MEC Reviews: Lucky 7 – Rae D Magdon

What a wild ride! This was an excellent read – it grabbed me from the first page and didn’t let up until the very end.

Lucky 7 is a cyber-punk action-palooza that features a diverse and engaging crew of misfits. Elena and Sasha are the protagonists – the jacker (hacker/cyber expert) and handler (leader/brains) of a crew that hires out for less than legal ops. The rest of the team is rounded out by Cherry, the wrench (engineer/explosives), who is kinda crazy and loves to blow shit up and her partner Rami, the cloak, who is a non-binary person that specializes in infiltration/disguise who is harder to get a read on as they change identities so often. There’s also Doc and Rock, the MO (Medic) and grunt (just what it sounds like – the muscle). Doc is a brilliant kid, but seems to have absolutely no innocence and her brother, Rock, is a mountain of a man who has been modified to the point of being mostly cyborg. Finally there’s Val – the AI who monitors and observes the team.

I appreciate that the world building isn’t done through exposition. Magdon just dumps you in the middle of seedy bar and you figure things out as you follow Elena.  It’s not hard to catch on and it also forces you to focus on Elena and the wild-assed action rather than taking a breath and reading paragraphs of internal monologue. There’s terminology and idioms you may not recognize at first, but based on the context you pick it up pretty fast and next thing you know, they are part of your lexicon.

Elena, a jacker on the run after her crew is killed during a ops that went bad, joins a new crew (the Lucky 7) who have the common goal of avoiding the hit squads being sent out by the evil corporation. The first half of the book is first person from Elena’s POV and she’s full of snark and sass , and the action literally never really stops as she and Sasha gather the rest of the crew. There’s a great twist halfway through and the first person narration switches to Sasha, the handler of the Lucky 7. Things slow down a bit and get a bit more introspective, but then the team is off another gonzo ops which leads to more action packed scenes. I loved Elena so much I was a bit disappointed to have the POV change – she seemed flat once she wasn’t the narrator – and the perception of Elena, Sasha and the rest of the team changed as we see them through Sasha’s eyes. In retrospect, if Magdon had kept up the level of action in the first half, I probably would have eventually been overwhelmed.

There is an element of romance between Elena and Sasha.  This is definitely an opposites attract kind of relationship with a rather intense chemistry that leads to one of the longest sex scenes I’ve come across (Sasha’s like the energizer bunny thanks to all her cyber mods). The romance isn’t the strongest part of the story, but  by the time we move to Sasha’s POV it fits into the larger story and character arcs.

Definitely recommended for a rip-roaring good time and definitely recommended if you are a S/F fan.

Strongly Recommended

 

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