From the Vault

From the Vault – Double Life & Alliances by S. Usher Evans

This week’s From the Vault is a double dose! In honor of Conviction’s release next week, I thought I’d bring back my reviews for the first two books in The Razia Series by the lovely S. Usher Evans. You can bet on seeing some more on Conviction next week! These reviews first appeared here and here. Wow, you can really see the changes in my reviewing style from my when I first began and now!

Piracy is a game. How much are you worth?

Since she was a little girl, everyone – from her father to the Great Creator himself – told Lyssa Peate the same thing: she’s worthless. But when she becomes the pirate bounty hunter Razia, she can see the price tag on her own head. Employed by one of the four pirate syndicates, she uses bank transactions and her considerable wits to capture rival members. At least, she would be if Razia’s boss ever gave her a chance. It’s a man’s world, and all she’s allowed to hunt are purse snatchers while she languishes on probation.

To pay the bills, she’s stuck in her old life as Lyssa, discovering and analyzing distant planets and selling them for cash. She’s doing just enough to stay out of trouble, pretending to be continuing her father’s mysterious research while away for long periods of time. Her slimy boss is always asking questions and even assigns one of her younger brothers, Vel, to intern with her. Already struggling to keep the balance between her double lives, she tries everything to rid herself of the kid…

…until the universal police mistake Lyssa’s intern for Razia’s hostage. (Goodreads)

The two identities of Lyssa/Razia show her struggle with who she is and her search for acceptance from the pirate community and herself. Evans does a wonderful job of setting up the internal motivations and the external forces working on Razia and bringing her face-to-face with her problems. Lyssa’s struggles and emotions are palpable and compel you to keep going, especially as her plans for pirate domination keep getting a wrench thrown into them. There was never a dull moment. The banter between characters is witty and realistic; and while Razia is trying to figure out what in the world she is going to do, she didn’t come across as the whiny-needy female characters that have made their way to the main stage in recent years.

I gave Double Life five stars!

Piracy is a game. Whom do you trust?

Lyssa Peate has found a tenuous balance between her double lives – the planet-discovering scientist and space pirate bounty hunter named Razia. No longer on probation, Razia still struggles to be thought of as more than a chocolate-fetching joke, and Lyssa can’t be truthful to those closest to her. But both lives are turned upside-down when feisty government investigator Lizbeth Carter shows up to capture the same pirate Razia is after.

Lizbeth’s not interested in taking Razia’s thunder; rather, she convinces the caustic bounty hunter to help solve a mystery. Somebody’s hiring pirates to target government ships, and there’s a money trail that doesn’t make any sense. From the desert planet of D-882 to the capital city on S-864, the investigation leads them deeper into a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of the Universal Government – and to one of the most painful chapters in Lyssa’s past.

Alliances is the highly anticipated sequel to Double Life, Book 1 in the Razia Series.(Goodreads)

We catch up with Razia about a year after the ending of Double Life. No longer on pirate probation, she’s been doing a commendable job bounty-hunting, but getting none of the commendations. She is just as stubborn and unwilling to hear anyone out when they are saying anything she doesn’t want to hear. When another female shows up in her territory, it’s ON! Despite the unlikelihood of Razia joining forces with anyone, her and Lizbeth begin uncovering an operation much larger than either of them expected, and what they find will send them for a loop.

Positives:

  • Duo of strong women characters with their own set of strengths and weaknesses, as well as readily-equipped with witty banter.
  • Idea that being feminine doesn’t equal being a whore. (Evans talks about this on her blog, too.)
  • Along those same lines, it’s nice to have a story whose main character is female and her main interest/concern/motivation is not romance.
  • It’s a fun/tense adventure!
  • Said fun/tense adventure is not without an emotional journey of self-discovery and brutal truth-slaps.
  • Nice comic relief.
  • I like that we get the results of Razia’s searches in tables, it makes it more immersive (probably even more effective when not read on a phone…).

Negatives:

  • I didn’t really have any “cons” about this book, but to each their own. 🙂

Others:

  • There are times you want to reach out and slap Razia and tell her to listen.
  • (Putting this here until I can test out my theory that this is device-specific) some of the tables used so that we can see what Razia sees were too wide for the page, not really a con, and not enough to really affect the experience.
  • There is a geeky part of me who wishes to delve [even] further into the naming system for the planets, how the time system works, the science of the space travel, and other science-y things. This is good, because that means the story is interesting enough that I want to know more.

I gave Alliances five stars!

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3 thoughts on “From the Vault – Double Life & Alliances by S. Usher Evans

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