Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Ace/Penguin Group
Rating: 4 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: All hell is breaking loose in the edge-of-your-seat follow-up to Havoc and Perdition from New York Times bestselling author Ann Aguirre…
The prison ship Perdition has become a post-battle charnel house with only a handful of Dred’s soldiers still standing and now being hunted by Silence’s trained tongueless assassins. Forging an uneasy alliance with mercenary commander Vost—who is their only chance at escape—the Dread Queen will do whatever it takes to end her life sentence on Perdition and keep the survivors alive long enough to cobble together a transport capable of getting them off station.
If Dred and her crew can win the deadly game of cat and mouse, the payoff is not only life but freedom—a prize sweeter than their wildest dreams. Yet the sadistic Silence would rather destroy Perdition than let a single soul slip from her grasp…
Review: Dred no longer considers herself Queen. Too many people are dead, it’s now a race to stay alive and hopefully escape Perdition. There is an uneasy peace among the prisoners still alive and the mercenaries sent to kill them. The fact they’re all being hunted by Silence and her assassins is pretty much the only thing keeping them together. Dred and her companions must collect all the parts to assemble a ship to get off of Perdition. The facts they must also feed themselves and have enough fuel to get out of the star system complicate things. Silence’s assassins are roaming Perdition freely and want to kill everyone in their path. Things get a little more complicated when Silence decides she loves Dred’s boyfriend, Jael. Dred decides Silence isn’t woman enough to take her man! A ship will be built, they will get off Perdition, and there will be life after Perdition.
Despite the fact this book is pretty obviously listed as a sequel I didn’t realize that when I picked it up. Embarrassingly, I manage to do something like this about once a year. I do think I’d have enjoyed the book more had I understood better what was going on for the initial chapters. I also think I likely missed a lot of very significant character growth for both Dred and Jael. I read about Dred after she was no longer Queen. In some ways she was more herself than she was ever allowed to be and in some ways she had been broken. A Queen no longer. Thankfully I didn’t miss a lot of Jael’s backstory. He was a fascinating combination of Frankenstein’s Monster and Wolverine. He was a crazy and cruel scientist’s living attempt to create a super soldier. Jael just wants to be a person. He wants to be seen and respected as person.
Silence as the bad guy was a wonderful concept. Silence is pretty much the most horrific and freaky bad guy I’ve read in a long time. She was next level disturbing. As a metaphor silence is also a wonderful bad guy. Silence is consent. It brings to mind the idea, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” But Dred and her cohort are not good men. They are murderers and mercenaries, and they are the thin line between life and Silence. Then things get complex, probably because humans are complex. Silence exists for a reason. Dred and Jael learn more about Silence than they thought possible. Suddenly there is sympathy for Silence. In the story of Silence we see that no good deed goes unpunished.
This book is a primer on how to have an atrocity. Everyone had a good reason for doing the horrible things they did. Everyone contributed just a little bit to making the situation that much worse. The most disturbing aspect of this atrocity was Silence. Not just the character who created assassins and then cut out their tongues and drugged them with hallucinogens, but the silence of all the citizens of the Conglomerate who watched criminal after criminal get sent to Perdition and were silent about it. No one stood up and said no, because no good deed goes unpunished.