Elizabeth May and Laura Lam’s follow up to Seven Devils sees the renegade septet continue their desperate mission to overthrow a sadistic emperor and free humanity from a servile existence where their very thoughts are not their own, while their operation and very lives come under increasing threat.
The first half of the duology established how such a vast empire could have a central point of control that could be removed to bring it down, someone sadistic and dangerous yet utterly contemptible, and exactly how victory can now be attained against overwhelming odds plays out with barely a pause for breath.
Although the main plot is that of a shattered rebellion attempting to free their people from subjugation under a galactic tyranny, the themes running through it are universal. Found and chosen family, belief in something greater than yourself, and the desire to see loved ones happy drive the emotion- and character-heavy interactions. In particular, is the notion of personal identity and the battle to allow people to live their lives free from the dictates of others regarding who and what they’re supposed to be.
Many of the featured individuals, whether willingly, knowledgeably or otherwise, have in some way contributed to the preservation of the star-spanning dystopia, and as such have a redemptive stake in seeing an end to the authoritarianism and mental manipulation that maintains it. Infiltration set pieces form the bulk of the action, all of which culminates in a heart-pounding and multi-perspective climax where they fight not only for the heart of the team but also the very soul of humanity.
A tale of just how far people will go to atone for the sins of their pasts and help birth a brighter future, Seven Mercies is a worthy successor to its equally magnificent predecessor and an enthralling culmination to its sprawling yet intimate narrative.
Seven Mercies is published on January 20th.