Title: Seven Devils
Author: Elizabeth May and Laura Lam
Series: Seven Devils #1
Release Date: UK 6/8/2020, USA 4/8/2020
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 45
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from DAW press , via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
When Eris faked her death, she thought she had left her old life as the heir to the galaxy’s most ruthless empire behind. But her recruitment by the Novantaen Resistance, an organization opposed to the empire’s voracious expansion, throws her right back into the fray.
Eris has been assigned a new mission: to infiltrate a spaceship ferrying deadly cargo and return the intelligence gathered to the Resistance. But her partner for the mission, mechanic and hotshot pilot Cloelia, bears an old grudge against Eris, making an already difficult infiltration even more complicated.
When they find the ship, they discover more than they bargained for: three fugitives with firsthand knowledge of the corrupt empire’s inner workings.
Together, these women possess the knowledge and capabilities to bring the empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: the new heir to the empire plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining alien empire, ensuring the empire’s continued expansion. If they can find a way to stop him, they will save the galaxy. If they can’t, millions may die.
This was such a fun read. We have a real romp of a space Opera, jam-packed with action, high’s and lows and not just one but two daring heists! (We know I love a heist).
At first I did find it a little difficult to get into. We follow 5 perspectives in this book, with both present day and flashbacks and occasionally I found that a little overwhelming to remember where I was in the time line. But as the story built and we got to know each of our band of Devils and I ended up really liking the style. The use of the flashbacks to tell the various backstories was great as it really allowed us to get to know each of the characters and how the relationship between all these women built up over time.
My only snippy point was the use of "Scottish" style dialogue for Clo. I am so glad us Scots make it into space (there always seems to be one of us hiding out in some far flung space port) but I always find the deliberate spelling of words to give them the "glasgow twang" is just a bit cheesey to read. As a Glaswegian myself, it just bugs me.
I really like how the use of flashbacks also built and layered the plot, the building of the relationships first between two separate groups, one from within the Empire and one from within the rebellion and then how they built up when they came together to fight the same cause was great. I really did find the flashbacks the most interesting as they also carried the weight of the worldbuilding and it was really awesome world building. It was just filled with tiny details that really emersed me in the story. I particularly liked Eris’ perspective as it really gave such detailed insight into the Empire and its ruling.
The Oracle, an over arching AI that controlled the populous of the Empire was also really interesting. I liked how various different characters related to it in different ways and we got to see it’s influence from multiple different angles. I think this in itself really made the world-building stand out.
The plot was also paced very nicely, it kept moving but gave time for relationships to build, for tension to rise, for successes and failures to be felt. The end managed to be a great crescendo and a little too open ended all at the same time. We built to something really exciting with very high stakes, only to be left with not quite a cliff-hanger but a nice segway into setting up the next book. I wasn’t disappointed by this, it just makes me want to read book two even more.
Overall, despite my slow start to get into it I really enjoyed it. It was nice to see such a diverse female cast, written well and with a really nice balance of light and dark moments. I think this would be an awesome intro to sci-fi and space opera.