Short Take: “Rebellion,” Joshua James

Pros: Can’t get enough of Lucky Savage!
Cons: Cliffhanger
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Joshua James’s novella Rebellion: Lucky’s Mercs | Book 2 is the second book in the series “Lucky’s Mercs,” which is a spinoff of “Lucky’s Marines”. James has specified that he’s tried to make Mercs stand alone, so you don’t need to have read Marines, and I think he succeeds (although go read Marines anyway–the whole series is awesome!). In this volume, Lucky and his crew take a simple crowd control job–go down to a mining colony and crack a few heads. Just his kind of work. Of course as soon as the group arrives everything goes off the rails. The Sheriff of the mining colony, who contracted them, knows Knives–and Knives insists that Sheriff Fang absolutely, 100%, cannot be trusted. The Cardinal Order is about, and while Lucky isn’t with the Empire any more, he and his people still have problems with the Reds. There’s something strange going on, and Lucky and his people will be lucky to get out with their hides intact.

We get to experience Spider’s origin story in this volume! It’s quite fascinating. All we know so far is that she’s an AI in a brain-dead human body, where normally AIs have to co-exist with a living mind. There are also hints that she has some unusual abilities.

The mining station is under water, and the geography and topology of how it’s structured is integral to much of the action. It’s creative and fun, with plenty of tense moments.

I really can’t get into much more without spoilers. I’ll just say that there was one question I felt should have been answered a little better; there’s a cliffhanger in this volume (I hate cliffhangers!); and of course I’m giving you a content note for Lucky’s particular brand of Hate-fueled hyper-violence.

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