The Bastard Legion by Gavin G Smith

November 15, 2017 - 7:41 pm No Comments

The Bastard Legion
Author: Gavin G Smith
Published by: Gollancz, 5th October 2017
ISBN: 978-1-473-21725-6
322 pages
Reviewer: Ken Norman

The title is enough to make most teenage boys snigger, and I guess that is the point. It’s a book that seems to be aimed squarely at that young adult male sector of the market.
This space-war-opera revolves around a hard hitting, gun-toting slip of a girl called Miska who’s lost her Mummy and her Daddy’s a simulation, as he’s been toasted by persons unknown. She used to be a soldier in her youth, so she’s nicked a prison barge full of dangerous lifers and has decided that a mercenary’s life on the frontiers of the law is a winner, especially as barge has provided her with a private supply of grunts to send into conflict to die. If they don’t die quick enough, or look at her in a funny way, she blows their head off with a remote controlled neck collar. The problem is, she’s got a bit of an existential crisis going on, and worse, can’t quite work out what to call her band of brothers (they’re all dudes). Oddly, there’s almost no other women in the story, apart from the odd evil executive or about-to-be-cannon-fodder adversary. However, she’s going to kill a bunch of bad people and find out who killed her Daddy whilst getting paid for whatever mercenary activities can be found in the nearest G-class star.

There’s a voluminous whiff of fantasy here – mainly the authors’. Gavin Smith would appear to have a bit of a crush on Miska, as she’s a bit of a murderous villain, a bit vulnerable and a bit sexy all at the same time. She’s something of a superhero too, with a big bag of techy upgrades to her personal self. It’s the sort of universe where you’d hope humanity would have overcome some of the issues happening in the book, but you apparently never run out of the need for a printed AK-47, even when you’ve got FTL travel. If anything, there’s too much in this first volume – too many ideas about what’s cool, fun, possible (or not) all thrown into the pot to create a future world that’s not quite consistent.

It’s a fun read, if you like a good battle scene, or your inner male mental age has settled around 15. The fast and loose mix of ideas from left, right and centre is a bit confused, but that might settle down in the next installment. The book’s title tries to keeps you guessing right to the end, but in the end, it’s pretty obvious.

 

Leave a Reply