Thursday, December 11, 2014

ARC Review: Undercity by Catherine Asaro

Author: Catherine Asaro
Series: Skolian Empire (Book 7)
Publication: Baen (December 2, 2014)

Description: BOOK ONE IN A BRAND NEW SERIES by Nebula and Hugo Award Winner Catherine Asaro set in the world of her Skolian Empire universe.  In the galaxy-spanning future, Major Bhaajan is a tough female P.I. who works the dangerous streets of Undercity.

Major Bhaajan, a former military officer with Imperial Space Command, is now a hard-bitten P.I. with a load of baggage to deal with, and clients with woes sometimes personal, sometimes galaxy-shattering, and sometimes both. Bhaajan must sift through the shadows of dark and dangerous Undercity—the enormous capital of a vast star empire—to find answers.

My Thoughts: UNDERCITY is an accessible entry point for readers interested in Asaro's Skolian Empire books. It tells the story of a woman who escaped the poverty-sticken and violence-ridden Undercity by joining the army, has a successful career, retires and becomes a Private Investigator on a different planet. When she is hired, at an extremely high rate of pay, she finds herself returning to the planet of her birth and having to go back to the Undercity she thought she had escaped forever.

She has been hired to track down a missing Majda prince. While searching for him in the Undercity, she runs into an old love and some old enemies too. She also uncovers a plot that has the potential to destroy the culture of the Undercity and destroying the Skolian Empire too. Bhaajan is an interface between the power elite of the world and the people in the Undercity. She finds herself educating her employers about the culture of the Undercity and protecting the citizens from forced assimilation by the residents of the upper city - the City of Cries.

I enjoyed this story about a woman who finds herself going back to a world she thought she had left behind. I liked the way she advocated for her culture which she could do because she has spent years in the dominant culture. I liked the way she handled the culture clash. I liked the rekindled romance in the story. I thought the technology was fascinating. I liked the mention of the psychic powers that has the potential of turning the residents of Undercity into an essential resource for the Skolian Empire even though that made the loss of their culture more imminent.

I look forward to reading more books about this character.

Favorite Quote:
I could have said no to General Majda. I was a civilian now. My reasons for considering the job weren't only because angering Majda was a lousy idea; it also had to do with honor and yes, gratitude. Down undercity, you didn't talk about emotions. Admitting them was weakness, and weaknesses got you killed. I couldn't say how I felt about what the army had done for my life, but I could show it. Besides, someone had to provide the link between ISC and the undercity, and far better me than Takkar. So I went to General Majda's meeting about the smuggled weapons. 
I got this eARC from Edelweiss for review. You can buy your copy here.

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