Fortune's Pawn - Emily Durante, Rachel Bach

I'm generally a fan of bad ass women in space, so this book caught my interest.  If that was all I looked for in a book this would have been pretty fantastic.  Devi is badass, ambitious, and good at what she does.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Fortune's Pawn is told in a past tense first person.  So you get lots of "I should have realized" type statements.  We get a little bit of internal monologue, and various snapshots of emotional status.  Then at the end of the book her memories are removed, which to me completely invalidates the whole thing.  You can't reflect on events that you don't know happened.  Now I realize that the story doesn't end with Fortune's Pawn, and that there is a sequel.  For all I know she gets her memories back in part two, but this book should not rely on something that may or may not happen in the next book to insure a feasible narrator.

I'm not sure what I think about Devi.  She's definitely ambitious and good with her guns, but her arrogance grates at me.  In almost every violent encounter she runs out of ammunition, what gun bunny only has one spare clip?  And if you're knife has a use-life measured in seconds I feel like at least a second one stashed in that amazing armor would be a smart idea.  It's hard to get a good feel for Devi as a person, she's written largely as a one dimensional character with some awkward attempts to give her more depth.

One thing I do like is that Devi owns her sexuality.  She doesn't give a shit that people consider mercenaries promiscuous and easy, she considers it her business who she sleeps with and that who she sleeps with is nothing to be ashamed of.  I'm tired of slut-shaming, and I've encountered a shocking amount of it in romance novels.  That being said, the author needs to decide if they're writing a romance novel or not, and if she is she needs to commit.  If she doesn't want this to be a romance novel the sexual tension needs a serious reworking.  Nothing against sex in my science fiction - I actually usually find the sex is better written in science fiction.  But the way Fortune's Pawn is written, if Devi was a man we'd be hearing about all her romance-novel style spontaneous erections at things like how well the love interest washed vegetables.

In other news, the Kirkus Review for this book includes the summary "Rollicking space opera starring a tough, sexy, armor-clad space chick who smells like rotten meat."  Which is just too awesome for words.