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Nyx had already been to hell. One prayer more or less wouldn't make any difference...

On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there's one thing everybody agrees on--

There's not a chance in hell of ending it.

Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war--but at what price?

The world is about to find out.
Published: Start Publishing LLC an imprint of NBN Books on Feb 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781597803007
List price: $14.99
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I would probably not have picked this one out in a bookstore. But I got it free on my new Nook. It has adventure, lots of violence, and a strange desert planet where people sell their body parts and doctors use bugs to cure people! I can't wait for the sequel.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
On a planet with two suns, two nations have been at war with each other for almost as long as each has existed. Centuries of war have affected each country differently, though both continually loose generations of men to the endless war. In Nasheen, women rule; The Queen’s word is God’s word, and her laws are carried out by highly skilled female assassins known as bel dames. In Chenja, women are the veiled property of men who are to be cared for by fathers, brothers, or husbands. Each country has specialized breeding compounds to provide a continual stream of fresh bodies for the war, but In Chenja, a woman doing anything other than staying at home and veiled is considered indecent and punishable by laws seemingly based on Sharia law. The women in Nasheen at least get to choose what they will do with their life: breed or fight. Nyxnissa so Dasheem has chosen the latter. A stint at the war front left her half dead, but she was “reconstituted” and joined the law and order of the bel dames, carrying out government-contracted bounties and assassinations. The book opens with her crossing from Chenja to Nasheen after a failed contract kills her partner, selling her womb (quite literally) for a ticket across the border. She is broken, bleeding, and completely out of options.It’s a situation Nyx will find herself in many times throughout God’s War, Kameron Hurley’s bloody take on religious wars and the damage they inflict on those who suffer them. The titular god bears significant resemblance to the god of the Qur’an, which in Hurley’s world is called the Kitab (which means book in Arabic; kitabullah is also used in the book, and this is a direct reference to the Qur’an as kitabullah means “the book of God” in Arabic). No one remembers why the war started, but it continues to be fought over religious and ideological differences (different interpretations of the Prophet’s words) between the two nations. None of this really matters to Nyx; the only thing that matters to her is bringing in her notes, assassination contracts handed out by the bel dame council and sometimes even the Queen herself. The main story takes place several years after the opening sequence and concerns a note handed out by the latter behind the back of the bel dame council. Nyx takes the note in hope of redemption, but instead opens a can of worms that could obliterate Nasheen’s enemy, Chenja, or even Nasheen itself.Speaking of worms, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the tech on this world is mostly organic and relies almost entirely on the use of bugs by magicians and others who can manipulate organic matter. Cars have organic, living hoses and are powered by red beetles. Organic filters surround entire cities and act as doors, but are tailored to let only certain organic matter through. The war is largely fought with organic bursts, biowarfare that unleashes plagues, disease, and other contagens on anyone not inoculated or caught outside the filters (God help them if something explodes inside the filters). Nyx’s world is harsh, and anything organic is profitable, including, and sometimes especially, genetic material or body parts (hence the womb). Also on this world are shifters, people who can shape-shift into various animals. Explaining some of this is worth while because like any good SFF writer, Hurley drops you into the middle of Nyx’s world and you had better hit the ground running if you want to make heads or tails of anything. She also uses exposition only when necessary, and parsed out in as little space as possible. A line or three here and there, rarely a whole paragraph. And yet it’s easy to inhabit Nyx’s world; Hurley is thorough without being pedantic. Nyx is a completely likable yet frequently feckless anti-hero. In this she reminds me a bit of Mal from Joss Whedon’s excellent but short-lived tv series, Firefly. She’s a lot harder than Mal, but just as bumbling sometimes. She’s aslo pretty damn kick-ass; just the kind of SFF heroine I like.While I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying that gender politics is a main point of Hurley’s story, it plays a significant role. But the novel isn’t as skewed as one might expect as she gives voice to the Chenja view of women and the world in the character of Rhys, a Chenjan magician hiding out in Nasheen. The narrative form used allows for Hurley to explore multiple perspectives, and while the novel is certainly tilted in favor of Nasheenian views of women and the world through Nyx, it was nice to be given multiple views. If Hurley can anywhere be accused of too much exposition, it’s in the sections from Rhys’s POV, mainly because he frequently comments on the differences between Chenjan women and Nasheenian women.This book stayed with me long after I finished it, and I frequently found myself thinking of Nyx’s various horrible situations-how she could get out of them, etc. After I finished God’s War, I immediately downloaded the next in the Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy, Infidel. I just finished God’s War today, and I’m already half-way through Infidel. The third book in the trilogy will be released in early November, but I’ve got a NetGalley advance of it, so come back for a review of the next two books soon. This is exactly the kind of hard SF with a female heroine I look for and rarely find. I highly recommend the Kameron Hurley’s Bel Dame Apocrypha.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
3/5 stars – I liked it and will finish the series.This is the story about a woman, named Nyx, who is in the middle of a religious war on her planet. She first worked as a Bel Dame but by the time the book began Nyx was working as an assassin for herself and picking up notes where she chose. She brought together a team of outcasts who battle with relying on her and but also trying to protect themselves and what they find most important in life.In the beginning of the book, the reader is dropped right into this strange world with no clue on what is happening. It seems that some information is given right off but much of it isn’t given until it is relevant at the moment. I found this to be distracting from the action because of the mini history stories throughout the book. Other then that issue, I find this book to be very attractive. The imagination of Hurley is amazing because I found myself fighting for the rights of those stuck in this war.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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I would probably not have picked this one out in a bookstore. But I got it free on my new Nook. It has adventure, lots of violence, and a strange desert planet where people sell their body parts and doctors use bugs to cure people! I can't wait for the sequel.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
On a planet with two suns, two nations have been at war with each other for almost as long as each has existed. Centuries of war have affected each country differently, though both continually loose generations of men to the endless war. In Nasheen, women rule; The Queen’s word is God’s word, and her laws are carried out by highly skilled female assassins known as bel dames. In Chenja, women are the veiled property of men who are to be cared for by fathers, brothers, or husbands. Each country has specialized breeding compounds to provide a continual stream of fresh bodies for the war, but In Chenja, a woman doing anything other than staying at home and veiled is considered indecent and punishable by laws seemingly based on Sharia law. The women in Nasheen at least get to choose what they will do with their life: breed or fight. Nyxnissa so Dasheem has chosen the latter. A stint at the war front left her half dead, but she was “reconstituted” and joined the law and order of the bel dames, carrying out government-contracted bounties and assassinations. The book opens with her crossing from Chenja to Nasheen after a failed contract kills her partner, selling her womb (quite literally) for a ticket across the border. She is broken, bleeding, and completely out of options.It’s a situation Nyx will find herself in many times throughout God’s War, Kameron Hurley’s bloody take on religious wars and the damage they inflict on those who suffer them. The titular god bears significant resemblance to the god of the Qur’an, which in Hurley’s world is called the Kitab (which means book in Arabic; kitabullah is also used in the book, and this is a direct reference to the Qur’an as kitabullah means “the book of God” in Arabic). No one remembers why the war started, but it continues to be fought over religious and ideological differences (different interpretations of the Prophet’s words) between the two nations. None of this really matters to Nyx; the only thing that matters to her is bringing in her notes, assassination contracts handed out by the bel dame council and sometimes even the Queen herself. The main story takes place several years after the opening sequence and concerns a note handed out by the latter behind the back of the bel dame council. Nyx takes the note in hope of redemption, but instead opens a can of worms that could obliterate Nasheen’s enemy, Chenja, or even Nasheen itself.Speaking of worms, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the tech on this world is mostly organic and relies almost entirely on the use of bugs by magicians and others who can manipulate organic matter. Cars have organic, living hoses and are powered by red beetles. Organic filters surround entire cities and act as doors, but are tailored to let only certain organic matter through. The war is largely fought with organic bursts, biowarfare that unleashes plagues, disease, and other contagens on anyone not inoculated or caught outside the filters (God help them if something explodes inside the filters). Nyx’s world is harsh, and anything organic is profitable, including, and sometimes especially, genetic material or body parts (hence the womb). Also on this world are shifters, people who can shape-shift into various animals. Explaining some of this is worth while because like any good SFF writer, Hurley drops you into the middle of Nyx’s world and you had better hit the ground running if you want to make heads or tails of anything. She also uses exposition only when necessary, and parsed out in as little space as possible. A line or three here and there, rarely a whole paragraph. And yet it’s easy to inhabit Nyx’s world; Hurley is thorough without being pedantic. Nyx is a completely likable yet frequently feckless anti-hero. In this she reminds me a bit of Mal from Joss Whedon’s excellent but short-lived tv series, Firefly. She’s a lot harder than Mal, but just as bumbling sometimes. She’s aslo pretty damn kick-ass; just the kind of SFF heroine I like.While I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying that gender politics is a main point of Hurley’s story, it plays a significant role. But the novel isn’t as skewed as one might expect as she gives voice to the Chenja view of women and the world in the character of Rhys, a Chenjan magician hiding out in Nasheen. The narrative form used allows for Hurley to explore multiple perspectives, and while the novel is certainly tilted in favor of Nasheenian views of women and the world through Nyx, it was nice to be given multiple views. If Hurley can anywhere be accused of too much exposition, it’s in the sections from Rhys’s POV, mainly because he frequently comments on the differences between Chenjan women and Nasheenian women.This book stayed with me long after I finished it, and I frequently found myself thinking of Nyx’s various horrible situations-how she could get out of them, etc. After I finished God’s War, I immediately downloaded the next in the Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy, Infidel. I just finished God’s War today, and I’m already half-way through Infidel. The third book in the trilogy will be released in early November, but I’ve got a NetGalley advance of it, so come back for a review of the next two books soon. This is exactly the kind of hard SF with a female heroine I look for and rarely find. I highly recommend the Kameron Hurley’s Bel Dame Apocrypha.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
3/5 stars – I liked it and will finish the series.This is the story about a woman, named Nyx, who is in the middle of a religious war on her planet. She first worked as a Bel Dame but by the time the book began Nyx was working as an assassin for herself and picking up notes where she chose. She brought together a team of outcasts who battle with relying on her and but also trying to protect themselves and what they find most important in life.In the beginning of the book, the reader is dropped right into this strange world with no clue on what is happening. It seems that some information is given right off but much of it isn’t given until it is relevant at the moment. I found this to be distracting from the action because of the mini history stories throughout the book. Other then that issue, I find this book to be very attractive. The imagination of Hurley is amazing because I found myself fighting for the rights of those stuck in this war.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Amazing worldbuilding and a truly kick-ass, take-no-prisoners female protagonist - if you like dark, brutal novels like Joe Abercrombie's (which I do!), go buy this book right now. It's an unflinching look at the terrible cost of war, and the difficult choices faced by those who struggle to break free of their cultural expectations. Highly recommended to anyone who likes their sf edgy and thought-provoking.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book first came to my attention as a Nebula nominee earlier this year and then was recently selected as a book club read. I found God's War to be completely different from my usual reads: aggressively dark, defying all genre conventions, and fascinating at every turn.This is science fiction in that it takes place off Earth, but on a world that was colonized 3,000 years before by Muslims. At this point, faiths have diverged amongst different nations, with some more conservative than others and many tenets of Islam recognizable in an evolved form. The fantasy element is that this is also a world with magic--bug-based magic. That's right. Magicians manipulate bugs to heal wounds, transmit poison, or even as an energy source for vehicles.This use of bugs also lends itself to the incredible darkness of the book. Nyx collects heads for bounty. Death is everywhere. Torture is commonplace. The war is a nefarious, constant presence. There are points where it verges on horror, because the scenes are so gruesome and intense. Yet I kept reading. Why? I typically like my heroes and heroines as good guys. Nyx is not. She's terrifically complicated. Rhys--I loved Rhys, the God-fearing Chenyan with haphazard magical skills. The rest of the team is equally vivid and diverse. The plot is fast-paced, like a thriller, with threats at every turn. My curiosity about the world pulled me in, and the characters wouldn't let me go.God's War is daring, dark, and amazing. I will definitely look for more by this author.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is not a full review as I read this books months ago, it is sort of a remembering. I just learned it is a nominee for the 2011 Nebula Awards, so I thought the book deserved some write up. This book and the world written about in this book is unlike anything else I have ever read. The world building was fantastic and so unique. Magic and technology run on bugs. Control of bugs gives individuals more power. The society is devoid of men because they are at war; fighting has been going on for centuries. As the result of war society of both countries fighting has been devistated socially and environmentally. Each country at war has reacted differently. One is oppresive to women and the other country, due to the lack of men, is oppressive to men. But that is a simplistic description of the social dynamics in this book, it is much more complex. What is clear in this story is that war is devistating and the violence in people's lives destroys their humanity. The setting is in a desert like location reminscent of the middle east, but it appears to be a planet settled centuries ago. The story told is a dark, brutal story. There is not much light in it. There is no love, no romance, there is loyalty among team members -- but the team members themselves are brutal and cruel people. I have purchased her next book in this series and do plan to read it.If you can handle dark and brutal (and I mean brutal) stories and enjoy complex world building, then you likely would enjoy this story. It is not for those who are squeamish about bugs, violence or if same-sex sexual relationships bother you.
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