Apocalypse Nyx takes us into the world of Hurley’s Bel Dame Apocrypha series, giving us glimpses of the hardened, masterful character across five equally impressive novellas. Though I haven’t read the original trilogy, I feel like this is a great introduction to Nyx. Each story is filled with fight scenes, puzzles, and the dynamics of a team with vastly different backgrounds and belief systems. The novella format fits the material perfectly, giving you a chance to meet the characters fully amidst shorter plots. I strongly recommend the collection, both for newbies and for existing fans.
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Below are my thoughts on each of the novellas. Each centers around a specific mission and gradually reveals the team dynamics and the real personality Nyx tries to hide from the world.
This first novella is a solid introduction into the varying elements of the universe, giving insight into the magic, body modification, and governmental structures that prevail. Nyx is presented as a hardened, though oftentimes hilarious, warrior who has fallen out of favor with most who’ve known her. Though she has a team, they aren’t especially close, given her past and their dangerous line of work. The fight scenes are well done and give a preview of what her life as a Belle Dame must have been like.
Tensions between the team get personal as they spend more time together. The growing pains have ceased and left behind some tenuous relationships. We get to see the ruthless side of Nyx, her obsession with finishing a job no matter the cost to those around her. The story is a look at the possibility of love in her life amidst battles, bombs, and spy-like intrigue. Think of this one as a well-written episode of your favorite espionage drama.
Soulbound takes a stab at theology, diving into the existence of the soul within a body. We see the religious side of things in Rhys and the researcher who bursts onto the scene. We see the anti-religious side from Nyx who believes she lost her soul long ago. It’s an interesting conversation amidst more fighting and a near-death experience by most of the team.
This story outlined a typical mission, complete with multiple brushes with death, swarms of flesh-hungry bugs and sexual tension between Nyx and various members of her team. It’s a glimpse at the daily life they all live, giving an explanation for their behaviors and why they continue to cling to each other. The group’s relationships are quite intriguing, providing a continuous character study amidst solid action-adventure science fiction.
The final story solidifies the camaraderie between Nyx and her team. We see her on a heist with another team defined by their ruthlessness and careless disregard for human life. The story provides a snapshot of what Nyx could be like after her experiences, and leaves you surprised that she’s a regular softie at heart compared to some of her former colleagues.
By Kameron Hurley
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.