Monday, 4 August 2014

Rogue Hunter: Inquest

Rogue Hunter: Inquest

Kevis Hendrickson

2 out of 5

Fearing retribution from ruthless gangsters over an unsettled debt, intergalactic bounty hunter Zyra Zanr ventures to a distant world to collect the reward for Boris Skringler, a notorious terrorist, who has been sentenced to death by political rivals of the InterGalactic Alliance. When she fails to secure his release, she decides to break him out of prison. Zyra soon finds herself an unwilling participant in events that lead to a climactic showdown between the most powerful worlds in the galaxy.

Torn between her desperation to rid herself of the threats to her life and her guilt in agitating the conflict between two galactic superpowers, Zyra is horrified to learn that the lives of an entire world of people hinge on her ability to return Skringler to his captors. However, her distrust of Skringler gives way to lust, unraveling her plans. Will Zyra give into her passion and allow Skringler to go free? Or will she surrender him to her enemies to stop an impending war? The fate of billions depend on whether she chooses life for a killer or the death of her lover.

Zyra Zanr is a bounty hunter for the InterGalactic Alliance.  Throw in an Amazonian planet, dangerous politics and a murderous Skringler, and you have the introduction to the Rogue Hunter world.

I was sold on the synopsis of this book.  With the promise of the vastness of space, lies and politics, and a love/hate relationship between our main players, I was excited and ready for a vast adventure.  

I was expecting Star Wars, but I got more of a courtroom drama.

To be fair, it was a creative story.
Zyra is initially a great character.  She is focussed, confident, sexy, and more than capable of looking after herself.
Skringler is an absolute dick - and not just an endearingly off-kilter anti-hero.  Hendrickson has given something brilliantly refreshing in writing such an unlikeable character.
Going back to the synopsis - I wish it didn't mention the relationship between Zyra and Skringler; primarily because it doesn't play a big part in this book.  But also because I couldn't help but be disgusted at the hints that Zyra could like this guy with more than a physical attraction.

Unfortunately, there were a few problems I had with this book.
The setting:
New Venus - the world that has a global ban on men.
Ok, I can understand an oppressed gender rising up and rebelling, taking power etc.  But to be so blinded by hate that they would destroy/banish all men from the surface of their world?
Does that mean they enforce killing men, down to the babies unfortunate enough to be born boys?  Hell, what about the process of reproduction in the first place?
How do they enforce a world-wide ban?  I can't even suspend my disbelief to imagine that every woman would agree to it.
Which brings me to Hendrickson's portrayal of women - the women of New Venus are all stubborn and close-minded.  They are all painted with the same brush, they are all self-obsessed.  They are supposed to be infamous warriors, but are petty and picky.
(To be honest, it is impossible to tell whether this is Hendrickson's opinion of women, or people in general; as it is set for the majority on New Venus)

As for the promise of an intergalactic adventure - this story is set on New Venus.  The only time there is a change of scene is when it flips to the InterGalactic Alliance.
I had been hoping for a jaunt across the universe.
Instead we spend most of our time in the courtroom with the pig-headed Queen of New Venus; or in the bedroom of Zyra's lover, Mikaela.

Although initially promising, Zyra's character becomes increasingly annoying and questionable.  There is far too much of the narration stuck in her thoughts, going over some history with a girl called Molly; problems with her father; and vague money worries.  She becomes very "woe-is-me" and is full of doubt, guilt and self-loathing.  I spent a lot of time wondering why was she a bounty hunter?  She's not that old, she's being regaled as one of the best bounty hunters out there... it just doesn't gel.

So, all in all, a lot of promise that just left me cold.

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