Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: Perdition (Dred Chronicles, #1)

Perdition (Dred Chronicles, #1)Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Dred Chronicles, #1
Release date: August 27th 2013
Publisher: Ace
Mass Market Paperback, 337 pages
Buy: The Book Depository

The prison ship Perdition, a floating city where the Conglomerate’s most dangerous criminals are confined for life, orbits endlessly around a barren asteroid.
Life inside is even more bleak. Hailed as the Dread Queen, inmate Dresdemona “Dred” Devos controls one of Perdition’s six territories, bordered on both sides by would-be kings eager to challenge her claim. Keeping them at bay requires constant vigilance, as well as a steady influx of new recruits to replace the fallen. Survival is a constant battle, and death is the only escape.
Of the newest convicts, only one is worth Dred’s attention. The mercenary Jael, with his deadly gaze and attitude, may be the most dangerous criminal onboard. His combat skill could give her the edge she needs, if he doesn’t betray her first. Unfortunately, that’s what he does best. Winning Jael’s allegiance will be a challenge, but failure could be worse than death…

Back when Perdition was first mentioned, pitched as Prison Break in space (I kid you not), I immediately knew it would be a dream come true. Because seriously, violence and mayhem, Ann Aguirre style? In space?! Give me that, and then give me some more! So when it finally found its way into my greedy little hands, I was basically in ecstasy. And I remained in an absolute state of bliss throughout.

While this trilogy may be a Jax series spin-off, readers who aren’t familiar with Jax won’t be at a loss at all. It is entirely possible to read (and fully enjoy) this separately. Details that were previously known about Jael get reintroduced pretty quickly in Perdition so that everyone is at the same place. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t find the time to read Jax – you should – but it’s not a prerequisite.

Space station known as Perdition houses only the most hardened of criminals. The people imprisoned there are no small-time thieves, rapists or murderers. It takes a truly heinous crime (or hundreds of them) to get someone a one-way ticket to Perdition from the Conglomerate. ‘Innocent’ is not a word that gets thrown around often, not even for our heroine, Dresdemona “Dred” Devos.

Taking the reader on a space station where not a single redeemable character lives may seem like a simple thing, but believe you me, it’s an enormous challenge. We are all, each of us in a slightly different way, emotional readers, and we love to feel sympathy for our characters, but it takes a brilliant author to make us feel sympathy for mercenaries and mass murderers.

In some ways, Perdition is the darkest Ann Aguirre book yet – not because it’s the most violent (although it’s certainly at the very top) – but because there isn’t a single ray of light anywhere on that ship. It is a place where end always justifies the means, and survival is the only thing that counts.

For me, the magic of Aguirre’s writing comes from two sources: the first is her excellent understanding of human nature and psychology, and the second her incredible gift for metaphors. If Ann’s elegant, no-nonsense writing style is the body of this story, the few well-placed, hard-hitting metaphors are its very soul. With no more than a few words, Aguirre unfailingly manages to both bring forth the desired emotional response and leave her readers in awe of her writing skills.

The more I tried to choose and point out my favorite thing about this book, the more I realized that such a feat was next to impossible. I was just about ready to put Dred and Jael’s relationship on the pedestal, only to remember, among other things, certain bloody battles that took my breath away. With each new book she writes, Ann Aguirre has to live up to some pretty high standards, and she achieves it so effortlessly every single time.

Perdition will give you no time to breathe, but it will make you appreciate your freedom, the roast beef sandwich you had for lunch, and that extra bar of soap in your bathroom. It will also make you care for its characters despite their awful and violent histories. My recommendation? Get out of that chair and go grab a copy now!


  1. I knew you'd love this and, therefore, convince me to love it too! ;) I love the concept of this one and I am all for more Jael - though he isn't in Jax's good books where I am in the series. I suspect/hope that will change. Even though I can start this one without having finished Jax's books, I think I will just to have that series out of the way. I cannot wait to read this one, especially with the emotional attachment to the characters, so thanks for this brilliant review, Maja! :D

  2. A Five! I enjoyed Ann's Razorland Series and this new series caught my attention. I love bloody action and a story that is not generic. Thanks for putting this on my radar, Maja.


  3. I have read her young adult series- well the first one of the series at least and I agree, Ann's writing is downright beautiful. I'm glad you loved this one!!

    Awesome review, Maja! <33

  4. I am so glad you enjoyed this and your review now has me giving this one a second look because I have to admit, the cover threw me off a little and I was really interested in it until now.
    Fantastic review!!

  5. Wow, this seems pretty hard core for a science fiction book. I know how much you love this author and I've yet to try her books but I think I might try her UF series first.

  6. Happy to see that you didn't feel disappointed by this one at all after having such high expectations. I don't think this would be one for me but it does sound really interesting.

  7. I'm seeing so many awesome reviews for this. Love Ann Aguirre. Loved Sirantha Jax. Can't wait to read it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Cat @ Addicted 2 Heroines

  8. I'm really curious about this one so I'm glad it's that good, but maybe I need to read her others series mainly as I have them.

  9. So glad to hear such a raving review for this one! I have it on my TBR list and will be getting it for my Kindle now to hopefully squish it somewhere in my reading schedule for this month!

    Thank you for a great review, Maja!

  10. I have not read any of Ann Aguirre's adult series, but from the sounds of it, they are absolutely fabulous. I've heard nothing but praise from you about her books, Maja, so I will definitely have to try some one day.
    I haven't read a dark violent book in some time, so I should probably give this one a shot.
    Lovely review, Maja!

  11. Now I'm curious... at first glance, I didn't think I could feel much resonance with the characters but I just skimmed through the excerpt on amazon and I was hooked! Thanks for sharing your love for urban fantasy with us :)

    1. sorry, I mean romantic science fiction, not urban fantasy

  12. Fantastic review! I can't believe I had no idea that this one was out yet (I've been living under a rock this summer). Now I'm really curious about this one and can't wait to read it.
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  13. The characters and psychology sounds very well done

  14. I read the first 3 books of Sirantha Hax series and I was intrigued by Jael so I am psyched to see him in this new series. Ann Aguirre's writing really suits me. Great review :)

  15. Prison Break in space?! This sounds awesome! It's amazing how talented Aguirre is at making the reader care about characters who seem to have little redeeming qualities. I can't wait to read this! i know you're a big AA fan, and this one sounds like a truly exceptional book of hers. Lovely review!

  16. Since I know it will be awhile before I work the Sirantha Jax books into my schedule, this is the next best opportunity. I am getting a copy.

  17. I still need to read the other series and I want to read it first. I just haven't gotten to it yet. It looks like I'll be in for a treat with this one. I really like the idea that this is set in space. I think she writes fantasy very well.

  18. God, I loved these antiheroes. They were fantastic and I can't wait to get back into that world NOW!

  19. Considering that everyone on the space ship is a hardcore criminal, I think it's amazing that Aguirre managed to make you fall in love with and care about the characters. This sounds as well-written as all of her books, Maja. I just need to find the time to give one of her books a try now ...

  20. Whew, this one sides like a wild ride! I've never read anything by this author, and while space freaks me out for the most part, I'm definitely curious by your review. It sounds fantastic.

  21. The visualization reminds me of the planet Crematoria in Chronicles of Riddick. It's where hardened criminals are exiled and imprisoned as well. While this book may be a bit too SF for me, I'm interested to find out exactly how much Aguirre was able to 'humanized' the characters in this book.

    Lovely, lovely review, Maja. Thanks for your thoughts. ;)

  22. She is one writing MACHINE! I have read her YA books, and then her new steampunk book, but that's it. This might be a good place to start but I'm concerned with how dark it is. I've been wanting lighter subjects lately. But I don't know, winter's coming, my mood is bound to change. So glad you really loved this though!

    And welcome back! I'm having trouble keeping up with my commenting, but I saw your post in my feed about moving. I hate moving, but I'm glad you're getting settled in and back to blogging!

  23. Because of your reviews I started worshiping Ann Aguirre without even reading her books. You see what you do to me. Anyhow I'm so glad you enjoyed this one and it sounds even better than The Bronze Gods :) Amazing review Maja :)

  24. Woot, I love Aguirre's writing style and am happy to hear I will not be lost, and that cover is kick-ass!

  25. I'm so glad that you mentioned that this can be read as a standalone series because I haven't read the Samantha Jax one and was really curious about this one. Dred looks kickass in the cover alone and I'm really happy that she delivered it in the story as well. Lovely review, Maja! :)

  26. Yes. Yes, I need. :) That's all I can say as a Jax lover. :) Thank you!

  27. I'm glad that this series can be started without having to have read the Jax series. You have been such a huge fan of this author, I've always been curious even though sci-fi isn't usually something I enjoy. But this concept sounds fascinating and it sounds like something I would love! I'm excited to read it. I'm checking to see if it will be released as an audio.


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