Huge thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Nightchaser is out 1st January 2019.
A couple of months ago, I finished Heart on Fire, the third book in Amanda Bouchet’s The Kingmaker Chronicles and enjoyed it so much I was desperate to get my hands on more of her work. Luckily for me, I was approved for an advanced copy of Nightchaser on NetGalley within a week. Although I’ve really enjoyed Bouchet’s fantasy work I was slightly wary about her first foray into science fiction as it’s not a genre I’m particularly invested/knowledgable in/about BUT it turns out my wariness was unnecessary as I loved it. Loved. It. It iss such a fun, action packed romp through space, I read it in one day. So, what’s it about?
Nightchaser is a science fiction romance novel following the Endeavor spaceship captain, Tess Bailey and her crew as they steal from the rich to give to the poor. In this Robin Hood-esque post-epic-space-war world, the Galactic Overseer has dominance over all the planets and does not feel like sharing the wealth. Tess and her crew are part of the rebel movement shipping mostly food and medicine to those who need it most, including orphaned children, until they suffer an attack from the Dark Watch (the villains of the piece) and are forced to dock for ship repairs. Enter Shade Ganavan, the man who can fix her ship cheaply and bounty hunter extraordinaire. With a bounty of at least two hundred million on her head, delivering Tess and her spaceship to the Dark Watch could be the easiest payday of Shade’s life but the more he gets to know her the more their chemistry builds and it soon becomes a question of trust for both of them.
Now that description does not do this story justice but I daren’t say more for fear of spoilers. I knew going in this was a romance story but there is so much more going on than blossoming love. We have daddy-issues, dysfunctional family drama, trauma, warfare, loyal friendships and general badass-ery. There is even an adorable cat that makes life better for everyone just by allowing the characters to stroke him. If you enjoy fun stories with characters you can root for with a realistic romantic thread, Nightchaser is for you.
The plot is complex, thought provoking, fun and sexy – a wonderful blend that Bouchet has once again proved she is expert at delivering. We get chapters from both Tess and Shade’s points of view which wasn’t something we got in her previous series but was an aspect of Nightchaser that I really enjoyed. As usual with the romantic sci-fi/fantasy genre, there are misunderstandings and complicated histories so the insight into both protagonists’ thoughts was welcome as it helped understand their motives and feelings. I found both characters’ view points compelling and I can’t wait to see where they go from here, as expected, there was a bit fo a twist at the end! The side characters are also well developed and have their own complex histories and motives which drives the plot forward and links them to Tess. I have a feeling we will learn more as the series progresses which is definitely something to look forward to.
My main concern with science fiction is that the world building and technology will be too complicated for me to follow or so new and innovative that it overshadows the characters and plot but thankfully that was not the case here. Everything made sense and was familiar enough for me to grasp without constantly having to think about logistics and whether it was ‘believable’ enough. I know that sounds bizarre from someone who loves reading fantasy that is usually set in worlds without electricity let alone technology, and generally features supernatural/fantastical beasts and races, but there is something about stories featuring technology/space that makes me feel like it should be more true to life as we know it today. But that is my personal issue and luckily I found the world building in Nightchaser well explained and easy to understand so it didn’t distract me from the plot or the characters’ journeys. I can happily confirm that Bouchet can write epic, addictive and expertly crafted science fiction just as well as she can fantasy and I look forward to reading whatever she comes up with next.