Sunday, February 24, 2019

Review: Behind the Throne by K.B. Wagers

Behind the Throne
(The Indranan War #1)
K.B. Wagers
Release: August 2, 2016
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Meet Hail: Captain. Gunrunner. Fugitive.

Quick, sarcastic, and lethal, Hailimi Bristol doesn't suffer fools gladly. She has made a name for herself in the galaxy for everything except what she was born to do: rule the Indranan Empire. That is, until two Trackers drag her back to her home planet to take her rightful place as the only remaining heir.

But trading her ship for a palace has more dangers than Hail could have anticipated. Caught in a web of plots and assassination attempts, Hail can't do the one thing she did twenty years ago: run away. She'll have to figure out who murdered her sisters if she wants to survive.

A gun smuggler inherits the throne in this Star Wars-style science fiction adventure from debut author K. B. Wagers. Full of action-packed space opera exploits and courtly conspiracy - not to mention an all-out galactic war - Behind the Throne will please fans of James S. A Corey, Becky Chambers and Lois McMaster Bujold, or anyone who wonders what would happen if a rogue like Han Solo were handed the keys to an empire . . .
I'm a sucker for sci-fi books that feature runaway princesses that choose to go their own way. And Behind the Throne had that in spades plus the delightful trope of the reluctant royal being hauled back to their kingdom to be the next in line to the throne. Add in that the runaway princess turned gunrunner/smuggler ala Han Solo in her days away from the court and it made for a great read.

I'll be honest. Behind the Throne isn’t the best variation of this trope I’ve ever read, but I found it grabbed my attention and didn't let it go. My main complaint and it's a small one is that the book was more political maneuvering than action thriller. I wanted to see more of Hail the Gunrunner but the political conspiracies were intriguing and occasionally broken up by assassination attempts.

Hailimi, aka Hail, is a fairly typical Strong Female Protagonist. She's a badass fighter, a crack shot, and a snark master. I found her to be tedious towards the first part of the book with her acting like the reluctant heir but once she accepted her role the story became a lot more interesting. What I really appreciated was that this was an older female led book with no romance subplot.

While it took me a bit to warm up to Hail, I immediately fell in love with her two bodyguards, Emmory and Zin. I want to know more about their backstory and I hope we see a lot more of them in the next two books. My fingers are crossed that maybe we'll get POV chapters from them because I really want to see their thoughts on things. I want to know more about their tracker bond and relationship.

I loved the world building! The Indranan Empire is matriarchal and there were a few mentions of a cast system, but basically all of the power structures of the culture felt like they were told and not shown. I hope we see more of the culture. I also loved how the Empire had a lot of Indian influence and I found myself looking up the Hindu gods a couple times to get the references.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel and see what kind of trouble Hail and company get into next.

  4 / 5 Stars


Book 11/30

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