Book Review: Persephone Station by Stina Leicht

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Gallery / Saga Press
Publication Date: January 5th, 2021
Pages: 512, hardcover
Source: NetGalley

Hugo award-nominated author Stina Leicht has created a take on space opera for fans of The Mandalorian and Cowboy Bebop in this high-stakes adventure.

Persephone Station, a seemingly backwater planet that has largely been ignored by the United Republic of Worlds becomes the focus for the Serrao-Orlov Corporation as the planet has a few secrets the corporation tenaciously wants to exploit.

Rosie—owner of Monk’s Bar, in the corporate town of West Brynner—caters to wannabe criminals and rich Earther tourists, of a sort, at the front bar. However, exactly two types of people drank at Monk’s back bar: members of a rather exclusive criminal class and those who sought to employ them.

Angel—ex-marine and head of a semi-organized band of beneficent criminals, wayward assassins, and washed up mercenaries with a penchant for doing the honorable thing—is asked to perform a job for Rosie. What this job reveals will affect Persephone and put Angel and her squad up against an army. Despite the odds, they are rearing for a fight with the Serrao-Orlov Corporation. For Angel, she knows that once honor is lost, there is no regaining it. That doesn’t mean she can’t damned well try.

Persephone Station by Stina Leicht is a female-powered SF adventure. A misfit band of mercenaries goes on a suicide mission to defend a colony of the indigenous population from the evil head of a the corporation controlling the planet.

This is a fairly strong debut, and Leicht has obviously benefitted from her support team. Although there are a few info dumps early on, they’re handled well enough that they didn’t detract from the story for me. Angel, Sukyi, Enid, and Lou do bad things for good reasons and are engaging antiheroines who will have you rooting for them as they take on relationships, terminal illness, evil overlords, and giant bears.

There are multiple queer characters, and given that this seems to be normal in their society, I was a bit confused about the emphasis the author put on describing the gender of everyone encountered, even minor throwaway characters like the corporate mercenaries. Still, it was great to see a wide representation of people, human and non-human.

The artificial intelligences in the book are maybe not quite as engaging as Angel and her team, but they are complex, and have formed relationships and bonds of their own. If there’s a sequel to this, I hope Leicht explores not only the “Sisters,” but Zhang, as well.

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