Black’s Book Review: Fortune’s Pawn



Publishing Information: November 5th 2013 by Orbit
Page Count:  320
Genre: Military Science-Fiction, Romance, Action
Note: The first novel in the Paradox series

A few weeks ago I was sitting on my couch reading what is probably my thirtieth urban fantasy story this year. Somewhere around page fifty where the snarky female protagonist tells the uber sexy male romantic interest that she absolutely isn’t interested in him I just set the book aside. It just wasn’t doing it for me, which is sad because I absolutely love romance novels.

I flopped over and had an existential crisis about whether or not I had already read everything there was to read and if the written word was a slowing dying art form. Perhaps I ought to drown myself in a bottle…of bbq sauce.


(it was a really bad thirty seconds)

Then I took a good long look at that bottle and got really honest with myself. I just wanted something different. I didn’t want another naturally slender twenty-something female with perfect everything and very little personality becoming the obsessive focus of a rich and semi-violent man of the paranormal persuasion. I wanted something with a little more…unf.

So I went looking. I found a few lists of books that sounded interesting, and after falling down the rabbit hole of science fiction I finally stumbled across Rachel Bach. An author that I had seen floating around on some best-of lists and hadn’t quite gotten around to reading because he novels were classified as military science fiction.

Not that there is anything wrong with MSF. Honor Harrington is a fully realized setting with interesting characters and a well thought out story. A Hymn Before Battle takes a really good look at the classic alien invasion story. And the Old Man’s War series remains one of my favorites. I have had to replace the first book to do over-reading.

However, they weren’t what I was looking for. On the one hand I am still doing my Women in Sci-Fi kick. On the other I still wanted to read a good romance. When I put those two genre’s together, it was Fortune’s Pawn that kept getting recommended to me. So I decided to pick it up. I was in NO way disappointed.

The main character is Devi Morris, a woman I am sure is going to get killed for her own ambition, but I am going to love her right up until the end. She is passionate, flawed, strong-willed, self aware, and just glorious. She doesn’t take shit from anyone.

She comes with a high tech battle armor suit that gets her a mercenaries place on a ship with a reputation for paying well and getting people killed. It does not disappoint. The ship has a mystery and Devi charges into it with all the grace and skill of the proverbial bull.

The romance in this story, however, is what really gets me. It is rich, full, and complicated. It doesn’t revolve around some overly aggressive guy who doesn’t understand the word no.


(herc looks like he’s about to swoon)

The complications for Devi and her beau are more about the fact that he’s not being completely honest and she damn well knows it. Also, trying not to die, that’s a pretty big one.

All in all I give this story a 8.5/10. The only thing that drags this story down for me is a little leaning on tropes, but it certainly wont dissuade me from picking up the next few books.





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