pitiful sight of Logos. If Drake touched another hair on Logos' head, she would make him suffer.
© Red Lace 2018