Behind the Throne by K. B. Wagers is a sci-fi that took me completely and utterly by surprise. I didn’t know much what to expect, but remembered that I thought it sounded good when I read the description. If a matriarchal futuristic society based on Indian cultural roots with a gunrunner turned princess trying to solve a murder mystery, stop a coup, and stay alive sounds good to you as well, don’t miss this! The comparisons on the back of the ARC discuss combining traits of Han Solo, Leia and Rey, and I whole-heartedly agree with that assessment :D.
Note: I received an advanced copy of Behind the Throne from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Behind the Throne by K. B. Wagers (The Indranan Wars #1)
Published by Orbit on Aug. 2nd, 2016
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Meet Hail: Captain. Gunrunner. Fugitive.
Quick, sarcastic, and lethal, Hailimi Bristol doesn't suffer fools gladly. She has made a name for herself in the galaxy for everything except what she was born to do: rule the Indranan Empire. That is, until two Trackers drag her back to her home planet to take her rightful place as the only remaining heir.
But trading her ship for a palace has more dangers than Hail could have anticipated. Caught in a web of plots and assassination attempts, Hail can't do the one thing she did twenty years ago: run away. She'll have to figure out who murdered her sisters if she wants to survive.
A gun smuggler inherits the throne in this Star Wars-style science fiction adventure from debut author K. B. Wagers. Full of action-packed space opera exploits and courtly conspiracy - not to mention an all-out galactic war - Behind the Throne will please fans of James S. A Corey, Becky Chambers and Lois McMaster Bujold, or anyone who wonders what would happen if a rogue like Han Solo were handed the keys to an empire . . .
- If you like your heroines snarky and not willing to take any shit from any one, you are in luck! Hail was the captain of a gunrunning operation before getting dragged back to be a princess, so she is clearly able to assert herself and get things done. It’s just a bonus that she sometimes can’t hold back her sharp tongue as well.
- The adventure and plot make Behind the Throne an enjoyable book. What made me absolutely LOVE it, however, is the complex and hopeful society that treats homosexuality as completely normal. Hail casually mentions that her two male bodyguards are likely to have a sexual relationship, one of her female aids has a wife, and in general the person you choose to partner with just isn’t a big deal. I also loved the touching romance between the two male bodyguards since it is fairly in the background, but those caring looks and protectiveness of each other made my heart melt.
- Behind the Throne does something interesting with it matriarchal society. Basically, things have gone pretty far in that direction from where we are these days, perhaps even too far. Men are now generally considered inferior at many occupations and unfit to govern as a rule and there are problems with systematic sexism limiting men from reaching their full potential. It was definitely fascinating to think about.
- Something subtle woven throughout this book is the influence of the founding culture of this planet: the settlers were mostly from the Indian subcontinent and therefore elements of their culture have persisted into this sci-fi future.
- While I feel a bit bad for Hail, her constant need to defend against assassination attempts made for a very exciting read! It felt like the action never let up and in any peaceful moments, Hail was busy planning her next move. I was completely glued to the pages by the end.
- The only thing keeping this from being an absolutely perfect book for me was the political maneuvering in the first half before the action picks up as much. I just tend not to be as interested in politics in stories and so had a bit of trouble at the very beginning of Hail’s time at home.
Behind the Throne is a wonderful read for fans of unique sci-fi that combines interesting philosophical questions with non-stop action. There were so many aspects to this book that I wasn’t expecting at all and absorbing them all made for a riveting experience. Can’t wait for book two!
Try the sample for yourself!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Behind the Throne by K. B. Wagers
© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.