Saturday, May 20, 2017

James Review -- Windswept: Like a Boss

This week I decided to review Windswept: Like a Boss by Adam Rakunas. 

This story is set in a setting where if sugarcane can be used for something it is, including reactor fuel. And the vast majority of human technology runs on sugarcane in some form, and humanity is mostly run by the Big Three, a trio of Megacorporations. The story is set on Santee Anchorage, an independent planet that produces sugarcane which it trades to the Big Three for money and goods, and is inhabited by a mix of humans born there and former corporate employees who fled their contracts.

Padma is now running the Old Windswept Distillery, whose rum is the only thing that can hold back the mental side effects of a space voyage in a semi-conscious state, near the end of her corporate career. But she is struggling to keep her head above water while warding off those who want to buy her distillery and also working a lousy job to slowly pay off the damages she inflicted when forced to wreck an orbital lifter to prevent the spread of Black Stripe, a bioengineered plague designed to devastate sugarcane production throughout human space, which would have been an apocalypse level event for human civilization.

But things soon grow worse when Padma discovers that her nemesis Evanrute Saarien, imprisoned for attempting to murder her (among other charges) and one of the masterminds behind the Black Stripe plot, is out of prison and has formed a new religion calling for followers to stand up against their bosses. As the ranks of his followers grow the danger of a strike paralyzing the world increases. Union president Letty asks Padma to find a way to stop the strike and the cult to buy time for the economic chaos wrought by the Black Stripe and the Big Three ruling that the measures needed to contain it violate Santee Anchorage's trade agreements with them. But as Padma investigates, something seems off and she soon realizes a horrifying truth.  This leaves Padma racing to end the strike before it is too late, but she must also decide just how far she is willing to go in order to do so..

I give this book 6.5 out of 10. It is far more bland then the previous novel without the few interesting action sequences that Windwept had. Also, I feel this is an example of a sequel to a story that didn't really need a sequel. Sometimes such a tale can turn out great--or at least good--but this was not one of those. Also, the motivations of some of the key players in the tale are unclear to me and some scenes read like they were taken out of a B-movie script. And there is even less explained about the setting's big picture than in the previous book with what happened in this one having no real effect on or danger to anyone or anything not on Santee Anchorage.

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