Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach (Paradox #1)

Genre: Science Fiction, Military Sci-Fi

Publisher: Orbit on March 7, 2013

Source: Purchased

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Devi Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. View Spoiler »

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This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2016, a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow. Follow along on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or with the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

Devi Morris is a proud solider, a brutal fighter, a reveller in carnal pleasures, and she’s unapologetically crass. She is, on the whole, my kind of woman – and she’s the perfect protagonist for a high-octane military sci-fi adventure like FORTUNE’S PAWN.

Devi’s life goal is to become a Devastator, the elite special force that protect and carry out duties for the King of Paradox. Not incidentally, they’re also equipped with the strongest body armour on the market, and Devi is a total armour wonk. Being invited to join the Devastators is no small thing, so Devi agrees to work as security for the infamous transporter The Glorious Fool to increase her chances and cut down on the required service time. The Fool has a nasty reputation for getting its people killed, but Devi’s not worried: she’s the best of the best. All she has to do is make it through one year on board The Fool and she’s got a real shot at the Devastators…if she can stay alive that long.

Given the size of The Fool, it’s no surprise that Devi gets to know her crew mates pretty quickly. The characters are where FORTUNE’S PAWN really shines, and Devi’s crew mates are no exception. Perfectly juxtaposed with Devi’s rough and tumble personality is Nova, a gentle, New Age-y engineer – and Devi’s roommate. Nova is sweet and welcoming towards Devi, which is certainly a change from some of the other people on board. Basil, the ship’s pilot and interstellar navigator (and an alien who basically looks like a huge chicken), isn’t exactly pleased by the presence of a Paradoxian on board, and the ship’s mercurial captain isn’t exactly what I’d call “warm.” There’s clearly more to The Fool than meets the eye, and Captain Caldswell is hell-bent on keeping those secrets.

Devi’s relationships with her crew mates, particularly the sexy, mysterious cook Rupert, keep her from coming across as all brawn and no brains. She’s always played it pretty fast and loose with her romantic interests in the past, so when Devi starts really falling for Rupert, she’s freaked. It was really refreshing to read about a protagonist who owns their sexuality and their physical power, but who’s also open to deeper connections. Well done, Rachel Bach!

The twists, turns, and crazy reveals throughout FORTUNE’S PAWN kept me flying through the book’s pages and kept my adrenaline pumping for the entire story, even when some of them were fairly predictable. There’s not much else I can say about the plot without giving too much away, but I’ll leave you with this: The Fool does a hell of a lot more than just transport goods across the galaxy.

And the action scenes, lord! Devi Morris can kick some serious hostile alien ass. Using her suit of armour, her beloved Lady Grey, Devi is almost evenly matched with creatures double her size and weight. The armour makes her stronger, faster, and can even act independently of Devi to prevent injury if she’s in serious danger. In a word: awesome. The fight scenes were really well written, which is good because there are certainly a lot of them! If you’re in the mood for a rollicking adventure, then FORTUNE’S PAWN is the perfect choice.

I’m so glad that I started off Sci-Fi November with FORTUNE’S PAWN, because I think it’s the ideal sci-fi read for me: light on science, medium on aliens, and heavy on fun!

What cool sci-fi have you been reading lately? Have you read FORTUNE’S PAWN? Let me know in the comments!


    • Greg Hill

    • 6 years ago

    I haven’t read this one but it sounds AWESOME. I love the idea of a mercenary like that with cool powered armor, and I’m curious already what secrets that ship is hiding! Plus I’ve seen a few good reviews of this before, so I’m definitely adding it to my TBR. And Devi sounds like a great character.

    1. It was so much fun! The armour was honestly one of the most interesting parts of the world building. Devi is a fantastic MC, too. I think you’ll have a great time with this series, Greg!

  1. I’d not heard of this book before! The heroine sounds wonderful, and the story sounds action-packed and engrossing. And the romance definitely appeals to me. 😉 I’m glad you enjoyed this book!

    Hmmm, I think the most recent sci-fi book is still Flashfall, which I read a few weeks ago. I LOVED it though. So good!

    Great review!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. Devi is honestly one of the most fun protagonists I’ve had the pleasure of reading about in a long time. I was craving an action-packed book at the time I read this and it 100% fit the bill. Haha, same — I need a good romantic sub plot in my books!

      I saw you talking about Flashfall on your blog, it sounded great. Definitely going to check that out! 🙂

  2. *fist pump* This is such a great trilogy. I remember devouring the books as they came out because they were just so addictive. In a way, they remind me a lot of the Bloodbound trilogy, different genres notwithstanding. Both series had all the right ingredients for a great, fun read like action, political intrigue, and of course, THE ROMANCE!

    1. *fist pumps back* I’m so glad people recommended this trilogy! After loving Aaron’s UF I’m pleased to report that her sci-fi under the name Bach is also really good.

      I never thought of that comparison, but you’re totally right! Lindsey and Bach seem to have a lot in common. I’ll definitely have to check out more sci-fi romances in the future!

  3. This was a great series I am glad I had them all

    1. I wish I had the second book on hand immediately, haha. That cliffhanger is brutal!

  4. I really enjoyed this book too! The fight scenes were cool and easy to visualize, and I liked that the plot was pretty fast-paced.

    1. Yeah, the fight scenes were awesome! Reading about Devi kicking some alien ass was a total trip. Hopefully book 2 is just as good!

  5. Why do you have to keep convincing me reading books is a good idea? I’ve literally just added the other book you reviewed to my TBR and now this one too? I don’t have the money or the time for this new reads! Do you not know this?

    Oh well, this book sounds pretty awesome. I’m not a huge sci-fi reader for no reason other than I haven’t seen a whole lot of books in this genre which have caught my eye. This one has caught my eye and I want to get reading it urgently.

    1. Haha, it’s my gift and my curse! I must convince all my friends to read the same books as me. 😉

      Whenever you need a fun pick me up that doesn’t deliver a lot of substance (but will certainly get your heart beating fast), this is the perfect choice! The romantic angle in this one made it even more enjoyable. Who doesn’t love a good romance, right?

  6. I bought this entire series after I kept hearing amazing things about these books, so it’s just a matter of time before I sit down and finally read them. So glad you loved it!

    1. Oooh I’m jealous that you have the entire series! I need to pick up books 2 and 3 ASAP, because this series is a really fun ride. 🙂

  7. I have so many books out from the library at the moment, but I might have to read this first, return dates be damned 😉

    1. Damn the return dates! Just don’t tell my library colleagues I said that. 😉

      1. My favourite button on internal library systems is the one that says ‘override’ 😀

    • MaddalenaSpaceandSorcery

    • 6 years ago

    Military SF would not normally be my preferred fare, since it generally tends to be high on battles and strategy and low on characterization, but this book seems to go the other way, and I’m very intrigued – not least by the “love” relationship between the main character and her suit of armor 🙂
    Adding this immediately to my “next” list, and thank you so much for sharing!

    1. You know, I didn’t think I’d love military SF
      either since I don’t usually care for military fantasy. But this series doesn’t take itself too seriously so I was able to really get into it. 🙂

      Eeee, yay! I hope you have as much fun with this one as I did, Maddalena!

        • MaddalenaSpaceandSorcery

        • 6 years ago

        If it pokes some fun at the genre, then I *know* I’m going to enjoy it!
        See? Added incentive… 🙂

    • Lynn Williams

    • 6 years ago

    I’ve skipped this a little because I’m hoping I might get to it – if I can find it. Four stars encourages me to go and take a harder look!
    Lynn 😀

    1. Hopefully you can track it down in your neck of the woods, Lynn! Maybe your library has a copy loafing about somewhere. 🙂

    • Lynn Williams

    • 6 years ago

    by the way – when you watching Alien??

    1. I’m not sure! I was thinking next weekend!

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    • 6 years ago

    Oh, I want to read this one!

    1. It was really fun! Definitely a thrill ride and an entertaining read.

  8. I thought this book was a ton of fun as well! I need to be getting on with reading the rest of the series toot sweet! Devi’s suit was the coolest:). I agree – a good start to Sci Fi Month!

    1. Yes, me too! I’ve just been the worst with series lately, I can never seem to finish them in good time. Devi is the best! <3

  9. It;s always great when you can’t put a book down, and since i have the whole series on my kindle, this is some serious encouragement to get to it!! Awesome Review, sounds like so much fun. Tori @ In Tori Lex

    1. Ahhh, I’m so glad to hear that you’ve got this one ready to go! I think you’ll have a lot of fun with it Tori — the banter/snark between characters had me in stitches.

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