Review: Hell’s Rejects by M.R. Forbes

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One of the better space opera covers I have seen!

Ooooh Sci-fi. I heart you a lot. I’m on a bit of a sci-fi audiobook binge lately, having listened to 5 or 6 of them in a row. I couldn’t resist adding this one to the mix, having loved both M.R. Forbes’ Ghosts & Magic series and Jeff Hays’ narration of it. So, one assumes that if one likes someone’s urban fantasy series, one would like their space opera series too, right?

ALL SIGNS POINT TO YES.

(Also, I received a copy of this audiobook for free in exchange for my review of it).

The most powerful starships ever constructed are gone. Thousands are dead. A fleet is in ruins. The attackers are unknown. The orders are clear: Recover the ships. Bury the bastards who stole them. 

Lieutenant Abigail Cage never expected to find herself in Hell. As a Highly Specialized Operational Combatant, she was one of the most respected soldiers in the military. Now she’s doing hard labor on the most miserable planet in the universe. 

Not for long. 

The Earth Republic is looking for the most dangerous individuals it can control. The best of the worst, and Abbey happens to be one of them. The deal is simple: Bring back the starships, earn your freedom. Try to run, you die. It’s a suicide mission, but she has nothing to lose. 

The only problem? There’s a new threat in the galaxy. One with a power unlike anything anyone has ever seen. One that’s been waiting for this moment for a very, very, long time. And they want Abbey, too. 

Be careful what you wish for. 

They say Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. They have no idea.

“Sorry, Queenie,” he said. His lower lip was practically quivering. It was adorable. “I do want to break his face though.”

Maww Gant. You’re the best.

A space opera series with a strong female protagonist? Sign me the fuck up for that! That was the first thing that caught my attention when I read the blurb for this one. So, with the knowledge that Jeff Hays narrates this as well (like many of Forbes’ other audiobooks) and that it would therefore be well narrated and likely full of cool special effects and stuff, I jumped right in head first.

Well, ears first. LOLOLOLokay I’ll stop. >.>

You know, it took me a long while (and admittedly a lot of experimentation) to learn that not only are a great many self published books good, but their audio versions, if given proper love and attention are fucking amazeballs as well. This one is no exception. Special effects like… communication over a radio sounding like communication over a radio, characters sounding muffled when the text indicates they would be, and things like that give the book an immersive quality that really makes it hard to stop listening. A great narration can help me cheer for characters I might not actually care so much about in print, or hate villains that I’m supposed to hate but can’t visualize hating and so don’t. I’m way more likely to listen to books that I likely wouldn’t read but want to experience. Space operas usually fall into this category for me, for while I love-love-love the idea of them, I sometimes find them a chore to actually get through in print.

If someone reads them to me though, well… I could (and can… and have…) handle that all day long.

This one was a fun, spacey-but-not-overdoing-the-spacey ride, which occasionally brought to mind some of my favorite sci-fi titles. Battlestar Galactica, various Star Trek iterations, The Hyperion Cantos, etc, etc, etc. This is not a bad thing. It made the story more relatable to me, which made it more immersive. Not that I’m not a fan of military/war based sci-fi (Old Man’s War is in my top 10 sci-fi books ever; Mass Effect is among my favorite video games of all time; I can probably quote entire episodes of TNG from memory…), but more that I have no frame of reference, having never been in nor all that interested in the inner workings of the various branches of the military. I suppose it could be said that I don’t really take an active interest in war stories….. unless it’s space war. That’s totally different (because space). You know… war… in the stars… eeeheheheokay I’ll really stop now. >.>

Anyway, like a few other reviewers have said, this one felt like a spacey Suicide Squad. Take a bunch of convicts, place kill switches in their bodies, then send them on a dangerous AF mission for the greater good. In space. With spaceships and laser blasters and shit. It worked for me, similarities or no.

I liked Abbey as a character, though I felt at times that she was almost overly good at everything she did. Part of that was admittedly the point, but even before she was… gifted… Abbey was just the best at everything she did. Even despite that though, she still seemed human to me, what with the struggle of not being able to see her daughter, and the emotional stress that causes. That was all believable. Gant, who I imagined as something along the lines of an Ewok mixed with a sloth, was another awesome character that was well used as… not exactly a comic relief, but something that kept the book from getting too dark. Awesome character.

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This, from sentence once, is what Abbey Cage looked like in my mind. I couldn’t help it! (Femshep 4ever <3)

Anyway, I thought this was a great use of 9 or so hours of my time, and I’ll definitely try and continue the series. Though this one is #1 in a series, and was only released earlier this year, the series is already 5 books long. Because apparently Forbes can just churn books out like it’s nobody’s business (*cough* I’ll take some more Ghosts & Magic tho while you’re churning >.>). Part of the sweet, sweet goodness of self publishing, is that you can publish as many damn books as you want whenever you want.

Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, it works. It totally works. Make it fuckin raaaaiiin books. 📚📚📚📚

You can see this book on goodreads here and buy a copy on amazon here (be sure to add the narration – it’s totally worth it!).

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