By Ciel Pierlot
Author: Ciel Pierlot
Publisher: Angry Robot
- ISBN: 9780857669667
- Published: February 2022
- Pages: 448
- Format reviewed: Paperback
- Review date: 08/02/2022
- Language: English
There is nothing quite like space for great action sci fi. The spaceships, the weapons, the futuristic or alien technology. Massive explosions and body parts flying about the place is great, but it is nothing without characters that you care about. Somone losing a hand means nothing if it is just another henchperson, but if its Luke Skywalker, now we care. Bluebird by Ciel Pierlot has fantastic set pieces, but it also has flawed, and fun characters who you will care about if they lose a limb.
In a Universe dominated by three warring factions, Rig is a freelancer working against all three to save people from their clutches. Her only haven is a Library that holds great literary works, but also her greatest treasure, the Librarian, June. Rig finds herself separated from her love when her sister is kidnapped. With the aid of the mysterious operative, Ginka, Rig will need to go up against more than one superpower to protect her loved ones. Luckily, there is more to Rig than first meets the eye.
There are moments in Bluebird that has the reader white knuckled as they grip the pages. Spinning space battles, gun play, hand to hand combat, but there is also great character development and some intelligently sly world building. I am not a fan of exposition where an author explains the world in dry paragraphs. Pierlot draws out the concepts of rival factions and Rig’s place within/without them, through the story. Rig has already been through a lot before this book even begins and events come to a head as we read. She has more enemies than friends, but the reader will like her.
This is because Rig is a cool character. She comes from a lengthy line of fab roguish space farers, cut from the same cloth as Han Solo. Her heart is in the right place, but she does not always do the right thing to get the required results. Throw in the intriguing Ginka and you have some great chemistry. One fast talking hero, the other who likes to do the talking with her fists. Fists that happen to be fashioned into deadly weapons. When the two find themselves in various brawls, Rig is the sharpshooter, Ginka the close combat specialist.
The action is a highlight within Bluebird with some impressive set pieces and they work on their own. However, they are improved because thought has gone into the world, this is not just action for the sake of it. You care for Rig and her relationship with June. You are interested in who Ginka is and become fascinated as her past is revealed. There are also undertones of racism and prejudice in the book as Rig is from a species persecuted by others. She herself could have existed above this persecution, but instead she chose to rebel. That says a lot about the attitude of the character.
There is a forward thrust to the narrative that makes it feel like an all-out action book, but there are moments of introspection. For a space faring romp, it is a little longer than the norm, but that is because it has some intelligent world building. I would recommend it to the reader who likes their space faring science fiction more action packed but is also after some well written world building.
Written on 8th February 2022 by Sam Tyler .