Hi everyone! I think I can say that I failed Blogtober, since I’ve missed quite a few days and I don’t want to push myself to create subpar blog posts just to make sure I have 31 posts. I have a few reviews that I need to catch up on, so this will be the first one that I post!
by Laura Lam, Elizabeth May
Series: Seven Devils #1
Release date: August 4th 2020
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, LGBT
Trigger Warnings: Abusive parent, amputation, death of a parent, torture, violence against women
This first book in a feminist space opera duology follows seven resistance fighters who will free the galaxy from the ruthless Tholosian Empire — or die trying.
When Eris faked her death, she thought she had left her old life as the heir to the galaxy’s most ruthless empire behind. But her recruitment by the Novantaen Resistance, an organization opposed to the empire’s voracious expansion, throws her right back into the fray.
Eris has been assigned a new mission: to infiltrate a spaceship ferrying deadly cargo and return the intelligence gathered to the Resistance. But her partner for the mission, mechanic and hotshot pilot Cloelia, bears an old grudge against Eris, making an already difficult infiltration even more complicated.
When they find the ship, they discover more than they bargained for: three fugitives with firsthand knowledge of the corrupt empire’s inner workings.
Together, these women possess the knowledge and capabilities to bring the empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: the new heir to the empire plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining alien empire, ensuring the empire’s continued expansion. If they can find a way to stop him, they will save the galaxy. If they can’t, millions may die.
It had been a while since I picked up a science fiction book, but this one was recommended to me so I decided to give it a shot and it put me in such a science fiction mood!
The galaxy that this takes place in is really interesting. We have the Tholosian Empire, which has expanded and taken over many planets and solar systems, and has an AI that the Emperor (Archon) controls that controls the general population. This AI is called the Oracle. I was both intrigued and confused by the idea of the Oracle/the One, as I’m not sure if they’re the same thing or if one controls the other, but they were usually mentioned with each other or seemingly interchangeably. The Oracle controls all the thoughts and actions of the people who have it implanted, and makes it easy for the Empire to control them. The only exception to this is natural born humans, because in this world most humans are created in vats instead of through pregnancy.
In addition to the Tholosian’s, there are an alien race called the Evoli who have been at war with the empire for thousands of years, and there is also the resistance called Nova that wants to take down the empire. All the characters we follow are part of the resistance.
Seven Devils has 5 different perspectives between the past and the present, and all 5 perspectives are from women, which was really refreshing for a science fiction novel. The five perspectives are Eris, who was formerly known as Princess Discordia, heir to the Tholosian Empire; Cloelia, a genius mechanic and (ex)friend of Eris, before she found out that she is actually Discordia; Rhea, a former courtesan for Eris’ brother, Prince Damocles who has a secret she would much rather stays hidden; Ariadne, a girl who was raised by the AI who controls all the people in the Empire and is a tech genius; and Nyx, a former Tholosian soldier who was deprogrammed and given her own free will back.
I also really loved how diverse the cast of characters was, with a f/f relationship and a trans woman in power, as well as Black characters and a neurodivergent character.
Each of the characters went through a lot to get to where they are now, because you don’t just escape the empire unless you’ve been treated terribly and want something different. I really liked how capable each of these women were, even though they weren’t all fighters they all still had something to offer to the group and didn’t just sit by and let the others fight. I loved that this was a group of women who were fighting back against a patriarchal and genocidal culture and want to help change things and give people their free will back.
The romance in this doesn’t take center stage, although there is a sex scene that is kind of detailed, so if romance isn’t your thing you could easily skip over it and you wouldn’t loose any of the plot or anything like that.
There are quite a few reviews that point out that the pacing felt off, but I personally didn’t think that there was anything wrong with the pacing. I liked the use of flashbacks to help you understand the characters and their motives.
I do however kind of wish that things were a little bit more detailed because I was a bit confused when it came to where things are and how things work, but I would say that this is more focused on the characters and how they interact with the world around them than anything else.
The writing in this was solid. For me, I enjoy a book that the writing doesn’t distract me from what’s going on with the characters and the plot. I will say though that there was a error in one of the chapters for the flashbacks with Discordia where her new name Eris was used instead which was a little confusing since it was before she started using that name, but that’s the only thing I noticed like that.
Overall, I think this was really solid and I enjoyed it a lot! I definitely think I’ll read the next book, especially since this is only a duology. I can definitely see these authors creating more stories in this world, and I would love to see something about Xander and what he was doing!
Have you read Seven Devils? What were your thoughts? If you haven’t read it, do you want to? I’d love to chat!