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Fortune's Pawn

5 stars
4,624 (30%)
4 stars
6,405 (42%)
3 stars
3,118 (20%)
2 stars
723 (4%)
1 star
301 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,859 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
January 6, 2015
Cotter leaned forward. “Where do you get off being such a bossy bitch?”
I looked him dead in the eyes. “I was born a bossy bitch, so you can either roll with it or get rolled over."

Normally, I wouldn't use the word "formula" in a book review for a good reason. Do any of us really want to read a novel that's formulaic? I would think not. However, Fortune's Pawn does something very interesting - it combines a breathtaking universe full of imagination, mysteries and new creatures... with that particular formula I love so much in adult UF series like Moning's Darkfever and Kane's Unholy Ghosts.

What is that formula?

Well, it goes something like this: totally unapologetic, badass heroine + fascinating supernatural (in this case "alien") creatures + mysteries within mysteries within mysteries + a touch of romance with a hot guy who isn't a complete douche + twists and turns + an ending that isn't a cliffhanger but leaves you desperate for more anyway.

There is no formula for a "good" book, obviously, but if you do this^ kinda shit well, then you are pretty much guaranteed to have me hooked. And Bach just completely nails it all: action, humour, sexual tension, and a mystery that will take the reader all the way across the universe and back. There's murder and sex and secrets... don't pretend you aren't intrigued ;)

The story opens with our heroine and narrator - Devi Morris - who is a fiery and ambitious mercenary. Not content to work her way up the ranks and be promoted to a desk job, she seeks out more exciting things, the top of the top, and her only way to get there is by joining the crew on The Glorious Fool, a ship famous for its high mortality rate. At first, all she wants to do is carry out her job and stay alive long enough to get the position she longs for, but life has other plans for her.

Devi gets pulled into a mystery that gets bigger with every chapter. People on her ship are up to something and she starts to wonder who she can really trust. Friendships are formed, sexual tension runs wild, betrayal could be around any corner.

But, for me, there is one huge winning factor of this book above all others: I love Devi Morris. She is officially up there with my favourite heroines of all time. I like her both because she's tough and smart, but also because she's delightfully flawed, sleeps with all the wrong guys, maintains a perfect level of sarcasm throughout, and drinks like a fish:

“I’m going to see if I can’t trick Cotter into playing us for serious money. You count the cards, I’ll bluff, and we’ll get enough out of him to keep us both in drinks for the next month.”
“But I don’t drink,” Nova said as I ushered her into the hall.
“That’s okay,” I assured her. “I’ll drink yours for you.”

I literally mean it when I say I couldn't put this book down. It's such a perfect balance of hard sci-fi and page-turning goodness. I can't wait to read the next one.

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Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 46 books128k followers
October 7, 2013
This book kicked ass, I loved the main characters, the mystery, the setting, the plot twists, I JUST LOVED IT! Perfect light sci-fi. If you like space stuff that isn't that complicated but highly entertaining, I give two thumbs up!
January 13, 2020
►► BR with the BBB gang starting September 14, 2015.

DNF at 48%

❣❣ A dedication: To all my friends who read and loved this book. I love you. I'm sorry I suck so much at BRs and have such crappy book taste. It's a wonder you haven't unfriended me yet.

Contrary to popular belief I do NOT actually enjoy DNFing books. Neither do I enjoy writing the corresponding reviews. Okay, that might be a slight lie. Might. Slight. More or less. You really do want me do say it, don't you? Fine, I'll say it: I always enjoy writing DNF reviews sometimes. Especially when OMG-I-can't-believe-I-was-stupid-enough-to-give-YA-another-try happens. Or when WTF-I-think-feminism-just-committed-suicide-again-this-must-be-Freaking-PNR happens. Because who doesn't like to rage/rant/vent once in a while? It's very healthy for one's poor little nerves. A good way to release the pressure and all that. But I digress. This book right here is unfortunately not the raging/ranting/venting kind of DNF. This book right here is this kind of DNF:

The kind where you find yourself wondering what the hell is wrong with you and why everyone but you seems to have loved the f@cking book. The kind where you end up checking the book cover every 5 minutes to make sure you didn't pick up the wrong book by mistake. Please let me sigh again here for good measure. Thank you.

���► Anyway, I'm going to make this quick because this was such a major meh-meh-meh-why-the-hell-am-I-reading-this-meh-meh-meh experience that I have little to say I about it. Here goes.

The Obnoxious Bitch: I couldn't stand Devi, the female lead. Because, unbeknownst to Rachel Bach, there is a difference between a badass heroine and an overly ambitious, egotistical, full of herself, braggy bitch.

The Unlikeable Bunch: I didn't like a single character in the story. Not. A. Single. One. They were boring, uninspired and flat. The author tried to come up with what she obviously thought was a very original cast of secondary characters but failed miserably. No Rachel Bach, making your second in command a freaking colourful chicken is not enough to keep me interested. It would be if you knew how to pull it off, but you obviously don't. No Rachel Bach, making Nova a Luna Lovegood clone is not what I would consider a very novel idea. Yes, Rachel Bach, I would appreciate it if you made the luurrrve interest a teensy little bit more captivating next time. Yes Rachel Bach, I would appreciate it if worked a teensy little bit on characterization next time. Not that I will ever read another one of your books. I'm just asking this of you on behalf of the poor, ignorant readers who will pick up one of them in the future. PS: Hyrek made me think of Vel Of The Sirantha Jax Disaster. This was doomed from the start.

The most boring, lackluster plot ever:

►► Now, let's be honest here. Because it's not ALL bad. Believe me, it's not. Well the book is, obviously. But my DNFing it isn't. No it's not! Want to know why? Because:

My DNFing this book at 48% means I missed the f@cking lovely romance between Devi and her OMG-you-are-so-f@cking-boring-and-uninteresting-no-I-am-not-intrigued-one-bit love interest. Go me.

My DNFing this book at 48% means I won't be reading the rest of the series. Meaning I won't experience the OMG-Rachel-Bach-why-did-you-have-to-f@cking-ruin-this-series-in-the-last-instalment trauma. Go me.

►► Hey, it sure looks like this DNFing business worked really well for me after all!

To those who will be continuing with the series: good luck with that. And please don't come crying when Rachel Bach pulls a Sirantha Jax on you {insert terrified screams of horror and dismay here}. That being said, my hand will be there for you to hold, should the need arise. I might suck at BRs but I'm still pretty good at being a friend. Sometimes.

Note to self: Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. You just don't listen, do you? How many times do I have to tell you? The fact that one of your favourite authors enjoyed a book doesn't necessarily mean you will, too. Remember Phoenix Rising? *starts shuddering uncontrollably* I thought so. Please keep this in mind before diving head first into a book because it came highly recommended by someone you slightly worship. Think Sarah, think.

[Pre-review nonsense #2]

DNF at 48%

Yes, I know. I did it again.

Yes, I know. I'm hopeless.

Yes, I promise to suck a little less in one of my next lives. Then again maybe not.

►► Gloriously fascinating review to come ← this is called sarcasm. Or irony. Or whatever ← just pointing this out because lots of people seem to be desperately and severely lacking sense of humour around here lately.

[Pre-review nonsense #1]

"If you liked Star Wars, if you like the Kate Daniels series, and if you are waiting for Guardians of the Galaxy to hit the theaters, this is your book."—Ilona Andrews

Need I say more? Didn't think so.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
November 17, 2017
Man, I blitzed right through this book both times I've read it. It's an incredibly quick read, in the tradition of the old pulp science fiction space opera novels, but with a kickass heroine rather than the guy this book would be about if it were written 50 years ago, and better technology.

Deviana Morris is a private mercenary soldier, one with super-high-tech-gee-whiz space armor and weapons that makes her the physical equivalent of any guy. Both her armor (Lady Gray) and her weapons (Sasha, Mia and Phoebe) have names, and she loves them more than any person in her life. Devi also has heaps of ambition, and what she wants most in life is to be invited to join the Devastators, the most elite armored unit on her planet. She's looking for the quickest way to become a Devastator, and taking a job as a security guard on a particularly dangerous trade freighter spaceship, the Glorious Fool, with its well-connected captain, promises to get her to her goal soonest -- if she can only survive.

The danger on the Glorious Fool turns out to be no joke. Captain Caldswell has a way of finding trouble and sending Devi and her partner Cotter (a macho dude with a huge set of armor and an ego to match) right into the worst of it. There are some weird characters (including a couple of aliens) on board the ship, and the ship's cook is a hot guy who's a bundle of mystery coated with sexiness and topped off with danger.

Devi has a take-no-prisoners attitude and a love for combat, and she has the guts and assertiveness to fit her role as a professional armored soldier. She also fights at the drop of a hat, drinks too hard, and unapologetically sleeps around. If you enjoy that kind of kickass main character, this is a very fun read, though it's not really deep or meaningful in any way, and the science part of the science fiction is pretty soft stuff. The mystery that slowly develops is an intriguing one with several facets to it ... but you won't get the answer to it in this book. Fortune's Pawn is the first book in a trilogy, and that is one serious cliffhanger at the end of it.

As much as I enjoyed this exciting space opera adventure with a large side of romance, it wasn't quite enough to send me diving into the next book (the mixed reviews for the rest of this series didn't help). But if I ever get a library card again, I'd be inclined to check them out.

A soft 4 stars.
Profile Image for Gail Carriger.
Author 55 books15k followers
November 3, 2016
I enjoyed Fortune's Pawn, although it is certainly the first in a series given the ending. Devi is a likeable character with a fun attitude toward life and a sweet modern approach to romance. The plot has some unexpected twists, but Devi never betrays herself or the reader. Neither the violence nor the sex got too graphic for me and both are used with intelligence and moderation in service to plot and character, and as such, never gratuitous.

Bach's writing style is fast paced, almost movie-like, with a light breezy touch. This book is not work, thank goodness. It's good solid fun.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,261 reviews8,752 followers
December 9, 2015
3.5 stars

Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

On the off-chance anyone hasn’t gotten the memo yet: A-L-I-E-N-S<——I love ‘em.

This is partially b/c when my grandmother (who I stayed with instead of going to daycare) wasn’t reading me fairy tales, I was watching PBS specials on the ocean or OUTER SPACE.

Which is why when I was in first grade and got asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “Astronaut.”

That not panning out didn’t make me bitter . . . It made me friggin’ love A-L-I-E-N-S.

I love good aliens, I love humans triumphing over bad aliens . . . I would totally be one of the idiots holding a sign and screaming for the aliens to beam me up should a spaceship ever appear in our atmosphere.

And one will someday, I can FEEL it.

I think the appeal lies in the infinite possibilities. It’s also what makes Science Fiction so much fun. It’s SCIENCE, so it could totally happen one day, but it’s also FICTION, so it’s free to stretch the bounds of credulity.

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach embraces both of those ideals beautifully.

Devi Morris is a seriously kick-ass female. Raised in a military society, she wants nothing more than to serve in the most elite company in existence. Trouble is, even though Devi is as hardcore as they come, she doesn’t have the experience. Doesn’t want to wait the standard 10 years to get it either. So she acts on a tip from a friend in the know, and signs on for a year-long stint on a notorious trade vessel.

If Devi survives her contract, she has it on good authority that the "right people" will be impressed.

From the beginning, it’s more than obvious that things on the Glorious Fool aren’t exactly what they seem. It doesn’t make sense that a simple trader would have such a high turnover rate for security officers (“turnover” is a euphemism for DEAD), and some of the crew are clearly keeping secrets . . . But Devi is determined to keep her nose out of not-her-business—there is a giant pit full of inquisitive mercenaries somewhere, and Devi doesn’t want to jeopardize her future.

She does want to kick A-L-I-E-N ass.

And she gets to. Often. Her most frequent target is the pirating, insect (of course) breed of alien. They live in “hive” ships. They’re basically giant, sentient exoskeletons, so killing them is virtually impossible (requires a between-the-eyes shot).

So how do Paradoxians like Devi compensate for being so outclassed?

Really cool armor, that’s how.

Devi used two entire years’ salary to purchase her own (rather than just using whatever her employer hands out) armor. She can put it on in 19 seconds flat. The individual pieces lock together in such a way that there are virtually no vulnerabilities. It makes her stronger, faster, acts on its own to prevent injury if she’s getting slung around. If she somehow does manage to get injured, it takes measures to prevent further injury—seals off wounds, injects with adrenaline, etc. The visor of her helmet constantly scrolls all kinds of information, and can zoom onto targets at just a thought from the wearer.

It’s like wearing an incapable of speech Night Rider car (KITT)<——pret-ty dang cool.

But the most impressive part of this book is it’s consistency.

Devi’s priority is ALWAYS meeting her career goals. She may get distracted momentarily, but she always realizes it quickly, and immediately makes adjustments. My #1 character pet peeve is waffling. LOATHE it. And not only is Devi consistent, ALL of the other characters are too.

The nonstop action is also a major selling point. Something is always happening, and that something is relevant to the overall plotline—none of the action is superfluous; it all serves a purpose.

But what is that purpose?

Well, I have a pretty good idea, but I can’t tell you for certain yet.

Which brings me to the one and only reason that I am glad to be behind the pack in reading this series—CLIFFHANGER ending. But never fear, the series has already concluded with all installments available to you at the click of a button (oh, how I LOVE the electronic age).

So yeah, this book ends in a cliffy, and it is a doozy. There are also unanswered questions, but the kinds of unanswered questions that are typical of a first-in-series, not the type that have you scratching your head, trying to figure out what in the bloody heck is going on. Like I said, I have a good idea about that, I just don’t know to what end yet, but I’m not supposed to, so it’s cool.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely. I would recommend it to anyone who loves heroines of the kick-ass persuasion, scifi, A-L-I-E-N-S, and all of that with a nice dash of romance. Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach is an excellent start to what I am convinced is an excellent series.
Profile Image for Experiment BL626.
209 reviews351 followers
July 19, 2016
This book was great, but there were a few things that could have been done a lot better.

What I Didn’t Like

+ the romance

I did not care an ounce for the romance between Devi and Rupert. Of all the men Devi had met in her life, as someone who traveled a lot and was in a field dominated by men which meant she was surrounded by men at all time, she had to go fall for Rupert who is one of the worst men that she could have fallen for. It’s not because Rupert is a bad person; to the contrary, he’s a fucking Gary Stu. It’s because he cannot be more unavailable for romance. I hated how for most of the book, the romance was one-sided on Devi’s end. In addition, Rupert is a danger to Devi and he can easily ruin her career goal to become a Devastator, a dream she has worked to hell for, because of who he is and his duties.

+ the love interest

Who is Rupert? Well, as I said he is a Gary Stu. He’s tall and handsome. He cooks. He protects Ren, the Captain’s mute little girl. He fights better than he lets on, better than anyone Devi, a super tough heroine who has fought countless people and things, has ever known that it seems so... inhuman. He’s mysterious. *gags* I felt like a wishlist of traits in the perfect marriageable man was being checked off as Rupert was developed as a character, and ironically the dude is not even available for romance so fuck marriage.

Upon revelation, readers learn Rupert is a self-torturous soul who is forced to choose between doing his duties and being with his first love that is Devi. When I learned that, I immediately thought, “Am I reading a science-fiction or a cheesy romance set in a science-fiction?” Oh my gawd, the romance was so cheesy!

+ the romance, part 2

The romance was also forced. Rupert’s reasons for falling in love with Devi were flimsy as straws; it was borderline instalove. Devi was unlike anyone Rupert had ever met. Bitch please! With Devi, I was baffled how a self-proclaimed commitment-phobe could suddenly for the first time in her life not only fall in love but to fall in love with someone, as said before, who could not be more unavailable for romance. Devi could have chosen Anthony who she had known for a long time and trusts and does her favors (which she doesn’t even return), Anthony who loved her and made his intention of wanting a commitment with her clear, Anthony who has the look, the job, and the money, etc. But oh no, Devi had to choose the guy who made it clear he cannot be with her, and she was willing to risk everything for him when he clearly said he could not do the same. Have some self-respect, Devi. Have a fucking bucket of self-respect.

The only silver lining was that Anthony wasn’t pulled along in Devi’s romance shitfest and appeared only twice in the book, both times briefly. No stupid love triangle, at least.

+ the ending

And the ending. What the fuck? Basically, the plot shoved Devi back to step one and now in book two readers will be forced to go through the romance shitfest between her and Rupert ALL OVER AGAIN. No. Just... no. I kind of hope Rupert is one of the characters that gets killed. The ending left a sour taste of what was mostly an enjoyable read if you put aside the romance shitfest.

What I Did Like

+ the heroine

A friend told me a Goodreads reviewer described the heroine as a Kate Daniels in space. Kate Daniels? In Space? I love Kate Daniels! This book turned from “mildly interesting, read it when in a scifi mood” to “very interesting, read it over the weekend.” The description was accurate much to my pleasure. Devi was every bit the kickass heroine I expected. The things that made Devi different from Kate was her ambition, her reverence for her Paradoxian heritage and monarch, her respect towards authority, her fondness for the drink, and her proud attitude towards sex. When Deviana Morris wants some, she gets some, whether it be drink or sex. Screw you, double standard. I loved her unrestrained attitude.

I also loved that she was nobody’s fool. Devi knew when to follow her instincts and when to ignore them for the sake of continual deception and her career. She didn’t put complete trust in the Final World Lock, her Paradoxian armor suit’s black box, and had a backup black box called a Mercenary’s Bargain even though it was illegal as death. The woman was prepared and practical, completely believable as a mercenary.

+ the world building

I wasn’t as lost as I thought I was going to be because the book was hard science fiction with alien races and intergalactic conflicts. It didn’t take me more than a few chapters before I tightly grasped what was going on and who was who and of what alien race and loyalty. The world building was very solidly done. The geopolitical landscape read genuinely like world news you would see on BBC or CNN except the setting is in the distant future and there are aliens in the mix.

You had your intelligent and big-ego-to-match bird-like aliens, the aeons, your hunts-and-eats-other-aliens lizard-like aliens, the xith’cal, your mysterious hardly-ever-seen jellyfish-like aliens, the lelgis. Of course, there are humans, and they separated into Terrans and Paradoxians, the former a republic, the latter a monarchy. But it’s not just humans who have factions, I also got to learn of a few in other alien races. As it is with humans, just because you are of the same species doesn’t mean you share the same loyalty. There were as many intraspecies conflicts as there were interspecies ones.

The world building didn’t say there was a war going on but there were “military conflicts,” government conspiracies, biological weapons, blah blah, the usual shit you read on worlds news, except as you know, with aliens in the mix. That said, sometime aliens do get along with each other as the case is with the Glorious Fool.

+ the other characters

As a reader, I have a pretty hard time tracking characters but this book did not give me any hardship. Every character of the Glorious Fool was distinguishable and memorable. I love the sense of humor which underlaid the character development. Take for example, Hyrek. One would think the last character to be the ship’s doctor, I repeat: the ship’s doctor, is of a race who eats people, but yet there was Hyrek, a xith’cal doctor, a genderqueer xith’cal doctor.

Hell, some of the characters I least expected to like I actually came to like. Nova, full name: Novascape Starchild (yes, really), helped man the ship’s bridge. She was developed as this sheltered girl who came from, um, a religious group to put it kindly if you catch my drift. Of course, I quickly saw that beneath the sweet hippie surface was someone who actually thought for herself and there was a perfectly good reason for the existence of the religious group. Psychics are in the house!

Cotter was the other half of the security team which Devi served on, and dude was a stereotypical sexist thug whose brain was only capable of seeing things to kill and killing them. I expected there to be a lot of drama and spats between Devi and her antithesis of a co-worker, but surprisingly there were none. Cotter was a wee smarter than I thought and didn’t need more than one asskicking lesson to accept the fact that Devi was the top dog. Cotter grew on me. He grew on me more than I thought because what happened to him at the end, I was... sad.

I came to care for all the members of the Glorious Fool, yes including Rupert as much as he annoyed me. Dude did save Devi’s life a bunch of times, and I like Devi alive. With Captain Caldswell, I have mixed feelings to be honest even though there are good reasons to despise him. I have mixed feelings because I have yet to learn his side of the story. I’m not ready to condemn him just on Devi and Rupert’s side of the story alone. But I think this is a good thing because it means his character is dimensional.

+ the plot

Putting aside the romance, I liked everything about the plot. I liked how the plot balanced between the slow times and the fast times. I never felt bored at all. My favorite parts were when Devi tried to uncover conspiracies, and we readers learn what Devi learned was only the tip of the iceberg. I foresee epicness.

There are a lot of things in play, and it could have been confusing, which is why I am really thankful that the book was strictly narrated from Devi’s first person viewpoint.


I rate Fortune’s Pawn 3-stars for I liked it. While the yucky romance cost the book a star, the book remains a great read. I actually think the current book description doesn’t do enough to advertise how action and intrigue-filled the book is. If you’re in the mood for science-fiction promising epicness and love kickass heroines, give a Fortune’s Pawn a try.

Review of book 2: Honor's Knight
Profile Image for Sanaa.
413 reviews2,552 followers
January 24, 2016
[4 Stars] I adored this book. It wasn't perfect by any means. For example I'm not quite sure how I feel about the romance, and I did feel like at times during this book we were just really left in the dark. That being said, I flew through it! I particularly loved Devi, all of the cool space opera world building, and getting to slowly know the characters. I'm excited to move on with the trilogy for sure!
Profile Image for Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf).
473 reviews288 followers
December 20, 2015
I really should read more sci-fi. I really enjoy it! And this book... HOLY MACARONI!!! What a FANTASTIC book! WARNING - ENTHUSIASTIC RANT AHEAD!

Meet Devi! Our smart, strong and BUTT KICKING heroine. Devi is an armoured soldier and leaves her prestigious position to take a security job on the Glorious Fool, a trade ship. For some reason security personnel that serve on this ship tend to do well for themselves, and she is determined to be a devastator - an elite type of armed guard that protect the king himself . The highest position that an armoured guard can get to. And Devi is ambitious. On the Glorious Fool the people she encounters are not what they seem. The Captain is something more than a trader, his daughter is more than a little girl, and the cook is more than a cook. But she has no idea what their secrets are. And she is going to find out and use the information to become a devastator. If she doesn't die first.

This book was fantastic! My synopsis doesn't do it justice! Think Firefly, crossed with Battlestar Galactica. It was AMAZING! Mystery, violence, sexual tension, thrills, comedy, aliens, space travel... And this is just the first book!

And the audio book! WOW! Think I have a new favourite. I couldn't stop listening! I loved every minute of it! Emily Durante did such a fantastic job as the sarcastic mercenary!

Devi is an awesome character. Yes it has a little clichéd powerful Buffy/Alien type thing going on, but I love reading about the awesome strong female character. The dialogue was so entertaining, as was the fact that she drunk way too much and made mistakes and wasn't perfect. She is the best female lead character I have read about in a long time!

The romance was fabulous! I have read a few reviews complaining about the large romantic aspect of this novel, but I think it absolutely made it! It still would have been interesting without it, but added an extra dimension that I loved. Plus, I love a good dose of romance and sex in a book!

Another star of the book was Devi's armoured suit "Lady". It was almost a character itself. I thought it was so clever and I loved that it was like an extension of her body.

Oh I just loved this book! I'm already listening to the second!

Would I recommend it?

Yes! For any science fiction fan, and also for sci-fi newbies! Those who want a good, easy to read, fabulous story! And I absolutely recommend the audio version, which is the best one I have listened to so far!

"But fair warning, being drunk doesn't slow down my head shots."

For more reviews visit my blog


Profile Image for TS Chan.
719 reviews884 followers
June 7, 2019
A full trilogy review.

The one thing I'll always credit Rachel Bach/Aaron with is her ability to thoroughly entertain me with her stories, and the Paradox trilogy is yet another proof of that.

By now, most of you will already know that I swear by Rachel Aaron's books. They are go-to comfort reads; I've never picked up one of her books and not found it enjoyable. Her knack of creating great characters is matched by her ability to create worlds which at first glance seemed familiar but is packed with imagination. It's as if her love of all things geeky brought together some pretty cool influences in her worldbuilding.

For example, Paradox is the name of a planet; named as such because in spite of it's super advanced space-faring people, it runs on a feudal system and the people worship a divine god-king. For this, Aaron mentioned heavy influence from Warhammer 40k. And I believe it's not only in respect of the god-king, but the powered armours worn by the operatives.

There is so much more cool stuff in this universe, which I'll only briefly mention because the fun is in the discovery. Aside from the usual spacey stuff like space stations, battleships, hyperspace travel, and aliens (will come back to this later), there is the existence of a type of 'energy' which is wielded almost like magic. Some humans are more sensitive or powerful at using it, while most are not. The aliens form the best part of the worldbuilding, I kid you not. We have a physically superior yet brutally violent lizard-like race, an avian species who are known as the best space navigators, and alien beings of almost pure energy. Two of these species play a very significant role in the narrative and made it a no-holds-barred intergalactic conflict with truly dire consequences.

Deviana Morris, the main character of this trilogy is a badass, in-your-face female mercenary who loves her powered space armour and weapons so much that she named them and proclaimed that she'll hold a funeral for them when they go out of commission. Aaron mentioned that her inspiration for Devi ranged from Toph Beifong from Avatar: The Last Airbender, to Paksenarrion from Elizabeth Moon's Deed of Paksenarrion, Killashandra from Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer series, and Ellen Ripley from the Alien movies.

It may be too easy to classify Devi as a Mary Sue character, but I think she is a bit more complex than that. Yes, she is a badass fighter who got to where she is with a combination of skill, implacable determination and burning ambition. However, with her story told from the first person perspective, her inner voice (which can be quite funny sometimes) gave out a sense of self-awareness and vulnerability underlying all that bravado. Especially when the romance angle started to take shape in the story. While I won't say that the love story dominated the narrative, it was one of the pivotal arcs of Devi's character development. I believed that Devi's choices and motivations are partially influenced by her romantic entanglement. I'm not a fan of romance novels, and as some parts of these books read like one, it became a bit of a distraction. Admittedly, it did make tear up a bit in the end. So I'm not heartless after all.

Once you take away the romance though, these books are filled with high-octane space-faring action that is worthy of a blockbuster movie. The concluding climax was an adrenaline-pumping and breathtaking non-stop action sequence involving aliens and a top-secret government space station armed to the teeth. And what's at stake? Pretty much the whole universe if Devi was wrong.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading these books and tore through them at my usual speed when it comes to one of this author's books. Her writing is so accessible that it is easy to breeze through her books. One more thing I need to mention is the way the story builds up from one title to the next. Rachel Aaron never seemed to let subplots creep in to divert the story away from the main narrative and kept the momentum going all the way. The first book alluded to secrets and started dropping clues. A lot of the answers came in the sequel, but it was left to the concluding volume for the real revelations to come forth. In short, masterful pacing and storytelling which culminated in a satisfactory ending.

You can purchase the books from Amazon | Book Depository (Free shipping worldwide)

You can also find this, and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for Melki.
6,047 reviews2,390 followers
January 8, 2020
Even as the symbiont pushed me down, part of me couldn't believe this was happening. Counting my initial attack, I'd shot this bastard four times at point-blank range in the head. Even a Devastator would have gone down under fire like that, but while the symbiont was bleeding now, the blood red and human looking as it splattered across my visor, the head wound didn't seem to slow it down at all.

Looking for a rip-roaring shoot-em-up featuring a tough-talking female mercenary who names her guns? There probably aren't too many to choose from, so I'd recommend this one.

In the hopes of advancing her military career, Devi signs on for one year as a security guard on a merchant ship - a "cursed" ship (dun-dun-DUN!) that sees a lot of action, AND a lot of casualties. There's mucho alien-shootin' action, a juicy mystery as to what exactly is the ship's mission, and a so-so romance that at least serves to advance the plot.

This was a good beginner book for science fiction novices like me who like a yummy space adventure, but don't want to get bogged down with a lot of tech. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the trilogy.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,645 reviews1,512 followers
September 18, 2015
2.5 Stars

This book is O.K. I didn’t love it or hate it. My problem is that I don’t really like Devi and everything is from her PoV. Maybe I’ve just been hanging out with Heroines like Kate Daniels, Nevada Baylor, Vin, Sirantha Jax (before the ), Jasnah Kholin and MacKayla Lane and so she never stood a chance.

The best thing about all of those heroines is that yes they Kick-Ass but they also have some underlying personality traits that make them easy to relate too and likeable even when they are being mean, stubborn or killing those around them. I never felt that way about Devi and I should have I mean she has some cool mechanical suit that lets her kick butt and take names but honestly she wasn’t really a likable character to me.



I should love her. She is a warrior with a metal suit that likes to kill aliens Ellen Ripley. But she is totally in it for her career, where most of the heroines that I’ve mentioned before are in it either for survival or to save the people they care about. Should it matter that it is only about her career….well it shouldn’t but it does since as soon as a guy comes along she totally forgets about it.

Other Characters on Board the Glorious Fool:

There was so much potential here. With a second in command co-pilot who was a cross between Big Bird and Kevin from Up,

A sexy cook who has some sort of military past and blue eyes that can look right into Devi’s soul….okay so that part was a little annoying.

Nova the navigator who might be a little too attuned with space and definitely gives off that Luna Lovegood vibe,


A cannibal lizard medical doctor who just might eat you followed by the mysterious captain and his “daughter” who I think was the creepiest person in the story.

It should have been great! Those are a lot of cool characters to work with but I never really got into it. Besides the building tension between Devi and Rupert there wasn’t much to the rest of the characters.

The Plot:

It took forever for anything to really happen. We were almost at 50% before there is a real conflict and just when I was getting excited about the mystery of why time was behaving funny, what are the captain and crew really up to (because they are definitely not traders) and what is with the weird alien creature hanging out with Ren (the Captain’s creepy Daughter) Devi just drops it. She goes on as if she didn’t just see a bunch of crazy stuff just happen that everyone is trying to cover up and life of the ship goes on as normal. *Sigh*

So I wait to see where the story is going and it is just random fight, hurried sex scene followed by a contrived interference in the romance by the Captain and brooding by our completely career driven character that is now completely in love with a man that may or may not be extremely dangerous to her.

Still I’d say that the last 20% got really interesting and I was super excited about the new developments in the story and getting really excited about continuing on with the series until… *throws up a little in my mouth*

I thought Devi had proved that she was an asset to whatever it is the captain and crew are up too. I thought she had totally proved her loyalty and so the fact that it was was a little over the top.

Overall Wrap Up:

I didn’t get into the MC and so I probably didn’t like this as much as I could have. I DID like the idea of space and some of the species of Aliens that where touched on as well as plasmex. I’d like to learn more about those but this is one of those series that I’ll only continue if the rest of the series goes on sale or is available at the library.

Even though I didn’t like it Sh3lly totally did since she decided to think of it as a space soap opera and you can check out her 5 star review Here
Profile Image for Lindsey Rey.
286 reviews2,709 followers
May 1, 2015
[4.5 Stars]
REALLY LOVED THIS ONE!!! I highly recommend it and I can't wait to read the next one! My only complaints are -
1. Although there wasn't very much romance in this book, I feel like the relationship between the two characters was underdeveloped in the first half of the book to the point that certain things the characters say, do, and think in the second half of the book feel weird or out of place.
2. This book is pretty predictable and I think that the pacing of the foreshadowing and the reveals is done a little bit awkwardly, so at certain points I rolled my eyes at the "twists".
But like I said, overall I absolutely loved it. This is the first physical book I was able to read in a while. It was so easy to read, super fast-paced, and a lot of fun! I really liked Devi and can't wait to know her better. I am really intrigued to see what will happen next and where the plot will go!
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
737 reviews1,264 followers
September 15, 2016
Trilogy Review: I LOVED this series. It solidified Rachel Bach (a.k.a. Rachel Aaron) as one of my go-to authors for a guaranteed good read. Seriously – there’s nothing this woman can’t do! “The Paradox Trilogy” is her only sci-fi/space opera series thus far, but she also wrote the “Eli Monpress” fantasy series (which has amazing world-building, humor, and characters you’ll never forget) and the “Heartstrikers” series (which is an urban fantasy about a clan of badass dragons, and one nice dragon who doesn’t quite fit in). The bottom line is, I have yet to be anything short of completely dazzled by everything Rachel Bach has written, and “The Paradox Trilogy” might be my favorite yet!

It starts off with an excellent character – Devi, a young woman mercenary who has one goal: to join the King’s elite Devastators. To show her worth, she applies for the most dangerous job she can find – a security position on Captain Caldwell’s “Golden Fool” trading ship, guaranteed to test her limits. And it only gets more exciting from there.

Bach presents a universe with dynamic and beautifully imagined aliens who make the entire structure of the story memorable. I like sci-fi novels and television shows that focus on technology and human advancement, but it’s the ones with expansive world-building and creature creation that I really love. “The Paradox Trilogy” had, in my opinion, excellent aliens with totally different compositions, motives, and impacts on the story. It’s by far my favorite element to this series.

Another thing I loved is the story’s great pacing. It’s definitely a page-turner with loads of action and excitement. I found it difficult to put down, even in the wee hours of the night. And yet, amongst all the conflicts, the author still managed to include a compelling love story. It occasionally got a little eye-rolling for my tastes, but overall provided a great balance to the heavier fight scenes.

Basically, “The Paradox Trilogy” is now one of my all-time favorites, and I can’t help but feel like nothing I write will do it justice, short of totally gushing. I’ll spare you, but take my word for it – this series is well worth a try! Fair warning: sexual content and mild violence.

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at
Profile Image for Cheesecake.
2,718 reviews391 followers
August 12, 2022
Revisited this one and even though I know what's going to happen, I still loved the intrigue.
Gonna move on to the second book in a couple days.
I SOOOOOOO wish the 3rd book had been turned into an audiobook, I mean why would they make audiobooks of only the first 2 books in a trilogy? Jerks
Finally started. I got the audiobook and the reader, Emily Durante is great.
But I am so going to listen to the next one!
(P.S. I totally enjoyed all three books!)

Loved Devi. Gonna be one of my all time fave heroines. She kicks ass without apology, but knows when to apologize. She's not perfect, but she doesn't expect anyone else to be either.
I don't want to give anything away as there's a lot of intrigue and mystery. Yes there's romance and yes it is sweet but forbidden.
Devi is a Paradoxian who dreams of working for the King's almost mythical guard... the Devastators. Her stepping stone to this goal is to work as security on a strange trade ship called 'Fortune's Pawn' but better known to those in the business, as the floating coffin...
A strange rag tag crew of aliens and some questionable business.
Profile Image for Michael.
1,094 reviews1,541 followers
May 16, 2014
This military space opera was a lot of fun, and it felt fresh while raising some fine nostalgia as a classic tale. It taps into the long sci fi traditions of heroes who are hard on the outside and chewy on the inside. In this case the kick-ass lead space soldier is a female mercenary, Devi. Her ambition is to gain enough credentials to get into a job with an elite special forces operation. She takes a gamble on a position as security officer with an armed merchant ship, one that has a reputation of getting into lots of dangerous altercations.

The book has some cool aliens, starting with the navigator, which reminds Devi of a big turkey, and a ship doctor who is a lizard-like xith’cal, both with quirky personalities. The military tech behind her smart armor is slick, and an attack by unfriendly xith’cal pirates soon shows us what her favorite weapons can do. She loves them so much she gives them names, her anti-armor pistol for precise destruction, her plasma shotgun for broader devastation, and her thermite sword when something tough needs chopping into pieces. For love interest, she avoids her brawny young partner and instead gets gaga over the handsome, brainy cook, Rupert. But Rupert is not what he seems, and the ship seems to be involved in clandestine activities she can’t quite get a handle on. And the desperate and dangerous intrigue and battles the crew gets into leaves her wondering whether she is fighting instead of against the bad guys.

In an interview at the end of the book, Bach explains that she developed Devi as an extension of characters portrayed by writers like Elizabeth Moon and Anne McAffery and Ripley from the Alien movie. I delighted in her tough but emotionally vulnerable character. The pleasures of thrilling combat are balanced by the need for her to use her wits as much as her weapons. My main objection is the way that most of the mysteries are left unresolved at the end as a set-up to make you pursue the next book in the series, which is up to three so far. I ran into the same thing with Westerfield’s “Leviathan.” Series are fine, but I would feel less rooked if each book attempts to have some sense of independence and completeness and not just serve as chapters of one long story.
Profile Image for Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker.
596 reviews379 followers
January 4, 2014
What the hell? How did I go from really disliking this book to loving it so much that I would mark it down as one of my favorites? No time for a review just know this book was absolutely fucking fantastic.
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,073 reviews2,635 followers
January 20, 2014
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Rachel Bach is also Rachel Aaron, an author who put herself on my radar earlier this year after I read The Spirit Thief, the excellent first book of her fantasy series The Legend of Eli Monpress. That novel really impressed me with its light-hearted yet suspenseful story, not to mention the fun, down-earth-characters. So while we may be heading to a place a little beyond earth's atmosphere this time around, I had good a feeling that Fortune's Pawn would be just as enjoyable and entertaining.

Fortune's Pawn introduces us to Deviana "Devi" Morris, a Paradoxian mercenary not content to settle for anything less than the best -- and the best, to her, is a position with the Devastators, the elite armored branch of the king's fighting force. But achieving such a decorated post won't be easy, and Devi knows she will need a lot more experience to even get herself noticed.

Following a tip from a friend, Devi applies for a job on the Glorious Fool, a tiny trade vessel with a reputation for being a "cursed ship". Trouble seems to always follow the Fool, and it is said that one year of security work there is equal to five years anywhere else. If experience is what the Devastators want, Devi figures there's no better place to get it. After all, she's confident her skills can get her through anything.

Not entirely true, of course, as we the readers can expect. Secrets and a multitude of dangers await Devi, the kind she never would have thought to prepare for in a million years, Now, what's this? Romance in my science fiction? Oh boy, I was tickled pink when I found out, practically cackling and rubbing my hands together with glee. This is one instance where the addition of a romantic arc was definitely most welcome. I didn't think much of Devi at first, being all brawn and ambition, but throw in her feelings for Rupert Charkov, the Glorious Fool's sexy, charming and mysterious cook and suddenly she became a much more interesting and deeper character.

The plot, which I also thought would be rather simple and straightforward, took a few startling turns as well. To be honest, I'd picked this one up as a palate cleanser after my recent string of emotionally-heavy books, fully expecting it to be mind-candy I'd been looking for -- quick, uncomplicated and fun. I had anticipated a few action scenes involving high-tech battles with aliens to be the highlight of Fortune's Pawn, but much to my surprise, I quickly discovered a lot more below the surface. The book is indeed a lot of fun so I got what I wanted, but there's also an intriguing mystery here, a teasing thread that gave the story that extra boost and made it more special.

In any case, Fortune's Pawn was exactly what I needed, with its strong protagonist and her candid narrative, a colorful and interesting supporting cast (a crew member who is essentially a giant chicken as the ship's second? Brilliant!) and the story's dynamic, spirited pace. All this made it a great book that was really hard to put down.
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,343 reviews1,015 followers
October 17, 2018
Buddy read with Buddies, Books and Baubles group starts 14th September

Devi is a mercenary, she has trained hard and is one of the best at what she does but her goal has always been to become a Devastator, one of the elite band who guard the king. She has the skills but what she is lacking is years of experience in the field and now she's looking for a way to get accepted faster. When a friend tips her off that spending a year guarding The Glorious Fool will automatically qualify her dream role she jumps at the chance. Surely looking after one tiny trade ship will be a walk in the park for someone like her? It quickly becomes clear that all is not what it seems on The Glorious Fool though and it's not just her career on the line but also her life.

It took me a while to warm up to Devi, there is no doubt that she's a fierce warrior who is incredibly skilled with her weapons but she knows it and that makes her quite arrogant and full of herself. She isn't the easiest person to like in the beginning and I initially worried that she'd be an all talk and no action kind of girl but happily she proved me completely wrong on many occasions and she has all the skill she brags about and then some. Seeing her in action was quite something but it was slowly seeing her start to relax and warm up around the crew that I really liked. She has a nicer side it's just one she keeps hidden deep.

The crew of The Glorious Fool is quite an eccentric mix of humans and different types of alien species. Everyone seems to be keeping their own secrets and they all have very different strengths and abilities. Some are more trustworthy than others but you get the feeling all along that there is a lot going on under the surface and we're only just starting to dig into that. Rachel Bach has created a detailed society with a lot of different alien races, each with complex rules and customs. The story moves at a fairly fast pace and it definitely kept me interested from beginning to end. My main complaint was that the romance felt a little rushed and unbelievable, I liked the character that Devi was involved with but I think their relationship could have done with a slower burn. The ending more than made up for that though and I have a feeling that this series is going to go from strength to strength.
Profile Image for Brandi.
329 reviews800 followers
March 10, 2014

This is one of those books that I live for: it’s got a kickass heroine, a badass setting, fast paced writing, a fully realized world, colorful cast mates, and an engrossing romance. I loved this book. The author said in an interview (included in the Kindle version) that,
“I am a huge, huge fan of in-your-face, make-no-apologies female badasses,”
and I think that is what sets this book apart from so many other space operas. Rachel Bach wrote this book just for me and I love her for it.

I’ve been out of my normal book scene for some months completely engrossed beyond all reason with massive epic fantasies, and they’ve been amazing, but I have missed books like this- so much. I love the fast pace and action, not to mention the snark, humor, and romantic tension. I know a few people aren’t very satisfied with the romance in this story, and I can see why, but for me it was great- just not enough, lol. The two of them didn’t come together with a lightning strike of the souls or anything like that, no, instead Devi is honest about the fact that she was merely attracted to him until she spent enough time to be become enamored with him. I thought it was great, and I felt for both of them, especially since there was clearly more difficulty than usual in their being even lovers.

Basically the story is about Devi, a merc who is very career driven and unapologetic in her desires in all areas, and as she’s attempting to keep her career on the fast track it’s already on, she takes a risk on a ship known for funneling people where she’s always wanted to be. Things are not as simple though and soon enough Devi learns that she’s in well over her head. Will she live long enough to see her risk pay off, or will everything be for naught?

If you love stories with any of the elements in them that I’ve mentioned you need to stop what you’re doing – right now I mean – and get this book. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Friends don't let friends miss out on amazball books.
Profile Image for HBalikov.
1,788 reviews675 followers
March 21, 2023
“Deviana Morris,” I said, pronouncing each syllable as crisply as I could. “I go by Devi.”

Meet Deviana Morris, a combat veteran who wants to move up the ladder ASAP. There’s no where to go in her current job so she’s looking for the right opportunity. "Anthony said, his voice deadly serious. “I’ve seen you fight, remember? That’s not something you forget. But this is the fast and dangerous route, Devi. I know you’re ambitious enough for any five normal mercs, but there’s nothing wrong with a life of being safe, prosperous, and happy.”
“I am happy,” I said, pulling out a pen and writing the dock number from the ad on the back of my hand. “And the faster I get to be a Devastator, the happier I’ll be.”

We learn early in this fast-paced military sci-fi novel what motivates this woman. We later learn how much adversity she can take on, including:
"As my senses adjusted, my suit became an extension of my own body. I could feel the floor under my armored knees and the slick surface of my suit beneath the articulated joints of my gloves like I was touching it with my own fingers. All my systems flickered on the edge of my thoughts: ammo, power, maps, chat systems—even my music—were all ready and waiting to flick into my field of vision the second I thought of them."

"I looked him dead in the eyes. “I was born a bossy bitch, so you can either roll with it or get rolled over. Your choice, sunshine, but remember, (he) already treats me as lead because I shot first on the bridge, and I haven’t led us wrong since. Stick behind me and all you’ll need to do is follow orders and be a good merc. Try to pull ahead, and your life’s going to get a whole lot more complicated.”"

This novel doesn’t break new ground in topic or format. It is well within the bounds of a “classic sci-fi, military, tale.” And, that’s a virtue in this case because Bach knows how to seed the plot with interesting characters, species and mysteries. If there are short-comings they lay with the consistency of tone. I like the writings of Elizabeth Moon and Ilona Andrews but this books starts out like a Moon and then shifts more and more toward Andrews. The plotting is fine and the species interesting but the dialogue is never more than adequate.

I am not sure that she has the winning formula for a series but this initial “Paradox” novel was interesting enough that I might grab the next sometime in the future
Profile Image for Lizzy.
305 reviews166 followers
March 21, 2018
** 2.5 stars **

Sorry funs of Fortune's Pawn, the first of Rachel Bach's Paradox Series was a disappointment. The major problem for me was that I simply didn't like Devi. I found her superficial and couldn't empathize with the character. It read almost as if Devi was a secondary character. The world building also presented nothing new or extraordinary.

Despite all that, it was a fair read: adventure with some mystery and light romance. Still unsure if I will read the next installment of the Paradox series.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,479 reviews19.5k followers
April 3, 2017
Yoooo, I LOVED this. Perfect mix of serious badass sci-fi and romance. The romance was a bit much at times so if that isn't your thing it may bug you, but I personally love me some romance so I was ALL about this. I cannot wait to carry on with this series, oh man.
Profile Image for mich.
651 reviews234 followers
September 28, 2014
Devi Morris is a legit badass and I think I’ve got the beginnings of a girl crush on her. I'll even go so far as to say that her level of badassery reminds me a bit of Kate Daniels (and please don't think for a second that I make KD comparisons lightly). And while Devi's character doesn't have the depth or heart that Kate does, the things she does have to offer -- ambition, confidence, and the abilities to back her shit up -- made it impossible for me to not love her.

And I don’t know if it’s because of the Kate comparison that my brain drew with Devi that caused it, but this book somehow read like UF to me, notwithstanding that it was straight up science fiction. Not saying that I don't like science fiction (cuz I do), but this UF vibe or feel or whatever you want to call it added just the right something something and I LOVED IT.

I’m not gonna re-hash the blurb or the plot, I’ll just say that this book has it all: a heroine I can really get behind, thrilling action, cool world building, lots of mystery, and romance (but ok, this last one I will say -- I wasn’t a fan of it.)

The romance in this book was the weakest thing about it in my opinion and if it had been left out completely, I would not have missed it one tiny bit. For the most part, I felt like their chemistry was really lacking. Their relationship just wasn't built up adequately enough for me to be invested in it. And things got a bit melodramatic at times, which didn't fit in with the overall feel of the story.

Luckily, there's enough awesomeness in all the other stuff going on in this book that I can effectively forgive this one shortfalling. And honestly, the awesomeness of Devi alone could make up for a lot more than that.

Anyway, I think it’s pretty hard to get a snarky, badass heroine that stands out these days. Too many authors try to do it and a lot of times I feel like the result just ends up being a pretty generic, run-of-the-mill character. But Devi stood out for me and I don’t know what else to say except I’m all in baby! I will follow this chick on her adventures and I’m really looking forward to seeing where things go from here. There are LOTS of loose ends in this book --actually, that's an understatement. I have a mountain of questions and I’m hoping to get some of my answers in the sequel, hopefully in the same fun, exciting fashion as this one.

Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,564 reviews2,937 followers
February 2, 2018
This is a book I picked up off of my TBR in amongst all my other reading and I am very happy I did so...

It's a great SF story with a fun concept of Merc, battle suits, high-technology and inter-dimension travel. We follow Devi who is a Merc who wants to become a Devastator, and to do this she has to prove herself by working on board an incredibly dangerous ship with a small crew and a Captain who keeps many secrets...

The story in this book is certainly more romance-heavy than some of the stories I usually see in SF, and the main character is a little silly for love at some moments (though aren't we all) and so this wasn't my favourite element, but one thing that did surprise me was the fact that I did take interest in this part of the book and I did enjoy it.

The ending of the story is a little bit odd and I think it felt a little bit like a cop-out to me. Without spoiling anything I have to say that I was a little disappointed there wasn't more of a climax, and yet I think in book 2 and 3 we may well see the results of book 1 coming through.

The space-battle-action is full-on and fn within this book, and there's also some things which may even be described as magic more than science. I liked it a lot and I look forward to learning more about the machinery, crazy suits and weird creatures in the next few books.

Overall, I definitely had a lot of fun with this one and it kept me engaged throughout as a light but enjoyable SF should. This was well worth a read and I plan to continue the series for sure. 3.5*s overall.
Profile Image for Cathryn.
335 reviews66 followers
September 20, 2015
I finished this last night and all day I've been trying to figure out what rating to give it. I've settled on 2. The first half of the book I was constantly on the verge on DNFing. The only thing that kept me reading was Rupert. I wanted to know what he was. The reveal wasn't all that interesting though.

What kept me reading for the second half was the action and the romance. A lot of people didn't like the romance in the book and would have been very happy if it was left out altogether. I happened to enjoy it but I also like angst so keep that in mind.

What really killed this book for me though was the MC. I just didn't care all that much about what happened to her. Since the entire book is told from her POV that sealed the deal. I don't think I'll bother with the rest of the series especially since some say it goes downhill from here.

9/4/14: $1.99 on Amazon Kindle
Profile Image for Cathy.
1,671 reviews242 followers
December 25, 2015
Interesting set of characters. Devi, the likeable main character, was nicely kick-ass and self-assured. Mysterious Rupert, ethereal Nova (Luna Lovegood), silent Ren and the other side characters were good additions.

The suspense of the story didn't exactly keep me up at night, but was interesting enough. Attacks, fights, scary aliens, strange planets, conspiracies, mysteries, good stuff.... The fight scenes felt like playing a first person shooter, with Devi pulling the trigger. A bit more snark or humour would have been great. At least for the first two-thirds of the book I was mostly happy.

But then the romance happened. Not quite Instalove, but close. And kick-ass supersoldier Ellen Ripley Devi turned into a girl. Could have done without the romance. Or less of it. Or with Devi sticking to her principles. I did not enjoy that. I also got a bit tired towards the end of hearing how awesome and special her suit is. We really got it. Faster, tougher, more accurate, Lady Gray was awesome. Didn't need to hear it again all the time though.

The world building was ok, but ultimately not satisfying. Everything was just hinted at. I would have liked more background on Paradox and its social structure. Or the conflict between Terra and Paradox. Or more details on the xith'cal.

Liked the fight scenes. Liked the mystery. Liked what happened with the bugs and the black (sorry for the vagueness, don't want to get too spoilery), hated what was done to her in the end and will most likely not continue with the series because of that and the increase in romance schmoop. And the not so favourable reviews of book two and three...
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,376 reviews930 followers
February 7, 2017
So my reading sci-fi is completely out of character and if it wasn’t for the recommendations of trusted individuals I never would have picked this up. Regardless of this being set completely in space, this is definitely what I would consider sci-fi-lite. The world building is sufficient enough without boggling my mind with excessive detailing which I appreciated. Fortune’s Pawn was absolutely fantastic though. I can’t remember the last book I read that was so freaking exciting, and I don’t say that lightly. It was so thrilling my mouth was hanging open in several scenes, I was flipping pages at lightning speed and I made sure to limit my blinking so as to not miss out on precious reading time. You know that moment in a relationship where you can look back and remember when you fell in love? I remember the exact moment I fell in love with this book and how I got so damn excited I put the book down and yelled:

I wish I was exaggerating. My fiancé looked at me like I was a complete nutter.

The battle scenes were thoroughly exhilarating and the absolute best part of this book but this book would be nothing without Devi Morris. She’s a mercenary and a total badass but she’s far from perfect. She makes silly decisions because of love but they’re all credible and realistic decisions. At no point did she turn into some weak-willed chick just because she had a crush and I’m so very thankful that the romance didn’t completely overpower the story. It was the perfect balance. And speaking of Rupert...

I don’t care if his name is funny, Rupert is fabulous. He’s a total badass just like Devi but he’s much more subtle about it; less flashy. Their romance is blended well with the story and mystery so it didn’t fell like yet another unnecessary romance showing up when it never should have been invited. When I think back, they fell for each other pretty quick it seemed but the feelings of insta-love weren’t there for me (*phew*). There was some major relationship drama going on though, a constant push and pull between them. “I love you! But I can’t, I’m dangerous. Oh, but I love you! I have no self control!” If I hadn’t been so completely enthralled I would’ve been raising my eyebrow at this. It’s not revealed the details as to why he’s so dangerous so I’m hoping his secrets and “danger” better be really freaking dangerous to justify this dramatic time wasting nonsense because those two are pretty fabulous together.

One more lovely thing about this story that’s worth mentioning is the fabulous secondary characters. Hyrek is the ships doctor who is also a xith’cal, an alien race, and he’s got a super snarky sense of humor I immediately loved. There is Devi’s partner Cotter who was a big meathead that was always good for a laugh, Caldswell is the mysterious captain with a bucketful of secrets and Devi’s roommate Nova who totally reminded me of Luna Lovegood. It was a wonderful cast of characters.

There have been comparisons to Firefly, Alien and even Battlestar Gallactica. Well, I suck and haven’t seen a single one of those (I TOLD YOU I don’t do sci-fi) but the one thing I can compare it to is Ann Aguirre’s ‘Sirantha Jax’ series. Devi reminded me a lot of Sirantha (but Devi quite a bit more of a badass) and the storyline was much more thrilling, so if you enjoyed that series you’ll absolutely love this. Suffice to say, this is going on my best of 2013 list and I’m immediately starting book two. Boy am I so very fortunate to have it available. Upon completion I felt like running around flailing my arms like a crazy person so I hope my thoughts came out in a sensible manner. Read this book, people.
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