It took me a while to get into this cyberpunk thriller, partly because it is the second in the series and I haven’t read the first book. With no ‘Story So Far’, I found it difficult to get my bearings as de Pierres clearly expected those of us reading Code Noir to have already read the first book.
The other issue is that the pace is breathless. So much so, that it took some time before I warmed to Parrish, which is unusual because I’m generally a real sucker for your gutsy, tough-but-misunderstood-heroine. Having for more years than I care to recall, waded through books with female characters either adorning the hero’s arm or providing action in the sex scenes, it’ll be sometime in the next century before I tire of heroines punching/shooting their way into and out of more trouble than you can aim a neuron disrupter at… So I thought, anyway. Parrish came perilously close to exhausting my patience.
I think the problem is that so much is going on, she never stops long enough to allow the reader to get properly acquainted with her until about halfway through the book. Eventually, however, I got drawn into the action, which is set in Australia making an intriguing change both culturally and scenically from the majority of such books.
The Tert War is over and Parrish Plessis had landed a big share of the spoils. Not bad for a girl with a price on her head and an uncanny ability to attract trouble. Problem is, power and territory mean responsibilities. And obligations. Like the small matter of her blood debt to the shadowy and dangerous Cabal Coomera. They need Parrish for a little rescue mission – one that’ll take her into the heart of teckno-darkness, the slum town of Dis. In return they’ll let her keep on living. Assuming she survives.
Once I did bond with the character and catch up with what was going on, I really enjoyed myself. I applaud de Pierres for giving her heroine a major facial injury. Unlike one or two other female protagonists sporting such trophies, I could fully believe that Parrish wouldn’t bother to get any sort of cosmetic surgery done to repair the damage. In these days with increasing pressure on girls to look ‘hot’, it was a shame, I felt, that the girl on the cover didn’t display her crooked nose and caved-in cheekbone. However, I’m not going to hold that against the author. It’s a pity that Orbit didn’t reflect more accurately what was going on between the covers when designing the jacket.
Meantime, I’m definitely going to get hold of the other major series de Pierres has written, Sentients of Orion. This time, though, I’ll take care to start with the first book.