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Review: Revenger by Alastair Reynolds


The galaxy has seen great empires rise and fall. Planets have shattered and been remade. Amongst the ruins of alien civilizations, building our own from the rubble, humanity still thrives.

And there are vast fortunes to be made, if you know where to find them.

Captain Rackamore and his crew do. It’s their business to find the tiny, enigmatic worlds which have been hidden away, booby-trapped, surrounded by layers of protection–and to crack them open for the ancient relics and barely-remembered technologies inside. But while they ply their risky trade with integrity, not everyone is so scrupulous.

Adrana and Fura Ness are the newest members of Rackamore’s crew, signed on to save their family from bankruptcy. Only Rackamore has enemies, and there might be more waiting for them in space than adventure and fortune: the fabled and feared Bosa Sennen in particular.

My thoughts

Revenger was my first book by Alastair Reynolds and it definitely won’t be my last. I was excited about it since it was first announced with the promise of being a space heist story (which automatically made me think of space pirates) and though I did expect it to be different to what I actually got, I absolutely loved it.

When I started reading it, the POV character (17-year old Arafura) made me a little nervous that I might not like Revenger as much as I had hoped. Not only was I surprised about her and her sister’s age (18) because I had expected adults, but she seemed awfully naive at first. Boy was I wrong though. Fura gets out of her bubble fast and becomes hella fierce. Once she showed her true colors, I absolutely adored her.

Probably my favorite aspect of Revenger are the relationships. There are a few people in romantic relationships, but there is zero romance in this book. Instead we get one epic relationship between sisters. I absolutely loved to see how protective they were of each other and what a strong bond they have and what they are willing to do, just to protect each other. No one can get between these two! There is more though. Revenger definitely falls into the “found family” category too, and in this case it was especially nice to see how the characters slowly build trust and become friends and start to care about each other.

Now to the best part: SPACE PIRATES.
I expected a little more from those to be honest, but the fact that the villain of the book is a SPACE PIRATE LADY totally made up for that. I only wish she would have been around a lot more, like, I wouldn’t have minded if she just took over the whole story, she was THAT interesting (and deliciously cruel). Seriously, her background story had me all heart eyes and I really need to read more about her.

Overall, Revenger was darker than I expected, which made me love it all the more. It’s not all bloody slaughter, but it definitely has its wonderfully gory but also disturbing parts. Something involving captivity and drugs kinda made me sick and definitely ragey.

Alastair Reynolds created one hell of a world which I hope we’ll get to see more of. I especially fell in love with the idea of a Bone Reader which is one weird but epic job to have. This better not stay a standalone because there was certainly more to learn about this world.

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  • I’ve been waiting eagerly for your review :D
    I was also a little bit disappointed by the MC when I read the chapter sampler that Gollancz made available but I’m glad to see it doesn’t last!
    I don’t know yet if I’ll wait for the paperback this summer or if I should put it in my christmas wishlist but it is definitely on my to-read list *o*

    • She definitely might still grow on you! The change is quite extreme (but not unrealistic).
      I vote Christmas wishlist! :P

  • Wow, sounds fun. And space pirates FTW, definitely. I’m intrigued by this one and had not heard of it. And I love the premise- I’m always a fan of ancient relics and finding long leftover things from ancient civs. I think I’d like this one!

  • I was a little nervous about the POV at first too, but we were totally proved wrong! I loved the whole idea of the space pirates and the bauble scavenging. I want to learn more about that. An entire novel on the villain wouldn’t go amiss too…

    The only other book I’ve read by Reynolds is House of Suns, but it’s REALLY good (and about clones), so if you’re looking for a rec of which of his books to read next, that’s what I’d say :P So glad you liked this one too.

    • YES, loved the scavenger part too! And the ending definitely felt like there could be another book!? I would be so sad if there won’t be one.

      Thanks! I had no idea what to pick next so I’ll just read that one :D

  • Having read a few of Alastair Reynolds’ novels, I was both excited and curious about this one, although reading about the YA main characters did worry my a bit: your review made any misgivings disappear into thin air – this sounds like the kind of story I might enjoy. And how could I resist the lure of a “space pirate lady”?
    Thanks for sharing!

    • I hope you end up enjoying it! The main character might be in her teens but after a while it doesn’t feel like much of a YA novel imo.

  • Space pirates. Sisters. I am so sold on this – I’ve read two reviews of it now, and it’s definitely making me realise I need to hurry up and read some Alastair Reynolds.

  • Space pirates sounds so cool. I have never read a book with space pirates. I need to get hold of this book soon.

Nov 14, 2016