by Dorian Dawes.
Six Word Summary: A conflicting and emotional adventure awaits!
Blurb: Famous bounty hunter Talisha Artul is not having a good day. A hostile alien planet full of bandits and refugees, an entire group of mercenaries all told to kill her and take her armor, and it’s barely even noon. All she wanted was to earn a paycheck and make her mother proud. They’ve barely shared a kind word since she came out of the closet as trans and took her mother’s name.
Now she’s travelling with an android cowboy with split-personality issues and an eight-foot-tall warrior woman to beat a group of vengeful pirates and the galactic federation’s military forces to uncover an ancient alien temple. Talisha soon learns that despite her legal standing, there is little that separates her from these marginalized cutthroats and outcasts. They’re all victims here, all pawns in their shadowy employer’s game.
Length: 274 pages.
Read as an: eBook.
My Thoughts: 100% full disclosure: Mercs! is an experience.
Not only is the story a science fiction novel that features a whole range of QUILTBAG characters, but it is an action packed story that will keep you on your toes to the very end. Needless to say, I enjoyed Mercs!
For me, the main draw of this novel are the characters. Do not get me wrong, Mercs! is an action packed adventure but at its heart are characters that make you think and feel. From a transgender bounty hunter to a sentient cowboy robot, Dawes has created a range of characters that somehow, and often despite themselves, make you care about them.
The story itself is told from a variety of POVs, however the main action lies with the bounty hunter Talisha. What separates Talisha from other sci-fi bounty hunters is that she holds the knowledge of a dead culture, has some pretty sweet and advanced tech, and she also happens to be trans. I absolutely adore the way in which Dawes has effortlessly incorporated QUILTBAG characters into their story. The focus is not on her journey of self discovery, no Talisha is past that, the focus is on the story of her shit-show of a job on the planet Archimedes IV. I absolutely loved how the focus of the story wasn’t on Talisha’s or the other characters sexualities, rather the focus was on the story
What makes Mercs! so great is that the story features such a range of characters, many of which make you confront tough and conflicting emotions. Without giving too much away, the character Nergal (who had me fondly reminiscing about Dr. Zed from Borderlands) proves to be very conflicting. Over the course of the novel Nergal does some truly terrible things, however his backstory and later actions had me questioning how I felt about him. Did I dislike him? Hate him? Or worse, empathise with him?
Without discussing any spoilers, Mercs! had captivated from start to finish. I laughed, I cried, and I found myself questioning the morality of characters multiple times. Put simply, Mercs! was a gripping sci-fi adventure read.
- Rogers. Hands down, I was in love with this cowboy robot from beginning to end.
- At one point in the story, there is a handshake between Rogers and Talisha. Rogers takes a moment to comment on how Talisha is still wearing her armour. This small little sentence meant so much to me, felt so right in the story ❤
“Sorry. Just… when you’ve got your armour on like that, your fingers are metal. Just like mine.” – Chapter 6.
- Can I just take a moment to say how beautiful all of Nine Star’s covers are!
Recommendations: Sci Fi fans look no more – this is the action-packed QUILTBAG adventure novel for you.
Put very simply, Mercs! is the queer baby of Firefly and Mad Max, with just a little bit of Overwatch and Borderlands thrown in. So pretty much, if you enjoy any of the above shows and games, you stand a chance of enjoying Mercs! 😛
Please note: I received a copy of Mercs! from NetGalley.