Kameron Hurley’s bad-ass APOCALYPSE NYX packs a powerful punch
With over three months before publication, positive reviews begin to appear for Kameron Hurley’s gritty APOCALYPSE NYX.
Michael Patrick Hicks for HIGH FEVER BOOKS praises the collection.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
APOCALYPSE NYX is exactly the kind of science fiction I like – it’s dark, violent, and has, at its core, a deeply flawed heroine who is hard as steel and has whiskey running through her veins. Nyx is a gal that sees few problems that can’t be solved with her scattergun, and is always a hairsbreadth away from cutting off all ties with those that work for her and, if she were a more emotionally accessible and less war-wounded woman, people she might even call friends if she were drunk enough. Nyx is rugged and mean, and this collection from Kameron Hurley serves as a wonderful introduction to the former assassin turned ultra-violent problem solver, particularly if, like me, you haven’t read the Bel Dame Apocrypha series proper.
The world Hurley has created here is as intense as it is interesting. The alien desert world Nyx inhabits is caught up in perpetual war, and Nasheenians like her are drafted to fight against their rival, darker-skinned Chenjans. The ruling body is highly matriarchal, but also heavily influenced by Muslim doctrine, with daily routine calls for prayer and a plethora of masques. On the technology front, bugs are king. Society has adapted to and grown reliant on insect-based tech – beetles are ground up to power vehicles, and form a communications network based on pheromones and body colors. Even the bullet casings and walls are rooted in creative uses of various bug life.
Story-wise, APOCALYPSE NYX has a welcoming stand-alone episodic structure to it (quick, somebody call Netflix!). Although the various jobs and missions Nyx and her crew take in order to stay solvent are unrelated, taken as a whole there is a decent, if minor, character arc at play binding these stories together. I suspect there’s a deeper arc to Nyx across the main trilogy, but I also kind of suspect that Nyx may be too violent, introverted, alcoholic, and deeply set in her ways to grow too much. Besides, she’s more interesting without the happily ever after, at least in this volume, and Nyx is the type of character that it’s hard to even imagine a happy ending for anyway.
I’ve been wanting to read about Nyx for quite a long while now, but somehow never made room for her. I happy to have finally corrected that with APOCALYPSE NYX, and I now feel a greater urgency in exploring the trilogy of novels focusing on her. After this book and Hurley’s prior release, The Stars Are Legion, if I’ve learned anything it’s that from here on out all new releases from Kameron Hurley are to automatically move to the top of my mountain of TBRs. Count me among the number of faithful converts, because I am officially a fan of Nyx. This lady is one serious bad-ass.
Bradley Horner enjoys the volume.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
And this perfect for all us fans who loved this wild bio-punk world full of “magicians” who pull wild bioengineering stunts in the name of a religious war and mercenaries who feel like they’re losing their souls. It’s also great for all you hard-drinking, hard punching, embittered readers who like a lot of grit in their post-apocalyptic hard-SF Biopunk. 🙂
So was this good on its own, too? I think so! Short quests, jobs, and Nyx really shines darkly. Well, she’s a mess. 🙂
PAT’S FANTASY HOTLIST lauds the book.
The worldbuilding that serve as the backdrop for the Bel Dame Apocrypha was top notch. Hurley’s vision was quite unique and the world she created came alive in a manner that is seldom seen. Islam has taken to the stars, but the religion has evolved over the centuries. The author’s narrative created a vivid imagery that made the ravaged world leap off the pages. Add to that some strange insectile technology and magic, as well as some cool concepts such as the bel dames and alien gene pirates, and you realized that Kameron Hurley has created something truly special. If you are one of those jaded science-fiction reader believing to have seen it all, think again. The novella format prevents elaboration on most of the ideas introduced in the series, so in that regard existing readers might get a bit more out of each tale than newcomers. And yet, each story is written in a way that makes them accessible even if you have not read the trilogy.
The rhythm throughout is fast-moving, making APOCALYPSE NYX another page-turner. My only complaint would be that you reach the end too quickly, thoughroughly satisfied but begging for more. Here’s to hoping that Kameron Hurley is planning additional Nyx stories, because I for one will be waiting in line to read whatever comes next for our favorite alcoholic bounty hunter!
The author’s prose is dark and brooding, the rhythm often balls-to-the-wall, yet Hurley nevertheless finds ways to hit you with touching moments that pack a powerful punch in terms of emotional impact.
If the legendary Frank Herbert, Richard Morgan, and Joe Abercrombie had ever teamed up to write something together, the Bel Dame Apocrypha is the sort of creation they would have come up with. Indeed, the trilogy deserves the highest possible recommendation and I encourage you to give the first installment a shot. Brutal, uncompromising, brilliant, enthralling: That’s God’s War in a nutshell.But if you find yourself in need of a primer, so to speak, something that works as a great introduction to one of the most badass heroines in SFF history and to one of the best science fiction series of the new millennium thus far, then APOCALYPSE NYX is just what the doctor ordered.If the legendary Frank Herbert, Richard Morgan, and Joe Abercrombie had ever teamed up to write something together, the Bel Dame Apocrypha is the sort of creation they would have come up with. Indeed, the trilogy deserves the highest possible recommendation and I encourage you to give the first installment a shot. Brutal, uncompromising, brilliant, enthralling: That’s God’s War in a nutshell.
But if you find yourself in need of a primer, so to speak, something that works as a great introduction to one of the most badass heroines in SFF history and to one of the best science fiction series of the new millennium thus far, then APOCALYPSE NYX is just what the doctor ordered.
At STARBURST, Jennie Bailey reviews it.
There are tensions between religions – there is an obvious Islam-inspired backdrop – and class; there is corruption at the highest levels and a perpetual war – one that Nyx barely made her way out of – that thunders around them. These are the sort of parallels with the real world that some of the best science fiction gestures towards and here Hurley does a cracking job. While there are many aspects that conform to expected dystopian tropes in this collection, this is a dystopia that revels in it in a big, joyous way with cracking one-liners and tight squeezes to escape. APOCALYPSE NYX is definitely not for the squeamish, but if you like your heroines as kickass as Dutch from the TV series Killjoys you’ll love Nyxnissa. Good, honest science fiction fun with a feminist twist.
For more info on APOCALYPSE NYX, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Wadim Kashin
Design by Elizabeth Story