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on 10 July 2014
Another top book from Hurley. Nyxnissia is a proper hard nut and it great to explore a well realised world through her.
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on 12 November 2012
Nyxnissa - still not a bel dame despite her deal with the Queen, and working minor jobs just keeping her team fed - is plunged back into the fray when a rogue bel dame attempts to assassinate her current protectee. Nyx has to decide whose side she is really on - the bel dame sisterhood's, the Queen's, or a rogue element thrown out of the bel dames many years before - and what she is prepared to do in order to become a bel dame again.

At the end of God's War, Nyx's team has spread to the far winds. Her magician and shifter have gone to a safe third country, where they won't be compelled to fight. Her comms specialist is dead and her best gun has set up as an independent. The new team is more-or-less an excuse to rescue lost causes, and Nyx will need her old people and a lot of called-in favours to discover who is trying to kill her and possibly overthrow the kingdom of Nasheen.

The narrative here flows better than God's War, despite the jumping around to various characters' viewpoints. Inaya, Khos and Rhys have excellent character development, and we get to learn a little more about Nyx's contacts within the bel dames and the magicians, not to mention the Queen and her security service. We also see some more history and learn just how unusual Inaya's shifting abilities are. However, the world of Umayma is still too much a dark and depressing place for me to be able to invest in it emotionally, and Nyx seems to be not only adding to the horror of it but intent on continuing to do so.

I was given a free copy of this novel to review.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 12 January 2015
Several years have passed since the devastating events of God's War. Most of Nyx's former team have taken refuge in regions distant from the ongoing war between Nasheen and Chenja, taking up new lives, starting families and trying to move on. Nyx herself is still working on the sly for the Queen of Nasheen. When Nasheen is rocked by a devastating attack on the capital city and it becomes clear that the bel dame assassins are fighting amongst themselves, Nyx is forced to travel across the continent to consult her former allies Khos and Rhys. But her arrival in their new lives has horrifying consequences.

Infidel is the second volume in The Bel Dame Apocrypha, following on from God's War and preceding Rapture. As with the first novel, it's a hard-arsed book fusing fantasy to science fiction by way of a whole lot of attitude and a lot more smarts. It's also the rare middle volume of a trilogy that builds and improves on God's War.

God's War was a great book, but one that ended up being a little too confusing for its own good, especially at the start. Infidel is much more coherently focused on its storytelling, building a parallel narrative contrasting Rhys's new, peaceful life in Tirhan with Nyx's ongoing life of mayhem. This structure worked well in God's War but is even better here, with the different locations and circumstances for the two characters allowing Hurley to even more strongly define them. The two strands are held separate for a large chunk of the book, building up tension so that when they come together the results are appropriately cataclysmic.

Hurley's writing is tighter than in the first book and also more empathetic, building up the new characters and relationships so that when the inevitable gut-wrenching betrayals and deaths come, they hurt. Infidel is a brutal book - more than the first volume - but one that earns its shocks rather than relying on them for a cheap emotional fix.

There are problems: the ending is extremely abrupt, an epic final confrontation over and done with in a blink of an eye. There's also the age-old trilogy situation of the first instalment being more or less stand-alone (in case it bombs) but the second volume being left wide open for the story to continue into a third book. Whether this is a bug or feature of trilogies is up for the reader to decide.

Infidel (****½) is an improvement over God's War, being tighter, more strongly characterised and with a better structure, whilst the 'bugpunk' weirdness is carried through and becomes even stranger. The novel is available now in the UK and USA.
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on 29 June 2014
Note: Some books which are part of a trilogy can be read as standalone novels. However, to truly enjoy this novel, I would recommend first having read its predecessor, God's War.

The story picks up 6 years after the events of God's War. Nyx, a disgraced ex-Bel Dame, is trying to eke out a living as the bodyguard for a diplomat's daughter with the assistance of her new team, which includes a shifter and a weapons expert -- but is lacking the all-important magician for communications and healing work. This lack becomes more dire when she fights off some Bel Dame assassins and then collapses from the sudden onset of an undiagnosed, highly-debilitating illness.

The war is still going on, but there is a new threat to Nyx's home country of Nasheen: a rogue group of Bel Dames is set on assassinating the Queen and taking control. Not knowing which of the Bel Dames she can trust, the Queen tasks Nyx -- who, having been excommunicated by the Bel Dames, no longer has a personal loyalty to the group -- with identifying and permanently eliminating the rebels.

Nyx decides to seek out a former member of her team, a second-rate magician with whom she had a complicated emotional relationship, to help her achieve what is almost certainly a doomed mission. But he has unknowingly gotten himself into a highly-dangerous position, and the consequences will be devastating not just for both of them, but for the other past and present members of her team.

Though Nyx's behaviour is often cruelly pragmatic and frequently self-destructive, I do not find her an unsympathetic character. Her main goal is one of ending the war -- and she is willing to sacrifice herself or her team members to accomplish that. But in the meantime, she does what she can to protect and provide for her team -- knowing that however loyal they might be, under the right circumstances they might still choose to betray her.

For those who would prefer a little more orientation -- or who would like some refamiliarisation after a time-lapse from reading God's World -- the author has created a Godswarbook wiki at Wikispaces (a Google of those two capitalised words will provide the URL). This provides an excellent resource for a brush-up on events up to now, or on answering questions about the world as the story progresses.

Readers who enjoy God's War and Infidel will not want to miss the trilogy's conclusion, Rapture.
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on 15 December 2012
Kameron Hurley is a brilliant world-builder, the magic, science, scenery and people of Umayma are all drawn with amazing realism, even though the world is really strange and unique. In this second book, Nyx and her team leave Nasheen and show us some of the other countries of this war-torn planet and how they have prospered or suffered from the war. It's really well done, the politics and economics are shown in detail, but in the natural course of the story-telling. The book never suffers from that SF problem of dropping into lecture-mode.

In my review for the first book I said that I couldn't really like any of the characters. I'm pleased to say that I'm liking them a lot better now. Perhaps they annoyed me in the first one, especially Rhys and Nyx, because their motivations weren't clear until the very end of the novel, and so I was perpetually frustrated by their unreasonable actions. But now that I know them better, watching them try and fail is heart-breaking. In retrospect, the first book was really just a very slow build-up for the character development here. I hope the third book is as moving.
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VINE VOICEon 20 July 2014
Having loved Kameron’s first book, God’s War, I couldn’t wait to see what he’d hit back with next and boy, was I in for a treat as I opened the title. There’s solid combat, great twists and when added to a principle character that the readers will love to spend time around who for all her lethality has a dependency on alcohol, all round made her feel quite approachable.

Add to this great pace, solid prose and more than a twist or two all round game me a book that really didn’t let me catch my breath. Magic.
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on 11 August 2014
Its not often I'll even bother to wrote a review and even less often that I'll score so highly. Its disappointing to see reviews of mediocre books receiving high scores - misleading. This book however, is well written, beautifully characterised and utterly unique in its ideas. If you're a fan of something different then this will be your read of the month
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on 13 November 2014
God's War was an incredible novel and Infidel continues in grand form. Hurley has created a rich, thought provoking world full of violence, sexual politics and intrigue. It's a remarkable novel, action packed, brilliant and driven by a forceful protagonist.

I am loving this series.
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on 1 June 2014
Great writing. great imagination. characters you can empathise with and root for... a crazy world that you can almost taste. a book that you WANT THEM TO MAKE INTO A FILM. great sci fi. absolutely spot on. for any iain m banks/ stross fans/ heinlen/ Julian May fans. top notch.
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on 29 September 2015
first book i read in the series loved it the writing is very vidvid great characters and the world its set on is interesting love the cultural mix
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