Seven Mercies by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May – ARC Review!

After an ambush leaves the Novantae resistance in tatters, the survivors scatter across the galaxy. Wanted by two great empires, the bounty on any rebel’s head is enough to make a captor filthy rich. And the seven devils? Biggest score of them all. To avoid attacks, the crew of Zelus scavenge for supplies on long-abandoned Tholosian outposts.

Not long after the remnants of the rebellion settle briefly on Fortuna, Ariadne gets a message with unimaginable consequences: the Oracle has gone rogue. In a planned coup against the Empire’s new ruler, the AI has developed a way of mass programming citizens into mindless drones. The Oracle’s demand is simple: the AI wants One’s daughter back at any cost.

Time for an Impossible to Infiltrate mission: high chance of death, low chance of success. The devils will have to use their unique skills, no matter the sacrifice, and pair up with old enemies. Their plan? Get to the heart of the Empire. Destroy the Oracle. Burn it all to the ground.

I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher and can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.

“Every death has a weight, and some are heavier than others.”

I’m just gonna start this off by saying I am not at all ok! This book took me on the wildest ride of emotions and had me in a blubbering mess by the end. The Novantae resistance is in tatters, a shell of it’s former self, flying from planet to planet desperately trying to hide from the Tholosians. The Devils are trying not to feel too dejected, but the more they struggle to come up with a plan to defeat Damocles, the harder being on the run gets. That is until Ariadne learns something that could tip the battle in their favour, The Oracle, in it’s need to keep her safe, has gone rogue. Not only has it planned a coup against Damocles, but also one to take over the mind of every citizen, turning them into husks of their former selves. The Devils know that they have to do, but it doesn’t mean they have to like it, and if they’re not careful, their plan to destroy the Empire could bring it all burning down.

Man I can’t tell you how much I love these characters. Lam and May give us the same POV’s as in book one; Clo, Eris, Rhea, Ariadne & Nyx with the addition of Kayla, the leader of the rebellion and Cato, the ex-pilot who the Devil’s managed to un-brainwash in book one. They all grow so much in this book whether from learning about their pasts, or finally accepting how they are now, and I just loved all their interactions. The subtleties in how they interact with each other and seeing how all the different relationships develop ensure that you get invested in this story whole-heartedly. They all have trauma of some kind in their past whether it be from betrayal or abuse, but that trauma is what makes them stronger, it’s what ties them together, they have all been hurt in some way by the Tholosian Empire and because of that are determined to bring it to it’s knees BUT they don’t let that trauma overshadow the mission which is to disassemble the Empire with as little loss of life as possible (yes, even Eris gets less stabby in this one.) Lam and May really manage to show us the dark reality of war, but with plenty of levity and lighter moments so we don’t get too bogged down.

I think I might have enjoyed this book a little more than book one, mainly thanks to already knowing all the players and, while while that may seem a little dull, the way they implement plot twists, as well as their overall world building, and brilliance at writing characters, make sure we are always kept on our toes. I can’t tell you the amount of times I snorted with laughter, gasped out loud or held back a sob whilst reading this, just when you think you have an idea of how things are going to pan out, they manage to throw another spanner in the works, making this book almost impossible to put down.

Lam and May write some of my favourite, and the most epic space battle scenes ever. Their descriptive writing effortlessly drags you into the story ensuring you’re there alongside the characters for every little skirmish or huge ass battle and one in particular had the hairs on my arms standing on end, it was just *chefs kiss* and I had to scream into the void because I had no friends who’d read it to scream at. I loved how certain characters got a little more one on one time than they did in book one, seeing all the different relationships develop be it the romantic kind between Clo and Rhea as well as another couple I wont mention for spoilers, or the friendship/familial kind because our Devil’s are a family, dysfunctional as they are.

This is one hell of a chunk and it definitely reads like one in parts, only because every single one of the characters gets a fully fleshed out back story which, for those who prefer more action filled books, may get a little slow in parts. But, if like me, you’re a sucker for well developed characters as well as worlds, then I can guarantee you will love this series. For me, Seven Mercies was the perfect blend of action and character development and, had we not had as much time with the characters as we did, I don’t think the emotional impact of this story would have hit as hard as it did. I was desperate for out Devils to get their happy ending and Lam and May mostly managed to give us that, whilst also managing to show the realities of war. This series is perfect for fantasy lovers looking to make their first foray into Sci-Fi and I’m hoping that Lam and May collaborate again in the near future.

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