I needed this book. It is pure escapist fun. Brutal, but fun.
Hurley throws you right in the deep end with Zan, a warrior who has lost her memory. She explains the minimum amount required for the narrative to make sense, so you’re basically forced to just to accept things until they get explained in bits and pieces, generally much later on. I’m ok with that, and I find it to be a much better world-building experience than info-dump after info-dump. Also, everything that I thought needed an explanation got explained. I’ll admit that some of the background information is only implied and I had to fill it in myself, and I think that’s what drove some people crazy who didn’t like the book. Because the whole idea that the worldships have been orbiting in Legion for so many generations that they are just literally starting to fall apart was pretty clear, I thought, although I suppose it’s never actually spelled out.
You should just ignore the summary because it’s hard to summarize this book without giving away spoilers, and the summary won’t prepare you for the book. We have massive organic worldships run by various clans at war with each other. The Katazyrna, the Bhavaja, and the Mokshi are the big players in the novel. They’re at war for resources, basically, and Zan and Jayd (mentioned in the summary) are trying to break away from the past destructive cycles. Of course, this naturally entails a lot of death and destruction.
All the characters are female, but this makes sense in the context of this universe. If this is too unbelievable for you, this probably isn’t the book for you.
There is literally no biological function for men to perform in this world, Legion, so just consider them all post-humans rather than your traditional humans. It would have made no sense to shoe-horn males into this world, so get over it if that’s your beef. Actually, it’s never confirmed that they are our descendants, so they could all be aliens instead. It doesn’t matter to the story. They’re trying to escape Legion and its decay but they’ve lost too much knowledge to do it easily.
I’d call this space opera, but you can tack on the fantasy label if the advanced technology seems too much like magic. Be forewarned that there’s a lot of violence and moral grey zones, but I thought it was great.