I’ve always thought the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” could be at once appropriate and misleading. Some covers are beautiful and reflect the vision of the author and her or his story. Some are beautiful and don’t reflect a damn thing. Others are not attractive in the least, but contain stories of boundless wonder.
Sigrid and Suko are two girls from the impoverished and crime-infested streets of 24th century Earth. Sold into slavery to save their families from financial ruin, the girls are forced to live out their lives in service to the Kimura Corporation, a prestigious mercenary clan with a lineage stretching back long before the formation of the Federated Corporations.
Known only to Kimura, the two girls share startling secret—a rare genetic structure not found in tens of millions of other girls.
But when their secret becomes known, Sigrid and Suko quickly find themselves at the center of a struggle for power. Now, hunted by men who would seek to control them, Sigrid and Suko are forced to fight for their own survival, and for the freedom of the girls from Alcyone.
When I saw the cover, I thought: killer girls, space adventure and friendship. I was right for the most part, though my guesses were rudimentary in comparison to Caffrey’s detailed storytelling.
We join the girls before they’re from Alcyone, and we follow Sigrid—-so easy to root for–as she grows into something more than human, all the while struggling to identify herself and place amongst the girls, and eventually the Kimura corporation that has funded the Alcyone operation.
Sigrid experiences a multitude of hardships–from childhood bullying gone savage (literal water torture) to foiled assassination attempts. But she keeps a cool head in every moment. It helps to know your body is a weapon like no other. And Caffrey does a great job of detailing and selling the idea of these body modifications in a universe where a governmental council and mercenary guild navigate the politics of space with no small amount of blood shed between them. In fact, the politics of the book was one of my favorite parts of the book. To imagine a time where mercenaries have developed a guild that operates under its own codes, mostly separate from the general government—blows my mind. And makes for a lot of back-stabbing, corporate/mercenary sabotage. The book has fantastic fights, rolling tension and enough background to keep you rooted without drowning you in info.
Something that was absolutely endearing, however, was one of this title’s most muted/minimized components: Sigrid’s relationship with Suko.
It was genuine, oddly unaffected by the atypical and ever-changing status of their lives. It was understated in a way that made it charming amongst the fantastic qualities of the book. Another factor worth noting is Caffrey’s inclusive cast, which is skillfully distinguished and interwoven. Basically, I didn’t have to ask where the black people were. I always appreciate that.
Here and there, the story seems to lull (particularly in the beginning), but once the intricacies and far-reaching scope of the book kick in, little hiccups that may pull a reader out fizzle into nonexistence. At least they did for me.
But regardless of whether you’re looking for action, space races or charming love between two bad-ass assassins, I recommend the read. Immediately.
Learn more about Cary here. Purchase this lovely book here. Tweet him that you’re ever-so-excited to get in on some girl on girl action–and of course I mean, two suped up girls from Alcyone tussling with a rocket launcher.