Monday, February 8, 2016

A Fun Space Opera | The Razia Series by S. Usher Evans

I binge read the Razia series last month and had a lot of fun doing so! This post is mainly about the first book, but I'm including my shorter reviews for the rest of the series just in case anyone is interested in reading those as well. I gave 4 stars to Double Life, Alliances, and Conviction, and gave 4.5 stars to Fusion.

*I received an advanced copy of Fusion in exchange for an honest review.
Double Life (Book 1)
Piracy is a game. How much are you worth?

Since she was a little girl, everyone - from her father to the Great Creator himself - told Lyssa Peate the same thing: she's worthless. But when she becomes the pirate bounty hunter Razia, she can see the price tag on her own head. Employed by one of the four pirate syndicates, she uses bank transactions and her considerable wits to capture rival members. At least, she would be if Razia's boss ever gave her a chance. It's a man’s world, and all she’s allowed to hunt are purse snatchers while she languishes on probation.

To pay the bills, she's stuck in her old life as Lyssa, discovering and analyzing distant planets and selling them for cash. She's doing just enough to stay out of trouble, pretending to be continuing her father's mysterious research while away for long periods of time. Her slimy boss is always asking questions and even assigns one of her younger brothers, Vel, to intern with her. Already struggling to keep the balance between her double lives, she tries everything to rid herself of the kid...

...until the universal police mistake Lyssa’s intern for Razia's hostage.
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FREE EBOOK ALERT!! It doesn't cost anything to start this series (unless you read it in print) and it's a pretty quick read, so why not give it a try? ;)

Some Opening Thoughts
I was impressed with Double Life! It's a is a pretty short sci-fi book with only the teeniest foreshadowing of romance and those are three things that can be a hit or miss for me. I get annoyed with a lot of shorter books because they tend to feel underdeveloped, but this one didn't feel short! It just felt like it moved quickly. I also can get bored with sci-fi, especially without a lot of romance. I'm so happy that I enjoyed reading this one so much!
The World
The world is really interesting. I mean, space pirates and bounty hunters?? Planet excavation and selling? An ominous black hole type thing that doubles as a religious icon?

It was all really cool and creative. It was also refreshing because I haven't read many books with a world like this (that may be due to the fact that I'm not that into sci-fi). The most similar world I've seen was from Avalon by Mindee Arnett. I have to say that I didn't always get what was going on, especially in the beginning. It took me awhile to understand the pirate system and what its purpose was (I got a firm grip of the why while reading the sequel, but that's a different review). I started getting the hang of things after Lyssa/Razia and her little brother spent some time together.
Characters
Sage Teon - I loved him! He always popped up out of the blue when Razia didn't want to find him. (Well, I thought she did like it--deep down). He was a really good friend and I lied how he was always looking out for her.

Lyssa/Razia - Ahh, what an interesting character. She sure was a cocky character--one that was definitely in over her head. She wanted to prove how capable she was--she was a great bounty hunter, damn it. I really liked how she struggled with the two parts of her life: Dr. Peate the planet excavator vs Razia the girl-who-was-trying-to-prove-she-was-a-great-bounty-hunter. Both sides were intelligent and capable (if a bit rash due to the fact that she was desperate to prove herself).

Vel - He was full of surprises! He was definitely persistent. He nagged a bit, but in a good way (okay, okay--he had his annoying moments in the beginning) I really liked seeing Lyssa warm up to him. It was endearing!
Final Thoughts?
Double Life was a fun, creative sci-fi about an awesome heroine starting to come to terms with the two lives she's leading. It was fast paced and so easy to be swept away in!



Alliances (Book 2)
This sequel was so fun and thrilling!! There was a kickass duo of ladies solving a mystery, taking down bad guys, fighting each other--it was something that I've always wanted to see more of in books. Razia was a real piece of work (even more so than the last book). She was funny, but there were times when she pushed EVERYONE away and so many people were trying to get her past that. Lisbeth was so different from Razia, but dealt with same issue of being a capable, intelligent woman in a field that wouldn't acknowledge her efforts. I loved that she blunt and always called Razia out on her BS. The heroine sure needed a friend like that. I also loved how much Lisbeth benefited from partnering with the lady pirate. Oh, and Lisbeth's presence added quite a bit of sex positivity to the book. Do you need any more reasons to love her?
Conviction (Book 3)

This one didn't have quite the fun feel as the previous two. It was just as great, but it was a little more serious as it focused on Lyssa/Razia's insecurities and stubbornness more. There were lots of laugh out loud moments, though!

Razia lost her fire for a bit in this book as her vulnerable side took on a bigger spotlight. I loved seeing that! She had a ton of growing to do.

My favorite part of Conviction? MORE SAGE. He popped out of nowhere in the previous two books, but he had a much bigger presence in this book. It made me SO HAPPY. I love his character!

The plot thickened in this one and became more intense (with less of a mystery that was in Alliances).

If you're reading this and haven't picked up this series yet, DO READ DOUBLE LIFE. It's a very enjoyable series.
Fusion (Book 4)

SO MANY FEELS.

Double Life gave the book a fun start, Alliances had a kickass duo, Conviction shone light on Lyssa's vulnerability, but FusionFusion was the rollercoaster that made me feel everything from laughter to sadness to the type of joy that comes with tears. It was the best book of the series. I can't get into specifics, but Lyssa . . . this is where she truly grew. She definitely took steps previously, but her biggest strides happened in this one. Her feelings were the most intense, too. She was so incredibly stubborn and I HATED HER at times (though not in a way that made me like her any less). Her journey was hard, and she made humongous steps. Her character growth made all the frustrating moments worth it. 

I loved the roles that all her loved ones played. She sure had a lot of them--more than she ever realized. I loved seeing how those roles changed throughout the series too. There were a lot of changes since Double Life!

The ending wraps up her story perfectly. It the cherry that topped this satisfying conclusion to a really fun space opera series. 

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