BookMusings: (Re)Discovering Pagan Literature

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Book Review: Nightchaser



Title: Nightchaser

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Author: Amanda Bouchet*

Pages: 416pp

Price: $7.99 (paperback and ebook)

Humanity has spread across the galaxy. Millennia after abandoning Earth, thousands of planets, moons, and space stations are now home to uncounted trillions. And one man rules them all: the Overseer .... Quintessa Novalight is the daughter of the Overseer. Abused and experimented upon as a child, and finally abandoned at an orphanage, she faked her death and carefully hid her identity from friend and foe alike. Going by the name Tess Bailey, she has gathered a ragtag group of outcasts, and done whatever she can to support the tiny rebellion which is seeking to overthrow her father. Unfortunately, after years of successfully avoiding the Dark Watch, Tess has made a critical error, and now her father knows she is alive, and he is coming for her ....

Science fiction romance is one of those genres which gets little in the way of positive press, and even less respect. It's a genre that I love, though, so I am always on the hunt for new titles and authors. When an advance copy of Nightchaser popped up on netgalley, I jumped at the chance to read it.

Nightchaser is fun. Think epic chases in outer space, gun fights, narrow escapes, an impossible romance, a sexy bounty hunter, super soldiers, and -- of course -- a tyrant determined to maintain his control of the galaxy, no matter who he has to kill.

Tess, however, won't go down without a fight. She is determined to protect those she loves, and she has more allies than she realizes (see previously mentioned sexy bounty hunter).

At this point you are probably wondering why I am reviewing Nightchaser on a Pagan literary blog. The answer to that is the Sky Mother and Her Powers. In the far future of Nightchaser, none of the Earth-based religions survived the migration out into space. Instead, most people pray to the Sky Mother. To the faithful, the Sky Mother is a protective and loving deity. As Shiori, one member of Tess' crew of outcasts explains: "The Sky Mother is all-powerful [....] The Sky Mother balances everything. From the center of the galaxy, She sends out her rays of light." Every midsummer (according to the official calendar), the citizens of the galaxy pause to celebrate Emergence, the birth of the Sky Mother. Under the Overseer, that has become a sombre and reserved commemoration; in rebel strongholds, it is a still a riotous party, as it was in the old days.

(While the exact nature of Her Powers is never explained, I get the impression from the text that these are lesser divine beings; sort of a cross between angels and demigods. I'll be curious to see if my guess is correct, when the next book comes out.)

Tess does not personally believe in the Sky Mother, and she has little more than contempt for the Church of the Great Star, which has allied itself with her father to stay in power. She does recognize that there are things beyond her understanding, however; when she sees the great Rafini Nebula outside the orphanage where she grew up, she notes "something washed through me, a wondrous feeling I couldn't explain."

I had a blast reading Nightchaser, and I look forward to the next two books in the series. Recommended to fans of The Fifth Element, Jupiter Ascending, Linnea Sinclair, Jessa Slade, and Ilona Andrews.


* Bouchet is also the author of The Kingmaker Chronicles, a fantasy romance series which features the Greek pantheon. I have not had the chance to read it yet, but hope to do so and review it here at some point in the future. 

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Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine Eternal Haunted Summer. She is also the editor-in-chief of Bibliotheca Alexandrina. She thinks it is incredibly unfair that she must work for a living rather than being able to read all day. In her next life, she would like to be a library cat.


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