Review: Havoc by Ann Aguirre

Posted September 17, 2014 by Nima in Rating A, Reviews, Sci-Fi or Fantasy Fiction Tags: , , ,

Author: Ann 
Reviewer: Nima
Rating: A

What I’m Talking About:

Havoc is the second installment of the Dred Chronicles.  It continues to follow main characters Dresdemona  “Dred” Devos a.k.a. Queen Dread and her bio-engineered champion Jael.  I liked these two together in the first book, Perdition, and I like them together even more in this one. The romantic elements were again present, but secondary. I really liked the way intimacy between Dred and Jael was allowed to grow in increments rather than being suddenly there and taken for granted as a typical romance might read. It felt more intimate because of it. They bring a softness and humanity to a story that is otherwise brutal and bloody in a battle for survival.

The Conglomerate has decided it has other uses for the old mining vessel that is Perdition, supermax penal colony.  In order to make use of it, they need its inmates to conveniently disappear, as in die, but without damaging the ship.  Low on many resources, the Conglomerate, who isn’t sending anymore supplies or inmates, suggests what inmates aren’t already dead will be easy to pick off.  So they send in a mercenary operation of forty men, highly equipped to clear out the ship.  Heavily armed, the mercenaries assume it will be easy money.  The amount of money offered, however, should have tipped them off that it wouldn’t be as easy as suggested.

What they find waiting for them instead is a fast-paced guerilla war as Dred, Jael, spymaster Tam, fanged Martine, advisor and mechanic Ike defend the home they’ve built for themselves inside of hell.  The mercs, led by their captain Vost, wage their own war against attrition as the denizens of Perdition dig in and defend their home against overwhelming odds.  Then again, they have more to lose. Complicating everything, the different factions on board try and seize power, territory, and valuable resources during the chaos incited by the arrival of the mercs.

Vost proves to be the only interesting mercenary in the bunch.  As is foreshadowed, “But even a villain was the main player in his own story…”  Vost will clearly have a significant roll in the next book as his story now becomes connected to our surviving inmates.

Havoc ends not with a cliff-hanger in the traditional sense, but rather a respite in what is clearly the inevitable next phase of the overall story arc.  And I was grateful for it.  I was tired for the characters.  I wanted them to have a bath, a hot meal, and sleep for a week undisturbed by plots, laser rifles, or cannibals.  As anxious as I am for the release of Breakout, book three in the series, I’m happy to let the characters have a break.  Of course, a week from now I’ll be annoyed I have to wait a year for the next book.

Aguirre continues to have an intelligent writing style.  I had to go to my dictionary five times in the first 100 pages for words like “effluvia,” and for the Gilmore Girls fans out there, “fungible.”  I appreciate that Aguirre doesn’t dumb down her writing, but rather pulls her readers up and makes it easy to suspend disbelief with detail and relatable dialog. The series should be read in order.

My Rating:  A, Loved It


About the Book:

The Conglomerate’s most dangerous convicts have made the prison ship Perdition their home. And they will defend it…

Perdition is under siege. Mercenaries have boarded the station with orders to take control of the facility—and execute the prisoners. Their commander is offering full pardons to the first five inmates willing to help the mercs complete their mission.

Dresdemona “Dred” Devos hasn’t survived hard time just to surrender to the Conglomerate’s armored thugs. Leading a ragtag army of inmates, Dred and her champion, Jael, wage a bloody guerilla war of chaos and carnage against impossible odds. But no matter how dire the outlook, the Dread Queen never backs down…

Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Ace
The Dred Chronicles #2
ISBN: #978-0425258125
Science Fiction
Format(s): paperback (320 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher

Purchase Info:
Havoc (The Dred Chronicles #2)

Reviews in the Series:
Perdition by Ann Aguirre (The Dred Chronicles #1)