Armored Love: A Review of Fortune’s Pawn

Fortune’s Pawn (2013)
Written by: Rachel Bach
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 341 (Kindle)
Series: Paradox Book 1
Publisher: Orbit

Why I Chose It: A friend recommended this to me, saying if I liked The Vorkosigan Saga, I would like this. And we all know how much I liked The Vorkosigan Saga

The Premise:

Devi Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It’s a combination that’s going to get her killed one day – but not just yet.

That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.

If Sigouney Weaver in Alien met Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica, you’d get Deviana Morris — a hot new mercenary earning her stripes to join an elite fighting force. Until one alien bite throws her whole future into jeopardy.

No Spoilers

Discussion: Kick ass mercenary fights toothy aliens in powered armor? Sign me up. This was lots of fun and very entertaining. I had a hard time putting it down and was quite antsy when I had to go to dinner right in the middle of the climax. On the whole, I really enjoyed the book…with some reservations.

Devi is a jock, interested only in armor, guns, and sex. This isn’t supposed to be a criticism. I find jocks a little harder to relate to, but I don’t write them off entirely just because they look at the world differently. For better or worse Devi has no subtlety. She says what she means and goes for what she wants. There were places where I was rooting for her and places where I just wanted her to keep her mouth shut for once. But Devi knows she’s aggressive with limited interests. She doesn’t apologize for it. Being aware of your failings and embracing them as strengths goes a long way with me, and I forgave her for the whole one-track mind thing.

It also helps that she’s seriously badass, with lots of awesome tech and the skill and strength to use it effectively. I love a character that is good at what they do. After playing way too much HALO and Mass Effect, I was really drawn to Devi’s suit, the Gray Lady, and her relationship with it. She treated it like an amalgam of treasured possession and honored friend. This was the only glimpse into a softer side of her that we saw. She knew where her advantage came from and fought to protect it. And she used it well. During the battle scenes I felt like I was playing my favorite video games.

I also really loved some of the more minor characters. Especially Cotter. The bully turned ally trope works well for me. And it’s always nice to see a female character put a bigger, meaner character in his place, and Devi does it so effortlessly. The build in his arc was subtle enough that I didn’t even realize I cared about him until it actually meant something.

And the romance was a nice change of pace from the battle scenes. The bits were nicely spaced and balanced. That being said, something felt off in the pacing of Devi’s relationship with Rupert. The build-up just did not feel natural to me. Devi’s attraction to him was all about sex at first and that I understood. She was very honest with herself about wanting to sleep with him. But as she realized she didn’t just want him, she loved him, that was where she lost me. I just didn’t know enough about him to fall in love alongside her, something that’s essential for a romance to work for me. We didn’t get to see enough of their interaction outside of all the sexual tension to watch them get to know each other. Devi’s allergic reaction to falling in love seemed way more believable than her falling in love in the first place.

And while I could ignore the failings of the romance to really enjoy the book, the ending caught me completely off-guard. It didn’t finish. I turned the last page and was surprised to find the acknowledgments instead of another chapter. I felt like I finally knew just enough to move forward into the actual plot and then it just ended. I know it’s the first of a trilogy but even one book of a series should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

I like secrets and mysteries. But I like revelations and answers even more. One is worth nothing without the other. Most of the mysteries presented throughout the book should be solved by the end. I think one of the big questions I had was sort-of answered, but there were about a million left over. There isn’t a percentage or number that will make a novel work since this is such a subjective requirement, but enough questions should be answered to make the book feel finished. And this most definitely did not feel finished to me.

In Conclusion: The twist at the end will keep me reading through the next book, but I’ve decided that I have to think of this one as the first part of an incomplete story. I just stopped in the middle for some reason and the second half has a different title. Otherwise the unanswered questions will drive me nuts.

11 Comments

  • Lane Robins July 20, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Pretty much my response as well. I was zooming along enjoying this and then suddenly, we’re done. I was aggravated enough that I didn’t buy the next one, because I didn’t trust her not to make the next one incomplete as well. I couldn’t tell if she was riffing off the old serial style, or what. Now, I’ll wait until you read book two and let us know!

    Reply
    • kendrame July 20, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      Well, since I was already planning on reading the next one I suppose I’m okay with that. I probably would have been a whole lot more pissed off with it if I hadn’t liked the rest so much. But I’m the queen of mixed feelings.

      Reply
  • Weasel of Doom July 20, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I would love to hear what you think of books 2 and 3!

    Reply
  • Nicole Taft July 20, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Miss Peregrine’s ended on a massive cliffhanger as well. Good to know – I’d rather be aware that I need to wait for all the books to be out and done before diving in. I’m an impatient person and tend to forget things between books if the gap is too long between them.

    Reply
    • Shara White July 20, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      *coughs* The books are all out! *coughs!*

      Reply
      • Nicole Taft July 24, 2017 at 5:14 pm

        Haha, I know. They are *now* but I’d read the first one when it initially came out because everyone said it was so great. And then I hit that cliffhanger – and the next book didn’t come out until 2 years later. I decided to wait until they were all out, and now they are. Except now I have other things on my To Read list, so they have to wait. 😀

        Reply
        • Shara White July 24, 2017 at 7:18 pm

          Wait, I’m talking about Fortune’s Pawn… are you talking about Miss Peregrine? 🙂

          Reply
          • Nicole Taft July 24, 2017 at 7:26 pm

            Oh! Haha, yep. I’m talking Miss P.

    • kendrame July 21, 2017 at 11:58 am

      I agree, I tend to like to read a series all at once. These are all out, btw, and they’re relatively breezy to get through so there’s some incentive for you.

      Reply
  • Nancy O'Toole Meservier July 20, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    I found I quite enjoyed this one- but I agree with you about the romance. Something about it just didn’t click for me.

    This is a nice reminder that I need to finish this trilogy, lol.

    Reply
  • Shara White July 20, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    So I loved this book. Yeah, the ending was a cliffhanger. I was at a party (one of those we’re watching a football game things) and reading the book and when I got to the end, I was like, WTF?!?!?!? And because I couldn’t download the book on my Kindle, I downloaded it to the Kindle app on my iPhone and promptly continued reading. I think I actually read this entire trilogy back-to-back-to-back and enjoyed it thoroughly.

    But yes, I hope Kendra reviews the whole thing! 🙂

    Reply

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