Bitter Angels

Sarah Zettel
Bitter Angels Cover

It's Okay.


While all the authors that I've read as part of the 'Women of Genre' challenge have been new to me, this was my random pick and therefore I went into 'Bitter Angels' even more blind than usual. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have read this book if it hadn't been randomly selected for me (I'm not a big fan of military sci-fi or even space opera). I enjoyed it, but it's not enough to make me seek out more books like it.

'Bitter Angels' is very plot focused. The viewpoints alternate between Terese, a space marine (pleasedon'tsuemegamesworkshop) who's taken an oath against killing, Amerand, a security officer and one of the few honest men in a corrupt world, and anyone else who is relevant to the plot. I think I would have liked this book a lot more if it restricted itself to only seeing the world through Terese, Amerand, and maybe a couple others. Sometimes it felt like certain characters only get a chapter in order to move the plot along. At one point the author even jumps ship halfway through a chapter, moving from one character's viewpoint to another without a chapter break.

By doing this character development is shortchanged at the expense of the plot. You would think that by giving so many characters their own point-of-view chapters we would get a deeper insight into them, but really they turn out exactly as they seem. The minor characters' chapters aren't there to flesh them out but to show us stuff that the main characters have missed.

All right, so 'Bitter Angels' is largely plot-centric. There's nothing wrong with that if you are looking for a fast-paced adventure story. Bitter Angels largely delivers. I did find parts of it dragging in the middle, but the third act is fast-paced and has a nice pay-off for one of the main characters. It was a fun, quick read, and most of my issues with it are issues I have with the space opera genre as a whole rather than this particular book.