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Genre: Science Fiction, General Science Fiction
Returning to his Legion of the Damned universe, Dietz illustrates why he’s a master of the genre: the battle scenes are numerous and thrilling; the world feels immersive and authentic; and our heroine, Andromeda McKee, is a tough-as-nails badass who earns her squad nickname, The Steel Bitch. Also in its favor is an absorbing premise: Bent on murdering the empress who had her family assassinated, socialite turned fugitive Catherine Carletto becomes Legion recruit Andromeda McKee. But in spite of this promising beginning, the revenge element of the story never really gains any traction. McKee is so often wrapped up in military life that very little attention is paid to her quest to kill Empress Ophelia. And the empress herself, introduced in the first pages as a cold-blooded murderer who takes out her brother in a mad power grab, all but disappears from the story. Additionally, McKee’s late-breaking romance with a peripheral character feels strangely tacked on.
Cat Carletto is a party girl. Hopping from planet to planet, the privileged heiress is a tabloid fixture. But after her entire family, close allies of murdered emperor Ordanus, is killed in a large-scale hit, her charmed life is over. On the run from assassins sent by the new empress, Cat joins up with the Legion — a ragtag militia made up of every flavor of criminal — and is reborn as “Andromeda McKee.” As McKee, she learns the ins and outs of combat, repairing cyborg warriors and putting an intuitive flair for strategy to work. Quickly rising through the ranks, McKee grows fond of her new life, even if her hunger for vengeance is always simmering beneath the surface. But with the sudden appearance of a robot synth, who could potentially out McKee as Cat Carletto, the erstwhile debutante’s future is far from secure. (ACE, Dec., 352 pp., $25.95)
Reviewed By: Regina Small
Published: December 2012