Adult, Adult Fiction, Disabled Characters, F/F, F/F relationships, LGBTQ, Queer, queer characters, Rebellion, sapphic, Sci-Fi, sff
Super fun, action-filled and at time dark space romp with a GREAT cast.
This first book in a feminist space opera duology follows seven resistance fighters who will free the galaxy from the ruthless Tholosian Empire — or die trying.
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.
I recevied an ARC and reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Content warnings include: child abuse, torture, assault, abduction, graphic violence and death, injury, surgery, mind control, propaganda,xenophobia, racism, misogyny, classicism; mentions of transphobia, sexualized violence, genocide.
Full content warnings and descriptions can also be found on the author’s website.
The cast really is where Seven Devil shines. There are five distinct POV characters, and I adored each of them:
Eris, who used to be the evil empire’s heir but then faked her death to join the restistance, now a ruthless agent known for her skills in seemingly impossible missions and high kill count.
Clo, a disabled mechanic born in a planet’s slums who’s also a skilled pilot, and who hates Eris for who she used to be.
Nyx, a lauded soldier of the empire who’s tired of being of being a mindless killing machine.
Rhea, an empathetic courtesan favoured by the empire’s leaders who no longer wants to be an object and who hides her own secrets.
And Ariadne, who was engineered specifically to be hands and voice of the empire’s all-encompassing controlling AI, a genius desperate to just experience life.
I loved all of them, as well as several of the side characters, including the last two main characters who make up the titular Seven Devils.
The story is told in alternating timelines, every now and then showing flashbacks into different characters’ pasts. Those flashbacks always have immediate relevance, and chapters overall were rather short. I was never confused with the frequent POV and timeline changes, all of them were interesting and a joy to read.
The plot was fast-paced and action heavy. There’s always something happening, and the characters barely get a chance to take a breath. It was always enaging and exciting, but not so tense as to be sweat-inducing.
The evil Tholosian empire truly was a nightmare. Not only was genocide one of the common modus operandi, all citizens had neural implants so an AI has direct access to their brain, constantly feeding them propaganda, controlling them, making them commit and be complicit to atrocities, and even completely taking over in high stress situations.
And that doesn’t even account for the terrible child abuse.
While I do love all characters, I also have a clear favourite. Sure, Eris and Nyx were badass, I adore Ariadne’s need for proving her worth, and Clo was wonderfully rounded and such a dear, but it was Rhea who totally stole my heart. I loved that she wasn’t one of the combat fighters or engineered geniuses, yet she was still never incompetent (and to be honest, I’d love her even if she had been). As an empathic person myself I loved seeing that facet of her character and how it was executed.
She, like pretty much all of the characters, had a horriffic backstory that isn’t for the faint of heart. She also had a secret she hid from the others, and it’s related to my pretty much only complaint about the book. To me her big reveal felt very sudden and like there wasn’t any buildup.
Another thing I struggled with was in regards to the AI of the empire… sometimes referred to as One, sometimes as Oracle. They seemed to be distinct, but I couldn’t tell the difference.
I loved how diverse the book was. The cover is absolutely stunning, and the characters fit the descriptions pretty much exactly. There’s several POC, and almost all relevant characters and all POV characters are women, which was another great facet.
There is a minor romantic subplot which was wonderful and tender and totally what both characters deserved. The couple is sapphic. Overall the focus is heavy on the action, but character dynamics and relationships are very important too. Friendship, (found) family, trust and group dynamics as well as mentor relationships are much more in the foreground than romantic ones, though.
The ending is more or less a cliffhanger, and the plot is very far from finished. The book was an exciting ride, and despite the heavy themes and abundance of violence and abuse it wasn’t a dark read. Several scenes made me laugh.
I am very excited for the sequel, and can’t wait to see how things end.
Check the book out on Goodreads and buy it here.
Fabulous review! I can’t wait to read this!
Hope you love it, it deserves all the attention!
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