Hello, everyone! I’m excited to be contributing my review to the blog tour for Bluebird by Ciel Pierlot. Thank you to Angry Robot books for inviting me to be part of the tour and for providing a copy of the book! Bluebird will be available on Tuesday, February 8.
About the Book
Firefly meets The Heat in this fantastic, female-led, debut.
Three factions vie for control of the galaxy. Rig, a gunslinging, thieving, rebel with a cause, doesn’t give a damn about them and she hasn’t looked back since abandoning her faction three years ago.
That is, until her former faction sends her a message: return what she stole from them, or they’ll kill her twin sister.
Rig embarks on a journey across the galaxy to save her sister – but for once she’s not alone. She has help from her network of resistance contacts, her taser-wielding librarian girlfriend, and a mysterious bounty hunter. If Rig fails and her former faction finds what she stole from them, trillions of lives will be lost–including her sister’s. But if she succeeds, she might just pull the whole damn faction system down around their ears. Either way, she’s going to do it with panache and pizzazz.
***Thank you to NetGalley and Angry Robot books for providing a copy of the book. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***
I’m not really even sure exactly how to describe this book. It was a mix of space opera and thriller (spies in space!) with a dash of gunslinger/Western vibes thrown in for good measure. Whatever the classification, it was a fun adventure that I’m glad I got to experience. It had interesting world-building, characters you can’t help but root for, and important themes that will make you think. The writing was snarky and exhibited lots of personality, and the pace of the story was steady and engaging even in the slower moments. The story itself was an outstanding adventure filled with action, mysteries, and double-crosses that kept things exciting up until the very end.
The world-building in this book was immersive without being overwhelming. The politics was interesting and explained within the course of the story in a way that avoided massive info dumps. Science fiction can often get bogged down in the technical details, but this book avoided that. The technology and weapons were a lot of fun to read. There was enough detail to get a rough idea of how it all worked without derailing the story or becoming bored from being drowned in minutiae. The world-building effortlessly supported the direction of the story and the journey of the characters without becoming a distraction from them, which I appreciated.
Speaking of the characters, I loved them all! Rig was sassy and determined. I loved her strength and her willingness to do whatever it took to help others and save the ones she loved. Her character arc reminded me a bit of Sabine from Star Wars Rebels, which I enjoyed because I love that character as well. Rig exhibited a great deal of growth as she struggled to come to terms with her guilt while working to undermine the existing social order. I enjoyed following her perspective and seeing most of the story through her eyes. I think my favorite character was Ginka, though. Her story was incredibly compelling, and I enjoyed seeing the effect of love and friendship on her as the novel progressed. She started out dehumanized by her society and completely enthralled by the religion keeping her oppressed, and it was fascinating and incredibly moving to see her become deprogrammed by the power of connection with others. The author’s use of the interludes to accomplish this was perfectly executed.
There were a lot of great themes and tropes in this book, including found family, fighting against systemic oppression, the devastating effects of colonialism/imperialism, the power of connection, and learning how to forgive oneself. I enjoyed a lot of the political commentary because it was delivered in such a captivating way that felt natural to this story. Even a day after finishing the book, I’m left reflecting about several different things and how they apply to my life and current issues facing society. As I mentioned before, one of my favorite things about this book was the illustration of the importance of human connection and its centrality in defining personal identity. My favorite quote illustrates this concept quite well:
Her life is made up of different bits of different people and stories, stitched together until they form something that resembles a complete person. Pieces of memory and myth poured inside the shell of her body. Not that she doesn’t think of herself as being, well, herself. She is the master of her own body, her own form in this galaxy, and she’ll fight anyone who says otherwise. Those bits and pieces are her. All the way through. She chose them to take with her.Bluebird by Ciel Pierlot
Overall, this was an excellent debut. If you are looking for a new space opera to read, I highly recommend it. Even if you are not usually a fan of sci fi, this one is worth the read and is well-written enough to keep readers unfamiliar with the genre engaged due to the excellent character work and entertaining plot. Therefore, I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.
About the Author
Ciel Pierlot is a disaster bisexual from the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s also a giant nerd and no, you cannot stop her from bragging about her lightsaber collection. When she’s not writing SFF novels, she’s busy being a digital artist and a hardcore gaymer.