Book reviews / Science Fiction

Book review: Behind the Throne

I posted about K B Wager’s Behind the Throne┬áhaving a 50% chance of being terrible when I started it. I think that’s still true but the other 50% was equal parts hilarious and utterly delightful.

I’m having memories of Sunshine in how much I liked the main character, Hail. But the plot is absurd and if you can go with it, you’ll probably enjoy it.

The problems with the plot are as follows:

  • god damn space empires with hereditary monarchy
  • gunrunner is actually heir to said space empire and has to come home when her sisters are murdered
  • odd reverse gender politics (the empire is a matriarchy)
  • literally almost everything that happens

But what it gets right are the main core of characters. Hail, the heir to the empire and her trackers Zin and Emmory. They are a fantastic trio and you want to be their friends. My favourite thing about Hail is how often she swears, we would so get along.

Being a matriarchy, almost all the important characters (and powerful people) in the book are women. The only two that aren’t are Zin and Emmory. So, it really does pass the test very well. It even passes both bonus points, in a weird roundabout way. Perhaps the sequel will dive into the gender dynamics a bit more (as was alluded to in this book).

What was also good was the predicament Hail find herself in. For one, she’s heir to an empire, but in another she’s basically trapped and lots of people are out to kill her. So it’s working around the limitations, trying to solve the mystery of who killed her family, trying not to get killed herself and coming to terms with a past she ran away from. It’s not subtle, by any means, but it’s a little bit more existential, which I quite like. Shooting her way out of it won’t solve any of her problems (as her body guards keep reminding her).

Anyway, it’s a fun space-romp. If you enjoy that sort of thing (and don’t mind a lot of swearing), I think you’d probably enjoy this. It’s definitely on the fluffier scale of sci-fi but sometimes fluffy with a helpful dose of swearing is good.

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