Xena, Sarah Connor, Padme Amidala, Honor Harrington, Mara Jade, Max Guevara, Red Sonja, Mena, Arya, Ellen Ripley, Vin, Princess Leia, Trinity, and on and on goes the list of kick-ass female protagonists in science fiction and fantasy. Each presented to varying degrees of realism, Kameron Hurley thought to add her own to the mix with God’s War—her 2011 debut, and first in the Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy. Many reviewers hot on the book’s ‘original approach to gender, religion, and race’, this reviewer is far more skeptical about the actualities underpinning these grand aspects of society. The novel 100% succeeding in the creation of yet another pulp heroine, whether or not she transcends storytelling to become something original depends on the perspective—or perhaps how much genre the reader has consumed.
God’s War is the brutally bloody and bloodily brutal story of Nyx, government assassin, and, when the need arises, black market mercenary. The war zone between her homeland Nasheen and Chenja so filled with the remnants of nuclear, biological, and chemical residue, any deserting soldier trying to sneak back into Nasheen is caught and killed by Nyx and other bel dame assassins, a severed head the only proof needed to collect bounty. War perpetual in Nasheen, all men are sent to the front, women ruling the streets and society. Asked by the queen one day to run a black ops mission that just might bring an end to the war, Nyx crosses the border into the enemy’s territory with her team of operatives and there, at times with only her strength and will to rely upon, comes face to face with the cycles of internecine violence that have been the impetus of her life.