Friendly Fire by Gavin G Smith
‘Never popular in high school. Steal a prison barge and suddenly everyone wants to know me.’
Miska’s first outing with her legion was FUBAR, but most of them managed to make it out okay (ish). They might even come out ahead if she can sell the stolen spaceship in Maw City, making the whole thing a resounding success. She only had to explode a few heads after all. But now she’s been given another job by her FBI contact: find the possible alien artefact on Barney Prime and keep it away from Mars. Easy peasy. Except nobody knows what it is or what it does, it’s currently in unknown hands, but undoubtedly well guarded, somewhere in New Verona, home city of the Mafia boys she has collared, and on top of all that, she has a significant bounty on her head. Oh, and a warrant out for her arrest. Nobody said this was going to be easy…
Just like the first in the book series, it takes a while to get into the story. Not for the action to get going, that’s page one material, but for the mind to adjust to all the vocabulary and technological innovations. Perhaps that’s more a personal issue, as I don’t read as much military sci-fi, but both books are dense with futuristic detail, especially equipment specifications and mechanical and human augmentations. The immersion might come slowly, but once you’re there, all this added information grounds the story with layered authenticity, each detail normalising a world filled with useable tech. What’s more, this instalment doesn’t suffer as much from over explanation, the jargon expanded upon within the flow of the story rather than on top of it. It is packed with action, from space battles with pirates to Fast and Furious style truck heists, gun battles and cyber duels.
It only leaves a little space for character development, but it is there. This is especially the case for Miska. She does much less talking about how much of a badass she is and much more proving. I could have done without her obsessing about the Ultra, but the wish fulfilment sexuality has been turned down at least. She’s starting to connect with the men she has enslaved, seeing them as more than just throwaway items. Of course, she thinks that one of them might be responsible for her father’s death, so she can’t just kill them all unless she’s prepared for the possibility that she might never know who did it. But even this slight alteration in her outlook makes her enslavement of them all the more insupportable. The morality of it has always been questionable, but the idea was that she didn’t care. Whatever necessary to fulfil her goals. Now, her claims to have no conscience seem to be an attempt to convince herself as much as those under her command. It’s reflected in their responses to her too. The ethics of their situation is raised repeatedly throughout the story, with characters highlighting their enslavement and the limits of what they’re prepared to do to remain alive. Slowly, slowly, members of the team are being fleshed out and given more motivation for action than simply avoiding death by head detonation. Suddenly, there’s more negotiation and more definitive lines drawn as it becomes clear each person has their own notions about personal morality, which the threat of death will not overcome. Each compromise might seem practical, but it’s also emotional. Miska is changing. Of course, she’s still an arsehole, willing to kill anyone not on her team who gets in the way as well as those on the team who pose a threat, and they still want to kill her, they’re bad guys, plotting escape is what they do. It’s becoming a whole new ball game- one that’s far more interesting to watch.
Just like Miska herself, this book is much less shouty, not trying too hard to impress. With all the noise dialled down, what comes through is the humour and detailed, dirty reality of this created world. Without a doubt, I’m hooked. This offering was significantly better than the first, in style, pacing, and character. Not only that, the hints for what’s to come signals a much larger scope than the investigation into Miska’s father’s murder or the goings on of a prison legion. The introduction of Classical mythology is a huge plus for me and poses so many questions: who is Pavor? Does the Owl signify what I think it does? And what happened with/in the artefact? I can’t tell you how excited I am to see the new team in action, too. We can rebuild him…. BRING. IT. ON.
ARC via publisher
This Friendly Fire book review was written by Emma Davis
All reviews for: The Bastard Legion
The Bastard Legion #2
In FRIENDLY FIRE, the Bastard Legion are hired to pull off a daring power-armoured heist of propriety tech. Getting the tech will be hard. Getting off the ...
The Bastard Legion #3
It was the kind of dirty, violent work the Bastards were made for. Protect a bunch of colonists in the Epsilon Eridani system, whose moon had become a war zone as megacorp-...
Have you read Friendly Fire?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Friendly Fire reader reviews
8/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
All the Birds in the Sky
Charlie Jane Anders
Childhood friends Patricia Delfine, a witch, and Laurence Armstead, a mad scientist, parted ways under mysterious circumstances during middle school. But as adults they bot...
Brave New World
Brave New World is a dystopian novel written in 1931 by English author Aldous Huxley, and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State of genetically modified...
The Duke of Atreides has been manoeuvred by his arch-enemy, Baron Harkonnen, into administering the desert planet of Dune. Although it is almost completely without water, D...
The Lost World
Arthur Conan Doyle
It's London, 1907. Journalist Edward Malone, rejected by the woman he loves because he is too prosaic, decides to go in search of adventure and fame to prove himself wo...
The Martian Chronicles
The strange and wonderful tale of man’s experiences on Mars, filled with intense images and astonishing visions. Now part of the Voyager Classics collection....
The Left Hand of Darkness
Ursula Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin’s groundbreaking work of science fiction—winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.A lone human ambassador is sent to ...
Megan E O Keefe
Dazzling space battles, intergalactic politics, and rogue AI collide in Velocity Weapon, the first book in this epic space opera by award-winning author Megan ...
The Illustrated Man
That The Illustrated Man has remained in print since being published in 1951 is fair testimony to the universal appeal of Ray Bradbury's work. Only his second...
John Golden: Freelance Debugger
John Golden is a debugger: he goes inside the computer systems of his corporate clients to exterminate the gremlins, sprites, and other fairies that take up residence. But ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: