Book Review: Seven Mercies (Seven Devils #2) by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Sci-Fi
Publisher: DAW Books
Publication Date: January 25th, 2022
Pages: 464, hardcover
Source: NetGalley

The second book in a feminist space opera duology that follows the team of seven rebels who will free the galaxy from the ruthless Tholosian Empire–or die trying.

After an ambush leaves the Novantae resistance in tatters, the survivors scatter across the galaxy. Wanted by two great empires, the bounty on any rebel’s head is enough to make a captor filthy rich. And the seven devils? Biggest score of them all. To avoid attacks, the crew of Zelus scavenge for supplies on long-abandoned Tholosian outposts.

Not long after the remnants of the rebellion settle briefly on Fortuna, Ariadne gets a message with unimaginable consequences: the Oracle has gone rogue. In a planned coup against the Empire’s new ruler, the AI has developed a way of mass programming citizens into mindless drones. The Oracle’s demand is simple: the AI wants One’s daughter back at any cost.

Time for an Impossible to Infiltrate mission: high chance of death, low chance of success. The devils will have to use their unique skills, no matter the sacrifice, and pair up with old enemies. Their plan? Get to the heart of the Empire. Destroy the Oracle. Burn it all to the ground.

Gina’s Review

Seven Mercies is the sequel to Seven Devils, and continues the story of the rebellion led by the former heir to the Tholosian Empire. In the Empire, the Archon controls the populace by means of the Oracle, a powerful AI.

The Devils are on the run. Most of their forces have abandoned them, and they have no allies. One of them will be dead soon without a cure for the ichor. The One wants her programmer back, and is willing to enslave all of humanity to make it happen. The odds couldn’t be more stacked against them, until a bit of intel from the most unlikely of potential allies gives them one last shot for the freedom of the galaxy. The stakes are high, and Eris, former heir to the throne, knows that she will have to pay her god in more deaths before they are done.

The relationships between the characters grow stronger, but there are still times when they don’t act as a cohesive unit, and members pursue their own agendas. We learn the backstories for several of them, and those stories serve to further illustrate how despotic the Empire is.

The book clocks in at 464 pages, and at times, it feels like it. Each of the characters, with the exception of Kyla, has a fully fleshed-out story arc/tangent, and there’s a lot of exposition. It’s good exposition, but this is not a quick or easy read.

Lam and May have done a great job of tying up all the loose ends and have given a satisfactory, if somewhat formulaic, ending to the duology.

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