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Perdition - Ann Aguirre

Wow. After the last Sirantha Jax book covering turns of political and social upheaval with sparse and decimating action, this book comes roaring out of the gate. After scant chapters to set up the location and characters, the plot takes a death grip and doesn't let go. When I hear phrases like 'non-stop action', I immediately become skeptical, but Perdition's plot is constantly moving, barely offering time to rest between fights. There is even a large scale massacre within the last chapter, in the last four pages. I've never been offered that much action that late in a story without a horrifying cliffhanger. Ms. Aguirre doesn't leave us hanging, crafting it in such a way that I want to pick the next book up, but I'm not full of hatred over a cliffhanger.

Perdition takes place turns and turns after Sirantha Jax's story. It's set in the same world, mentioning events from the other series. Compared to the scope of Sirantha Jax's tale, this book is set on a singular ship in a rotating orbit. It's the most maximum security of prisons with no escape and no guards. Prisoners join a variety of gangs depending on their personalities and murderous ideals. Each gang controls part of the ship. There is plenty of infighting in the gangs as well as territorial skirmishes.

As for characters who inhabit this ship, they are varied and interesting. The mercenary, Jael, last seen in Ithiss-Tor, returns as one of the main protagonists in this series. He is pretty much the same, though it seems time on the bug planet has given him time to think over what a jerk he was. While he still harbors the notion that everyone is out to get him, he is less inclined to act upon it and quicker to apologize on the rare occasions when he does. Being what he is, he hasn't visibly aged, which is good, because he'd be very rickety and not all that great at combat.

The new protagonist, Dresdemona Davos, the Dread Queen, recently took over the territory in which she lives. Her rule is hanging by a tight thread. Her borders are threatened on both sides by two different gangs and there is dissension in her ranks. She has to navigate through an alliance with the crazy Silence, who's disillusions involve plenty of mute fighters and lots of death, in order to have the numbers in order to defeat the encroaching gangs. She also has to deal with a coup to throw her out of power in the most permanent way.

The other point of view belongs to Dresdmona's right hand man, Tam, a former political spy. While I am unsure as to what his motives or endgame is, he is both helpful and demanding. The Dread Queen is a character of his own design and he pulls most of the strings.

The other characters are just as colorful. There is a soothsaying mechanic, an innocent old man, and a huge cheerful berserker. There are more, and they cover just about every creed and vice you can consider.

The romance, while hinted at being a possible love triangle or tetrahedron, turned out being not so complicated. It had it's ups and downs, but for being in a war on a prison ship, it was both sexy and sweet.

Overall, I really loved this book. It's dark, exciting, sexy and full of interesting twists and turns. I didn't want it to end. I savored it until the last possible moment and I can't wait to read the next one!