Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Release Day Review: Havoc by Ann Aguirre

Author:  Ann Aguirre
Series:  The Dred Chronicles 2
Publisher:  Ace, August 26, 2014
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780425258125 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

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…

Melanie's Thoughts

Ann Aguirre doesn't let up on the pace in this action packed second instalment of The Dred Chronicles. The story starts almost immediately after the end of book 1, Perdition. Dred defended her territory against almost impossible odds in book 1 and won, but the fight isn't over. Unfortunately, a new enemy has boarded the station and Dred has to battle not only this new foe but Mungo's and Silence's rabble of cannibalistic freaks, as well. The Conglomerate wants to take back the station, take Dred's home away from her and she will do anything, kill anyone to stop it. She is not alone in this fight as the genetically enhanced Jael is by her side to help her destroy anyone who gets in her way.

I am really enjoying this series and Havoc doesn't disappoint. Aguirre builds on the strengths of Predition with its bleak setting, anti-heroes and cunning game of cat and mouse. In fact Aguirre ramps up all of these elements even further as she continues to develop her characters and the environment they are fighting over. The assassins who have boarded the ship keep the plot fresh and by the end you come to realise that maybe they aren't that villainous after all.

Both Dred and Jael are developed further along with their romance. Aguirre balances the romance perfectly to the environment so it fits rather than being overly syrupy or too aggressive. I think this relationship really works and exposes the vulnerabilities of each of the characters. Aguirre also lets us get better insight to some of the other inmates on the ship including those in Dred's inner circle such as Tam. We also learn more about Jael, about his time in custody and how he ended up in the prison ship. Through the aliens on the ship we gain a better insight into Jael and learn his back story. Of all the characters Jael is the one that I feel is the most developed through the events of book 2. Aguirre does give some depth to Dred through a girly bonding scene. This could have turned out to be too incongruous with the plot but it did work to expose more about this character.

Science fiction fans get buying this book post haste (well start with book 1 if you haven't already read it). I really enjoyed Havoc, even though its full of murder and mayhem. Dred is an excellent female lead and has a great supporting cast to help her whip some assassin butt. Check her out on the book's cover. All I can really say is Dred rocks!


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