Reviewed by: Krista
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
In Perdition, the first novel of Ann Aguirre’s Dred Chronicles, there are no heroes but monsters and those who prey on them. The Dred Chronicles begins on a deep space asteroid refinery ship that has been retrofitted as a prison ship for the worst of the worst in the Conglomerate. A prison, which has become a floating city made up entirely of prisoners, no guards, little supplies and no chance of escape.
Even though the world of Perdition takes place in the distant future, with various technological advancements, the future is a lot less civilized than we might have expected. The farther away from the inner worlds a person wanders, the more uncivilized it becomes. The location for Perdition is as about as far from civilization as you can get and the motto seems to be kill or be killed. Our male protagonist was the villain of Aguirre’s Doubleblind in the Sirantha Jax series and our heroine is supposedly one of the most successful serial killers that the Conglomerate had ever seen. Neither of these characters have any claims of innocence or repentance for their crimes.
I have always been a sucker for a good villain. In some of my favorite books I have found myself empathizing with the villain more than I do with the hero. That being said some of my favorite heroes could easily qualify as villains. What’s somewhat unique about Perdition is that the characters are quite pragmatic about their villainous nature and what has brought them to this place. In reflection, it’s revealed that inmates who make justification for their actions or excuses don’t seem to live very long. Instead it is those who accept the reality of their environment and situation that survive and adapt. The station is divided into different sections reigned over by those who have the might to hold their borders.
Our ‘heroine,’ The Dread Queen a.k.a. Dresdemona “Dred” Devos has been an inmate of Perdition long enough to stop marking off days and has been Queen of her own region for a few turns. She rules by a combination of fear and violence. Jael, our quasi hero, arrives when Dred is facing a probable joint invasion by some of Perditions darker regents. To face down their enemies they both will need to unleash their own monsters.
Throughout the novel each of the characters is hiding more than either reveals. We learn in reflection that each of the characters have gone through a lot of personal growth during their years of incarceration. That doesn’t mean that they regret the majority of their actions, instead they are quite realistic on what has brought them to where they are. Even knowing that in any other novel they would be the villain, the reader can’t help but root for their happy ending. Also the action scenes are intense and well played out; these sequences are some of the best I have read.
I really enjoyed Perdition and will be picking up the sequel. In the past I had found Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax series hit or miss, but so far The Dred Chronicles are a definite hit. Definitely a must for fans of Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax Series or Joss Whedon’s Firefly.
Sexual content: Sex