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(Major Bhaajan #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  892 ratings  ·  144 reviews
BOOK ONE IN A BRAND NEW SERIES by Nebula and Hugo Award Winner Catherine Asaro set in the world of her Skolian Empire universe. In the galaxy-spanning future, Major Bhaajan is a tough female P.I. who works the dangerous streets of Undercity.

Major Bhaajan, a former military officer with Imperial Space Command, is now a hard-bitten P.I. with a load of baggage to deal with, a
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Baen (first published November 15th 2014)
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Paul Franco This book takes place before almost all of the others chronologically, so it's actually the perfect place to start.…moreThis book takes place before almost all of the others chronologically, so it's actually the perfect place to start.(less)

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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  892 ratings  ·  144 reviews

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Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Set at an early point in Asaro's Skolian Saga, soldier turned P.I. Bhaajan is hired by the royal house on Raylicon to find a missing prince and some missing weapons. Her investigation takes her back to the place she grew up, the shadowy "undercity", a society living in the dried up aqueducts under the city of Cries, where she learns that a potentially devastating war between two rival gangs is brewing. Bhaajan must find a way to either stop the violence or limit the damage, while preventing the ...more
Nov 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Fantasy Review Barn

Holy messiah syndrome Batman! Diamond in the rough private investigator solves all her cases and then works on fixing the entire world. Carried out with all the subtly of a jackhammer.

Major Bhaajan is a women who left poverty on her own and joined the military where she exceled. She has survived on her own since running away from an orphanage at age 3(!?). Granted she had help; a five year old showed her the ropes underneath the undercity where the ‘dust rats’ fight for survi
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
REREAD #1: 27 March 2018 - 2 April 2018 (9/10)

Catherine Asaro's newest book (The Bronze Skies) came out in September last year. I've been wanting to do a chronological reread of all the Skolia books for a while, so instead of reading it as soon as I got it, I saved it up until I had reread Skyfall and this one. It's taken me a little while to get there, but I have just finished my reread. I don't have much to say beyond what I've said before.

I love Asaro's books - they just work for me in all th
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction, arc

4 1/2

Books like Undercity are one of the reasons I joined Netgalley. That pure serendipity that lets you discover a gem. It's getting more and more difficult with e-retailers to discover something new. Their algorithms are made to sell, and we are more eager to buy what we know, rather than discover the new.
(This is one of the few things I miss from brick and mortar shops, the causal discovery.)

To my chagrin I've never read this author before. I asked for Undercity because the publisher was Bae
Althea Ann
Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it
If you have run out of Lois McMaster Bujold books to read, Asaro's 'Undercity' is a good next choice. It's got that same kind of space-investigation-military-adventure going on, with engaging characters and fast-moving action.

Set in Asaro's well-established matriarchal Skolian Empire, 'Undercity' introduces her fans to Bhaajan - an ex-military woman who's set herself up as a private investigator in luxurious Selei City. (Imagine her as a somewhat-more-moral detective version of Han Solo, with cy
E.M. Epps
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2010s
Ah, the Skolian Empire! Where the women are all kick-ass, the men all gorgeous, the architecture stunning, the sexual tension thick, the politics complex, the psions fascinating, the enemies deliciously evil, the technology actually useful.... It's impossible to convey how fun Catherine Asaro's books are, on every level—world-building, character, dialogue, plot, action, romance, technology. I'm quite a bit behind on the series, but when I had the chance to get this review copy of the first book ...more
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I was hoping for more from this book. I was in the mood for some cool science fiction but this turned out to be just okay, hence the two star rating. It wasn't bad but none of it blew me away either. The heroine, Major Baahj, could basically do anything with her tech-enhanced body and whatever she couldn't accomplish physically her Artificial Evolving Intelligence computer system handled effortlessly. The changes that Baahj brings about in such a short amount of time, in a system that has been i ...more
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Major Bhaajan has spent her entire life trying to escape the brutal world of the Undercity—she left when she was sixteen, joined the military and became a PI—until a suspected kidnapping of the beloved and protected prince of her home planet's ruling family draws her back in. But after the prince is found, Bhaajan finds herself pulled into the world of her childhood once more—as more dangers are lurking for the Undercity at every turn.

This was...ehhhhh.

I enjoyed the plot, however I felt that the
In this latest addition to the Skolian Empire series, Asaro takes readers back a bit in time to a point when Roka Skolia has just recently married her Consort, with whom she raises her dynastic brood, many of whom have appeared as main characters in earlier (published) books.

The plot revolves around Roka’s intended husband, young prince Dayj, who, desperate for escape from the loneliness and isolation of his prison in the palace, runs away – only to disappear. His family call in a mercenary/boun
John Purvis
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“Undercity” was published in 2014 (December) and was written by Catherine Asaro ( Ms. Asaro had published more than a dozen novels. This is one of several set in her ”Skolian Empire”.

I obtained a galley of this Science Fiction / Mystery novel for review through I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there is some Violence. The novel is written in the first person and is set in a far future, and a distant galaxy. The primary character is
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Publisher: Baen
Publishing Date: December 2014
ISBN: 9781476736921
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 4.2/5

Publisher Description: Major Bhaajan, a former military officer with Imperial Space Command, is now a hard-bitten P.I. with a load of baggage to deal with, and clients with woes sometimes personal, sometimes galaxy-shattering, and sometimes both. Bhaajan must sift through the shadows of dark and dangerous Undercity—the enormous capital of a vast star empire—to find
I liked this for the most part

It's long past time we had characters and stories set with everyday folks.
Oct 26, 2014 added it
There are a few authors for whom I will buy (or request) every new book without even glancing at the blurb. Among these is Catherine Asaro. I did take a quick look at the cover copy for Undercity, but I will admit that when I saw the words ‘Skolian Empire’, glee fuzzed the rest. I did realise this novel is more peripheral to the saga, that it in fact begins a new series, but it represents a piece of the world I have come to adore and that is enough.

At age fifteen, Bhaajan escaped the slums of Cr
Kathy Martin
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
UNDERCITY is an accessible entry point for readers interested in Asaro's Skolian Empire books. It tells the story of a woman who escaped the poverty-sticken and violence-ridden Undercity by joining the army, has a successful career, retires and becomes a Private Investigator on a different planet. When she is hired, at an extremely high rate of pay, she finds herself returning to the planet of her birth and having to go back to the Undercity she thought she had escaped forever.

She has been hired
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Superb! One of the best reads of 2014. I highly recommend it.
Elena Linville
Nov 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: won-t-recommend, meh
This review is for the ARC I have received courtesy of NetGalley.

I usually refrain from writing negative reviews, mostly because I feel like by posting a one star review I am doing the author a disservice. But once in a while I come across books that I can't simply discard and not explain why I didn't like them, either because they were really bad, or because they could have been great and failed to live to my expectations.

In the case of Undercity by Catherine Asaro, it's the later rather than t
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good story! I enjoyed it!

3,5 stars

Ok, first some info: Undercity is extended version of The City of Cries novella, but added content is rather linear, since this book is basically continuation of novella. Hence, we have Part I (TCoC) and Part II (added content).

First part is a straight forward detective novel- Bhaajan is a former major with the Imperial Space Command turned PI and she's contacted by a mysterious client. It turns out, secrecy is well deserved since Bhaajan is hired to find one of the most important men i
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, netgalley
4.5 stars

Major Bhaajan, former military and now a private investigator, is hired by a mysterious client. Forced to return somewhere she'd rather not go, she's also forced to confront things she'd rather stayed in the past if there's to be any hope in the future.

This is the first I'd read by Catherine Asaro, so it's worth noting that I have just added the first of her Skolian Empire series - in the same universe as Undercity - to my to-read list. People who have already explored that series will
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
I received a copy of Undercity from Netgalley for an unbiased review.
I hadn't read any of Catherine Asaro books, so I really didn't know what to expect opening Undercity.
I really enjoyed this book, it was fresh, well paced, giving hints of a bigger universe outside of the story.
Major Bhaajan is offered a lucrative job searching for a missing prince, but this mean returning back to the city of Cries, and Undercity, the slum which she had escaped years before.
The character of Bhaajan is confiden
Silvia Andrito
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I gave it four stars because it is a good story. However there were a few things that were not quite there. The character development could have been better. The relationship between the main character and Jak was wham bam let's pick up where we left off. I understand there was history between them but as a reader I would have liked to see some of the development and growth of that relationship. As far as the culture she was trying to develop I found it very interesting but at sometimes confusin ...more
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction, 2015
I really wanted to like this book, because a nice lady popped out of nowhere and started recommending SF books to me. This was her first suggestion (and I have another one she recommended) and ... ugh. I ... didn't really enjoy reading it.

As other reviewers have noted, the protagonist ran away from the orphanage at *3*. Also all of these poverty-stricken, starving children would never accept free food or water, because of their culture? I couldn't get past that. Have you ever gone hungry? Try it
I am on the hunt for strong female characters written by female authors and this definitely delivered. As the first in a new series in the Skolian Empire world, this is a great place to start. Bhaajan is a former military P. I. who is called back to her home planet where she once roamed with the "dust rats," the often orphaned kids in the aqueducts under the grand City of Cries. In this world, women rule and fight wars while princes in royal families are kept under lock and key and have little p ...more
Intense storytelling and unexpected plot directions. The main character is gritty and tough, but also believability flawed.
Catherine Sullivan
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was nice to go back to the worlds of the Skolian Imperialate and see some of the characters (Majda, Selei) from another view. Major Bhaajan is a private investigator and this series fits well into the P.I. genre, while still doing some world-building with technology. I loved the additional discoveries about Raylicon, which set the stage for Catch the Lightning (the last book chronologically).
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Undercity is the start of a new series set in the Skolian Empire world of Asaro's previous novels. Those new to her works will find an easy introduction to that world and fans of her work will enjoy the references and milieu. The book features a strong heroine with a firm moral grounding that many will find relatable. But a disconnected storyline and somewhat simplistic characterizations does let the book down a bit.

Tim Hicks
Dec 26, 2015 rated it liked it
This is my first Asaro novel, so I brought no expectations. It's evident, though, that it's set in a developed bit of worldbuilding.

There are problems. Sometimes, a novel with problems just demands that I enumerate some of them, and that's just what I'll do. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

The developed worldbuilding doesn't extend to the undercity itself, which is quite obviously not feasible or viable; for example, it has a child of five leading a family of younger kids; it has
DNF @ 54%

I just really don't care about any of this.
This book has multiple parts - at the point where I stopped reading, the initial conflict from Part 1 has been resolved, and Part 2 deals with the fallout from that.
I was interested enough to see the resolution of Part 1, which was pretty easy to read, but now there's a new big conflict that I'm supposed to get invested in. I just cannot get into it because the writing is mediocre at best in my opinion, not to mention that Part 1 has done nothi
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Undercity by Catherine Asaro

When I received the e-book from NetGalley, I had never heard of Catherine Asaro, but when I read and loved the book, it was time to find out more about this author.

Asaro is one of those multi-talented individuals who excels in at almost everything. She has a PhD in chemical physics and an A.M. in physics from Harvard; a B.S. with highest honors from UCLA; she teaches chemistry, physics, and math and coaches national competitions; she is a dancer and a musician; she w
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The author of more than twenty-five books, Catherine Asaro is acclaimed for her Ruby Dynasty series, which combines adventure, science, romance and fast-paced action. Her novel The Quantum Rose won the Nebula® Award, as did her novella “The Spacetime Pool.” Among her many other distinctions, she is a multiple winner of the AnLab from Analog magazine

Other books in the series

Major Bhaajan (3 books)
  • The Bronze Skies (Major Bhaajan, #2)
  • The Vanished Seas (Major Bhaajan series Book 3)

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