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God's War (Bel Dame Apocrypha #1)

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3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  3,174 Ratings  ·  562 Reviews
Nyx had already been to hell. One prayer more or less wouldn't make any difference...

On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there's one thing everybody agrees on...

There's not a chance in hell of ending it.

Nyx is a for
...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Night Shade Books (first published January 26th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Carol.
Jul 21, 2015 Carol. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Best Served Cold, tough heroines
Review and links (if you want explanation on the references and the like) at https://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2015/...

I grew up in the 80s, when fantasy fiction largely meant the Lord of the Rings-esque fantasy world or the ‘parallel worlds’ fantasy, the same fantasy setting juxtaposed with the real world. It wasn’t until much later that I understood most of the fantasy settings I read were based on a highly sanitized Western medieval framework (Do I hear George Costanza in the background saying,
...more
Karen
May 21, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, specfic, ladywritten
I picked this up after reading the first few sentences online:

"Nyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen, on the edge of the desert.

Drunk, but no longer bleeding, she pushed into a smoky cantina just after dark and ordered a pinch of morphine and a whiskey chaser. She bet all of her money on a boxer named Jaks, and lost it two rounds later when Jaks hit the floor like an antique harem girl."

That is a kick-ass entry to a story, if you ask me. Hang on, this is a long review.

This is...s
...more
ambyr
Orson Scott Card talks a lot in his How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy about exposition, and about how science fiction and fantasy readers react to it with different expectations than non-genre readers. Roughly summarized, his point is that if you open a story with, "She mounted her graazchak," an experienced genre reader will think, "Huh. Okay, there's a creature called a graazchak and it can be ridden. I'll keep that in mind, and keep an eye out for more information about what it looks l ...more
Jokoloyo
I am excited with feminism in SF or Fantasy stories, because I can expect a really different way of life/thinking, not just fictitious world with people who has same way/thinking as ours.

Reading this novel gave me that. It gave more exciting to me with Middle-East like world building with its well-known social politic conflicts. Oh, I love the setting.

And the main protagonist is one bad ass person. She even seems extremely bad ass due to our standard of way of thinking (e.g. she coldly sold her
...more
Wealhtheow
Jun 07, 2012 Wealhtheow rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Richard Morgan--Nyx is like a lesbian Islamic version of Takahashi Kovacs
On a hardscrabble alien world populated with what humanity becomes in the far future, a long holy war rages. Both sides have drafted all their men for so many generations that the societies left behind have become nearly matriarchal, populated by females, boys, and the very old or damaged men who survived their war service. Their planet is nealry deadly for humanity, and over the years its colonists have made all sorts of adjustments. Now they scrape themselves regularly for cancers the way mode ...more
Lightreads
Mar 17, 2013 Lightreads rated it liked it
Bounty hunter and occasional gene pirate takes a job that puts her squarely in the middle of the centuries-long internecine religious war.

Interesting as hell, but also frustrating and unsatisfying. It would be too obvious to call this gritty, so I'll go the extra mile and explain that I kept asking questions of the world building like okay, seriously, you've been massacring your populations for a hundred years at the front, and yet both societies are still built around sending bodies out to figh
...more
Eh?Eh!
Nov 21, 2011 Eh?Eh! rated it liked it
Shelves: babble-added
Night Shade Books (the publisher) has my number when it comes to whatever it is that catches my eye with cover pictures. And then NSB hits my other sensory checkpoints when I pick up a book - the books are a good size and heft for cradling in the hands or lap, the cover material is a non-glossy and yet satiny-smooth finish that doesn't preserve unsightly greasy fingerprints, and the pages and print are sturdy and don't smear. I was actually hooked by the 2nd in the series for this and another on ...more
Brad
Dec 31, 2015 Brad rated it it was amazing
I went through several transformations as I read this novel, or four if you include a priori expectations after judging a book by its cover; for some weird reason, I thought this title would be more UF than a gritty SF title that masquerades as a fantasy.

It's not really as confusing as I make it out to be. No gods are involved in the telling of the tale, just a bunch of people who believe in Allah and Jehova in a far future world that seems awfully like the Gaza Strip, only filled with Magicians
...more
Ryan
Aug 05, 2015 Ryan rated it really liked it
The Good:
The setting is excellent - a planet torn by religious war, sometime after the collapse of a galactic civilisation. 'Bugpunk' biotechnology, post-Islamic feminism, holy assassins, boxing wizards - this book is full of sweet ideas done well. And what an awesome protagonist.

The Bad:
The plot drifts in places, far too much like real life.

'Friends' character the protagonist is most like:
Nyxnissa is a product of her nightmarish environment. She is scarred, vulnerable and brutally hard. Like a
...more
Elizabeth
Mar 24, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
The world that Hurley has created in God's War feels uncannily believable. It combines fantasy and science fiction to create a strangely familiar alien world that feels perfectly, freakishly, possible. Both the social and technological/biological elements of this book seem to have come from a the familiar foundation of the now but wandered along the pathways of the what-if to this strange world of Islam and bug-tech, women and war. That oft-used phrase about any sufficiently advanced technology ...more
Hobart
Mar 10, 2011 Hobart rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011-reads
On a planet colonized by Muslims using insect-based technology in the far-flung future ravaged a multi-sect religious war, in the midst of which a scrappy band of pansexual assassins try to scrap out a living (selling the occasional organ to pay bills). Ho-hum. Nothing we all haven't read a thousand times before, right?

Well, maybe not. Fantastic concept, well-written, heckuva world built by Hurley here.

But here's the problem -- I couldn't force myself to care about any of these characters, part
...more
Jon
Jan 02, 2016 Jon rated it liked it
A good, but flawed first novel, God’s War has enough innovative and imaginative touches throughout it to make the author someone I’ll read more of. Gritty and noirish, the book takes place in the far future on the harsh, colonized world of Umayma. The world is largely a desert planet and the two main countries, Chenja and Nasheen, have been embroiled in a Holy War for several centuries. The main character of the novel, Nyx, is violent, hard drinking, and not above being on the wrong side of the ...more
Terence
Jul 24, 2012 Terence rated it liked it
Recommended to Terence by: Ceridwen's review cinched it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Any world where you want a healthy population of roaches in your kitchen and bathroom is potentially interesting in the hands of a good writer. Fortunately, Kameron Hurley is pretty good, and Umayma is one of the more interesting future histories to appear in the last few years – insect-based technology, an Islam-influenced culture, a centuries-old religious war, an organization of murderous female assassins, boxing, magicians and shapeshifters.

Such a world, however, would be a sterile read no m
...more
Jason
Jun 16, 2014 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2014
5 stars.

I devoured this book. I loved every word of it. Nyx is simply one bad ass woman that I want to read more about. I guess the biggest compliment I can give this book is that it reminded me of a Catherine Kiernan novel, one of my very favorite authors...

This is an Urban Fantasy that is filled with tons of bugs, amazing magic, more bugs, and did I mention the bugs. What a fresh and cool world and concept.

This is an action packed and no holds thriller that will appeal to fans of the dark fant
...more
Robyn
Nov 27, 2015 Robyn rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I feel that the book is a bit rough around the edges and I'm not in love with the heavy-handed portrayal of a recognisable modern religion, but I liked it enough to continue with the series. Characters are strong, bug tech is fascinating, but there are so many disparate elements to this book. I'm interested to see how the further ones progress as Hurley writes more.
Stefan
Jan 21, 2011 Stefan rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Some reviews are harder to write than others. Take God’s War, the first novel by Kameron Hurley, an author whose blog I’ve been reading with interest. The book had a long journey getting published (which you can read about on said blog) and has now, finally, reached the shelves thanks to the awesome folks at Night Shade Books. I was excited to get my hands on this book, because it’s in a sub-genre (or maybe more accurately, the cross-section of a few sub-genres) I love, has a number o
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Justine
Aug 22, 2015 Justine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Wow, what a great book. This is a very layered story. On the the surface it is page-turning action and lots of violence but there are also the important relationship stories running underneath. Overlaying that loom questions of racial and cultural hegemony. It is a lot to pack into a relatively short book, but I think it was done very well.

There are two more books in this series, and I definitely plan to read them. Although this book stands well on its own, there are lots of questions left unans
...more
Ian
Apr 12, 2011 Ian rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-eastern, bugs
I'm conflicted about rating this book. One one side, the writing is fluid and the worldbuilding is spectacular: the middle-eastern/Islamic cultures are well rounded and believable, and there is no dumbing down for the Western reader (if you don't know what a dhoti or a burnous is, get ready to google a lot in the first few chapters; also, a bel dame is not a French pretty woman); and the planet itself is a carefully crafted scenario, with its mostly desertic setting, the harsh suns, and the incr ...more
Bastard
Feb 22, 2012 Bastard rated it it was amazing
http://bastardbooks.blogspot.com/2012...

God's War by Kameron Hurley was a top read of mine last year, and my favorite novel from a debut author with a tough competition. Been meaning to write something about it for some time now, but was struggling with what I wanted to say given that it's been a year since I read it. Details are currently a bit fuzzy. Just found out that the novel has been nominated for a Nebula for Best Novel in 2011, so seems like a good time as any to say a few things abou
...more
Kaitlin
Aug 03, 2015 Kaitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was the first one I picked up as part of the 2015 Booktubeathon and I have to say it's well worth reading. This is a debut book by Kameron Hurley and whilst I haven't ever read anything by Hurley before now I had heard a lot about the originality and uniqueness of her ideas and concepts. Having now read her debut (which is the first in a series and one that I want to continue with) I can certainly say that Hurley does have a great way of coming up with original ideas that I had never s ...more
Joel
Aug 15, 2015 Joel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I went into this book with very, very high hopes - Kameron has gained a pretty great reputation as a "very dark" writer, and while I read this description as an urban fantasy, I still had pretty high expectations. I will say that I don't qualify it as an "urban fantasy" as I generally count urban fantasy as being 'fantasy occurring in modern day earth', which this story is not. I will also say that the subject matter of the story is very dark, and that the characters and dialogue fit the dark mo ...more
Ranting Dragon
Jan 17, 2011 Ranting Dragon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: james, caitrin, favorites
http://www.rantingdragon.com/gods-war...

Kameron Hurley’s stellar debut novel follows the bloody life of Nyxnissa, commonly called Nyx, a bel dame (government-funded bounty hunter) trying to survive in a world consumed by a holy war that’s been raging for centuries. When she’s relieved of her duties for doing black work of her own to earn extra cash for herself, she has to adapt and find a new way of living.

To survive, Nyx has created a team of independent bounty-hunters that are willing to take
...more
Joseph
Jan 28, 2015 Joseph rated it really liked it
To start with, we have a great opening line: "Nyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen, on the edge of the desert."

Nyx is a former bel dame -- kind of a state-sponsored assassin -- now eking out a living (barely) as a freelance bounty hunter. The world is a backwater -- an inhospitable, relatively low-tech desert world (at least, we seem to spend most of our time in desert areas) where what technology they have seems to be based on the harnessing of (genetically modified?) insects -
...more
Justin
http://staffersmusings.blogspot.com/2...

I saluteNight Shade Books. Starting with Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl two years ago, they've been been pumping out quality debuts. This year alone Night Shade released an incredible portfolio of new authors that have been consistently well received (you can visit a nice chunk of them athttp://night-bazaar.com/). God's War from Kameron Hurley is very much in this tradition albeit in a novel that ignores genre tradition with impunity.

God's War is a sec
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I never expected to like this book. Never, ever.

I stay far away from war-themed books. Even desert war in a post-apocalyptic landscape. Oh wait, post-apocalyptic? No, war negates it.

Then this was nominated for a Nebula, and I only had three nominees for best novel left to read. Then I realized at some point last year, I downloaded it on my Nook app, probably free or some sale. So I didn't even need to find it; I owned it. No more excuses.

I was impressed. It was something different! It takes thi
...more
Regina
Feb 20, 2012 Regina rated it really liked it
Recommended to Regina by: Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" Hill
This is not a full review as I read this books months ago, it is sort of a remembering. I just learned it is a nominee for the 2011 Nebula Awards, so I thought the book deserved some write up. This book and the world written about in this book is unlike anything else I have ever read. The world building was fantastic and so unique. Magic and technology run on bugs. Control of bugs gives individuals more power. The society is devoid of men because they are at war; fighting has been going on for c ...more
Shel
I might have enjoyed it more at another time - this was not the easiest book to tackle as a sleep-deprived mom of an infant and a 4-year-old, and I know that there were layers to the story that I missed. I do plan on reading the sequel someday, but probably not right away!
Frida Fantastic (book blogger)
God’s War takes place on a brutal desert planet with a centuries-long holy war fought between Muslim colonists. It makes Herbert’s Arrakis seem like a nice place to retire. It’s a world filled with a black-market organ trade, underground boxing rings, and writhing insects that enable magicians to put bodies back together.

As most of the boys die for the war, it’s dames like Nyx that run the town. She and her team of bounty hunters are on the hunt for an alien with knowledge that could end the hol
...more
Lawrence Schoen
Feb 29, 2012 Lawrence Schoen rated it really liked it
I started reading God's War out of a sense of obligation to read the titles on this year's Nebula Award ballot, even though I'm hard pressed to even imagine a better offering than China Mieville's Embassytown.

And I'm glad I did. Hurley's novel is a great ride of compelling characters, entertaining worldbuilding, intriguing sociology, and pace-pounding plot threads. Religious elements familiar but different, believable extrapolations/evolutions of today drive much of the book, but the book is no
...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Beyond Reality: God's War: Finished Reading **SPOILERS** 11 28 Aug 29, 2015 12:41PM  
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Kameron Hurley is the author of The Mirror Empire, Empire Ascendant and the God’s War Trilogy. Hurley has won the Hugo Award, Kitschy Award, and Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer; she has also been a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, BFS Award, the Gemmell Morningstar Award, and the BSFA Award for Best Novel. Her short fiction has appeared in Popular Scienc ...more
More about Kameron Hurley...

Other Books in the Series

Bel Dame Apocrypha (3 books)
  • Infidel (Bel Dame Apocrypha, #2)
  • Rapture (Bel Dame Apocrypha, #3)

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“Life was what you did with what was done to you.” 18 likes
“The world could burn around her, the cities turn to dust, the cries of a hundred thousand fill the air, and she would get up after the fire died and walk barefoot and burned over the charred soil in search of clean water, a weapon, a purpose. She would rebuild.” 11 likes
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