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Seven Devils #1

Seven Devils

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When Eris faked her death, she thought she had left her old life as the heir to the galaxy's most ruthless empire behind. But her recruitment by the Novantaen Resistance, an organization opposed to the empire's voracious expansion, throws her right back into the fray.

Eris has been assigned a new mission: to infiltrate a spaceship ferrying deadly cargo and return the intelligence gathered to the Resistance. But her partner for the mission, mechanic and hotshot pilot Cloelia, bears an old grudge against Eris, making an already difficult infiltration even more complicated.

When they find the ship, they discover more than they bargained for: three fugitives with firsthand knowledge of the corrupt empire's inner workings.

Together, these women possess the knowledge and capabilities to bring the empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: the new heir to the empire plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining alien empire, ensuring the empire’s continued expansion. If they can find a way to stop him, they will save the galaxy. If they can't, millions may die.

458 pages, Hardcover

First published August 4, 2020

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About the author

L.R. Lam

24 books1,055 followers
Originally from sunny California, L.R. Lam now lives in cloudy Scotland. Lam is a Sunday Times Bestselling author whose work includes epic fantasy romance Dragonfall (The Dragon Scales Trilogy), the near-future space thriller, Goldilocks, feminist space opera Seven Devils and Seven Mercies (co-written with Elizabeth May), BBC Radio 2 Book Club section False Hearts, the companion novel Shattered Minds, and the award-winning Micah Grey series: Pantomime, Shadowplay, and Masquerade.

Their short fiction and essays have appeared in anthologies such as Nasty Women, Solaris Rising 3, Cranky Ladies of History, Scotland in Space, and more. Their romance alter ego is Laura Ambrose. Lam lectures part-time at Edinburgh Napier University and is Programme Leader of the Creative Writing MA.

*Please note I don't read my GR mail*

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5 stars
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708 (41%)
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318 (18%)
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106 (6%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 462 reviews
Profile Image for Samantha.
409 reviews16.7k followers
September 19, 2020
TW: abusive parent; death of a parent; amputation; authoritarian government; plague

This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, but sadly didn’t live up to my expectations. This is a female led space opera featuring a motley crew trying to take down an empire. With that description, I thought that I’d be way more attached to this crew than I was. I found myself not caring much. The amount of POVs was probably necessary but made the story feel more broad and I didn’t start to attach to the characters until almost the end.

I also would have liked more from the world. This empire has a pantheon of gods, which had a lot of potential, but was barely utilized. I also could not get a feel for this world.

Overall, I MAY continue with this duology since there is only one book left. I loved that it is a group of highly skilled women, features a w/w relationship, and also a trans woman in a place of power. I just hope the next book will pull me in more.
Profile Image for Elizabeth May.
Author 7 books2,217 followers
Want to read
October 22, 2020


🚀adult scifi
💪feminist as fuck
🌈queer as a rainbow
💩fuck imperialism
👩‍❤️‍👩ladies being soft
🤬ladies kicking ass
👨one good dude
👨👨👨some shitbags
🌌a whole lotta stars



Profile Image for L.R. Lam.
Author 24 books1,055 followers
July 28, 2020

Pick up this book I wrote with one of my best friends if you like the idea of a group of rebels smashing the patriarchy in space.

Comp titles/media:

Rouge One
A Science Fiction Six of Crows
Mad Max: Fury Road
Guardians of the Galaxy
The meme of 'be gay, do crime.' But in space.

A few people have added it as young adult, and we often describe it as crossover and think that teens will definitely jive with it. But just a wee note that most of the protagonists are in their 20s and 30s and tonally it's probably a little more on the adult side (there are sex scenes, a fair amount of dismemberment and violence, and a LOT of swearing, hah), which why it's being released by adult publishers.

Full content notes on my website: http://www.lauralam.co.uk/book/seven-...

Hope you enjoy! x
Profile Image for Ellie.
573 reviews2,085 followers
Want to read
March 13, 2020
this shares the title with one of my fave dark gothic Florence & the Machine songs so I’m up 👀
Profile Image for theresa.
286 reviews4,284 followers
May 17, 2022
second read, may 2022:
I reread Seven Devils before picking up the sequel, Seven Mercies, as, honestly, I didn't remember anything that had happened or who the characters were. I really enjoyed my reread and stand by my original review and rating. This is a fun, feminist scifi novel with a great cast of characters. In fact, I can understand now why there are several chapters in the past and appreciate what they add to the story, though it definitely did slow the pace down a bit.

The only thing that bugged me was the way Clo talks. She is from the slums, where they speak a dialect called Snarl. Snarl is very similar to Scots, which doesn't seem coincidental considering the authors both live in Scotland. However, it's written in a way that seems more like poorly written Scots rather than a made up language. For example, some verbs aren't conjugated correctly or the dialogue is awkwardly written with some bizarre spelling choices. I know that Snarl is meant to be made up and I can appreciate that, however it is very strange to read this kind of mash up of Scots as a Scots speaker.

first read, july 2020:
Seven resistance fighters come together from across the galaxy to help defeat the ruthless Tholossian Empire. When the resistance gets word of a heavily guarded Tholossian ship carrying deadly cargo, they send out Eris and Clo to gather intelligence. Unfortunately, the two women have been at each other’s throats ever since Clo found out that before she joined the resistance, Eris was the heir to the corrupt Empire. The mission goes from bad to worse when they discover three fugitives on the ship and just how dangerous its cargo is.

My thoughts:
I really loved this incredibly queer and feminist book and can’t wait to see how it concludes in the sequel! I’m not a huge sci fi fan and often find it very confusing but this book was just so easy to sink into and I really enjoyed reading it.

This novel’s strong point for me was its characters, they were all incredibly diverse (sapphics, a trans woman, an asexual character and many were people of colour) and unique and I really loved their relationships and team dynamics. It was so easy to sympathise with each of them and their cause and root for them all to succeed. They felt very real and all had their own issues and motivations that were explored in their point of views which I found impressive for such a large cast (5 POV characters, 7 main characters total). I loved the way they bonded and their jokes and the found family vibes (which is one of my favourite things ever). I also really loved the romantic relationship that developed between two of the girls, it was so natural and soft and sweet.

I also really enjoyed the worldbuilding in this book (or should I say galaxy building?). This is where I would normally get confused and lose interest in sci fi but everything was explained so well and gradually that it was very easy to follow. The actual structure of the world (or galaxy) was really interesting and I’m excited to hopefully see even more of it in the next book! This book had a good amount of action scenes and I found them very well written, the authors were great at building tension and raising the stakes and it felt like I couldn’t look away. There were also several plot twists that I just didn’t see coming which really impressed me.

My only complaint about this book was that it felt a bit slow at times. I think this is mostly down to the amount of chapters set in the past. Although I understood the necessity of them and enjoyed them, I wondered how necessary it was to have all of them? It sometimes felt like they were slowing down the pace of the book and acting as a filler. I’d say the Princess Discordia ones were necessary but the others I’m not as sure about.

Overall, I highly recommend this book! If you’re looking for a fun queer sci fi with found family vibes and a semi-functual team of misfits battling a corrupt empire then this is the perfect book for you!

I also talk about books here: youtube | instagram | twitter

*eARC received in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley*
Profile Image for NAT.orious reads ☾.
836 reviews329 followers
April 8, 2022
This book is for you if… you like space opera but a) critisise the lack of badass and b) miss the diversity of your average whie male dominated spaceship. Well, I have good news, these seven devils got it all.

If people can enjoy books even though their authors have questionable morals and political views, I sure as heck can love a book simply for the fact alone that it breaks free from the male-dominated space opera genre.

Seven Devils features six incredible and strong women and one equally skilled man who are each badass in their own way. Some have sick fighting skills, others display brain power most people couldn't even dream of. The seven devils sure as heck did not ask to be united by (un?)lucky coincidence but their combined strength is the vibe I wished for to leave this shit year 2020 behind. (Not that I have any illusions what so ever 2021 is going to be much better, pandemic wise)

The writing is engaging, the dialogues are witty and perfectly balanced with the rest of the narration - a mixture I'm very sensitive to. Nothing pains me more than endless narration a la ... and then they went there, and then this happened and that's how they felt about it. Although Laura and Elizabeth decided to jump between the present and different times in the past, they did so very smoothly: I felt like I had a very clear picture of the individual characters' pasts, their present situation and overall motivations.

Since there must have been something wrong with the book considering I chucked one star: The world-building had weak points, something that can be fatal if the narrative is not set in this dimension's present. Additionally, the trajectory wasn't always clear to me.

P.S.:Before you start this book, I urge you to check out this Seven Devils Playlist. Elizabeth put it together on Spotify and it's so friggin on point. So many badass songs on there, still listen to it even though I've finished the book a week ago.

What’s happening.
‘She learned that Damocles didn't like losing. She learned that he considered it a weakness. She learned that he grew impatient easily and that when he sensed he wouldn't win, he made stupid mistakes.
And she learned that he hated hearing her say the same words when she won every game.
Regina regem necat. Queen kills King.’

spoiler alert : In this book, QueenS are hunting down a self-proclaimed king.
4 STARS. Would stay up beyond my typical hours to finish it. I found some minor details I didn't like, agree with or lacked in some kind but overall, this was enjoyable and extraordinary.
Profile Image for Holly.
1,415 reviews960 followers
September 29, 2020
DNF @ 25%

Beautiful cover, boring book. I keep getting sci-fi/fantasy books that are listed as adult but are clearly YA, it’s annoying. I don’t mind some YA if they are really well written with fully developed characters and plots, but this ain’t that.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,112 reviews301 followers
August 30, 2020
Have you ever picked up a Star Wars universe book and thought it sounded so great, but after reading it you felt like it just wasn't at all what you were hoping for? I definitely understand that feeling. I approached Seven Devils with mildly low expectations because it seemed exactly like those Star Wars books.

As it turned out, Seven Devils delivered in all the ways I always wish those others would. The story is fast-moving and progresses smoothly from scene to scene. The four POV characters - that many often tends to be a dice throw for me - were not only all interesting to follow, but were distinct enough that I never lost track of whose chapter I was reading. The story is not incredibly original, but it is told in such an engaging manner that it never felt like things were dragging.

A few reviewers have mentioned the queer representation, but for me what made it so good was that it did not feel like rep for representation's sake. Everything felt organic and very much part of the world Lam and May created.

The bottom line is that Seven Devils was so much better than I expected it to be in almost every respect. It is definitely recommended for all of you who love stories about seemingly outmatched rebels and crews that are randomly thrown together but somehow just make everything golden.
Profile Image for Ashley.
785 reviews423 followers
December 24, 2020
Star Rating: —> 4 Stars

WOWW... What. Did i even just READ??!

Bc whew I totally need a breather & THEN lets unpack this feminist space opera !
Profile Image for Ocean.
118 reviews
July 26, 2020
Excuse me while I SCREAM. This book is SO DAMN GOOD. The ending has got me feeling so many things. I need the sequel immediately. Listen, for a long time I didn't think I liked sci fi, but when it's done right, sci fi is incredible. Seven Devils is one of those books that came to me at the right time and I'm so glad it exists.

Some things I love about Seven Devils:
Friends to enemies to friends again
Autistic rep
Bi rep
Trans rep
Ace rep
Rag tag team coming together to fight
Several POVs
Learning about each character's past
Shocking turn of events
So much hope
F/f relationship
Communicating through thoughts

The ending of this book messed me up. Several parts of this book messed me up, actually. In a good way, I think. All of the main characters are likeable and that's impressive. Every POV was good to read, there weren't any that I disliked or wanted to skip. I think Rhea and Ariadne are my favourite characters, but I found Princess Discordia's POV the most interesting and I really love Xander. I'd love to see a spin off about Xander, even just a short story would do. I'm feeling so many things. Please read this book, you won't regret it.
Profile Image for Isabella.
558 reviews12.7k followers
September 29, 2020
don't get me wrong!! it's a very entertaining read, reminiscent of The 100, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and basically queers in space fighting against the patriarchy; also the found family is strong in this one~

But if there's one thing I learned from reading this book is that science fiction is definitely not my cup of tea *hides in shame* There's this disconnect between myself and the story that I can't seem to breach; I struggle to connect to the characters and their intergalactic struggles, which is no fault of the authors! They've crafted a wonderful, diverse story about a group of girls (and one not so terribly boy) trying to topple an incredibly violent & corrupt empire with their wits and not so carefully laid out plans.

If you enjoy movies like Star Wars, Mad Max, Interstellar, etc. with a feminist touch & great action scenes, then this is the book for you :)
Profile Image for Mads.
179 reviews287 followers
April 17, 2021
3.5 stars but i’m rounding up for ariadne and rhea

i felt like a lot of this book could’ve been made better if the exposition was clearer, like, so many of these chapters were riddled with worldbuilding but not in a way that was beneficial ???? it would be really dense with words, but not really make any sense because it took ages to actually get to the point and by the time it did, i had already forgotten where the start had been.

the characters were very well developed though, i felt like they each had very distinct voices and i appreciated that because it meant the chapter POVs were easier to distinguish.
Profile Image for Peppermint.
136 reviews167 followers
Want to read
March 1, 2018
"Eris – or, Princess Discordia as she was once known, heir to the Empire, until she faked her own death and decided to dedicate her life to destroying her family."

This is the aesthetic I never knew I needed.
Profile Image for imyril.
436 reviews60 followers
June 19, 2021
I enjoyed this so much less than I expected. It’s not a bad read, it just never grabbed me. I should’ve been all over a female-led rebel crew bonding to bring down an evil empire, but in the end, there wasn’t enough complexity here to satisfy. It read like a glossy Hollywood blockbuster, all action thrills and little substance, but heavy on flashbacks that do little to serve character (by the time they reach The Important Character Building Moment it’s long been clear what happened, making it a bit unnecessary) so just feel like padding.

Best devoured with popcorn when you’re looking for an undemanding diversion.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,292 reviews263 followers
January 10, 2022
Seven Devils was a fantastic read following a group of characters who work together to bring down a corrupt regime.

After faking her death to escape life as heir to the galaxy's most brutal empire, Eris thought she was finally free. But it doesn't take long for her to become involved in the Novantaen Resistance, a group determined to stop the empire no matter what. Her newest mission is simple, gather intelligence about the cargo being carried on one of the empire's spaceships and return to the resistance with the information. But Eris and Cloelia, her partner on the mission, are in for a surprise when they board the ship and find three fugitives with the knowledge to take down the empire. Together the group has the ability to stop the empire in it's tracks but if they can't pull it off, millions may die.

The main group in this book consists of seven characters and we follow four POVs throughout the book. I liked that each character was unique and that the characters didn't all blend together as can sometimes happen with a large cast. Our group includes royalty, a mechanic, a courtesan, a soldier, a hacker, a rebellion leader, and a pilot for the empire. I liked the friendships that developed within the group and how ready they were to lay everything on the line to help each other, even when they didn't like each other. Everyone has their role within the group and I liked how well they worked together, trusting each other to do their part.

The world the authors created was incredibly interesting and I found myself wanting to learn more about the history of the empire. We get some flashbacks to Eris's past showing some of the innerworkings of the empire and I particularly enjoyed these chapters. Throughout the book, the characters travel to a number of locations within the galaxy and I thought the decision to keep the group moving around was a great choice as it helped the pacing of the story. The tension in the book increases drastically as we get closer to the end and the group puts their plan into motion. The ending surprised me as there were several things I didn't see coming. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where things pick up in Seven Mercies and how the events at the end of the book affect the group.

Overall Seven Devils was a fast-paced read that had me pulled in from start to finish. I highly recommend the book if you're looking for a great sci-fi and I can't wait to read the sequel when it releases next year.

**I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Amy Plum.
Author 20 books4,866 followers
August 11, 2020
What Star Wars should be...in a perfect and very gay universe. LOVED LOVED LOVED!!!
Profile Image for Izy.
838 reviews76 followers
August 6, 2020
Rating~4.5 stars
What a thrilling ride Seven devils is!

TW: Violence, death, torture, xenophobia, all sorts of abuse (for the full list please visit here).

I started this going just a few chapters before I go to sleep and before I knew I’d finished it and it was morning. Thank god it was the weekend. 

Seven Devils introduces us to the Tholosians empire; with their genocidal tendencies, conquering planet after planet, a caste system which treats everyone not the ruling class like dirt (or I should say the ruler). Everything is under the control of one emperor. While they have several gods they worship, their patron god seems to be death.

The empire is vast, and spread over a planets, empires control the population through the oracle system. Which is basically brainwashing them, controlling their thoughts and emotions and above all loyalty to the empire and its emperor through chips. The only ones not controlled are the royalty, the novataen resistance members and those born naturally in the slums that are instead controlled by drugs.  

Eris, one of our protagonist left her old life behind by faking her death, I mean its not a secret of who she is. She used to the heir to the empire, the only female in the empires history to reach that point. Her existence had been that of a solider, brutally trained and she has so much blood on her hands. She had to kill her brothers, because that’s how it is in her world and to survive. All but two of her brothers were the same. Xander, who wanted no part of the empires way of life, who taught her value of life/death and emotions. Damocles was the opposite side, cruel, violent and a psychopath. Eris is now part of the resistance and a rebel against the empire.

Cloelia, is one of the humans born naturally, grew up in the slums with her mother and later joined the resistance. She considers the two leaders of the resistance, her family. Her life before resistance was affected like other living in the slums, poverty. She also hates the royalty, especially Damocles.

Eris and Clo are paired together for a mission to do some recon on an empire ship only to have ship commandeered by 3 escapees from the empire. From there we meet, an empire solider (Nyx), a courteasan (Rhea) and a genius child/young girl (Adrianne). Who band together and go on a mission for freedom from the empire and the oracle. Told in present and flashbacks we learn more about our protagonists. With action, adventure, battles, a budding romance & a threat of total destruction and loss that is looming overhead.

I loved Eris, her character is pretty complex. From her royal birth to her training and to joining her resistance. Her life has never been easy or simple. When its kill or be killed, Eris learned to be a pretty great at it. She has killed before and continues to do so no matter how guilty she may feel. I also loved Nyx, Adrianne and Rhea. They are very different people, with different backgrounds and struggles but with a common hatred and fear of the oracle.

Narrative wise you know as soon as you get Eris flashback POV that what’s gonna happen but its a journey I enjoyed and obviously because this the first in a duology you know its not gonna end in a HEA in this one. 

I wonder whatever happened to master Heraia ? 

I NEED the next book!!! And I want Eris to kill her crazy ass brother and for the seven devils team to save everyone from the empire and their psychopath of a king. 

Quibbles: Clo is a bit of a hothead. I felt the animosity from Cloelia to Eris went on for too long. By the time it gets better, I had spent the book not really liking that part of her character. A small thing in the grand scheme of the book. The other thing I can’t mention because it would be a spoiler but I just felt this would be something that they would/might have trained Eris against. 

I really enjoyed this one. It has really strong characters, not just because two of them are soldiers and they are rebels but because they are all trying to do more, be better than what they were brought in or what they were programmed to do. And part of that being strong is having emotional response to things that are bad, some like Eris and Nyx might have to suppress that to achieve their goal but the core of is emotions driving them. The plot is very engrossing, the world building is great too as we follow them trying to do their best in saving humanity. The way its written is quite vivid and I can really see Seven Devils being adapted to movies/tv shows. This is my first read by Elizabeth May and Laura Lam but I will definitely be checking out their other books.

Overall, loved it and can't wait for more! 

Review on Blog
ARC was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Amy Marsden.
Author 2 books37 followers
February 12, 2021
I really enjoyed this book!

Princess Discordia/Eris has become one of my favourite fictional characters. I love it when characters go undercover, and I especially love it when said characters are royalty! I can't wait to read more of her in the next book!

This is about a rag tag group of rebels fighting against a seemingly all powerful Empire. Eris was the heir but left to join the resistance. Clo is a mechanic who used to be friends with Eris until she realised she was the princess. The others are Nyx, a former programmed solider (the Empire has an AI that programs everyone for certain jobs) Rhea, a former courtesan, and Ariadne, an engineer who helped fine tune the AI.

Eris was by far the best character IMO, followed by Nyx. There was the beginnings of a found family between everyone, but I think the book should have shown them bonding more to cement this.

I enjoyed the setting. The Empire and AI were insidious, and I think the world building was good.

There are only two things really that bothered me, and both are personal preference. The first is the romance between Clo and Rhea. There was no chemistry between them and it seemed to come out of nowhere. If anything, the romance should have been between Clo and Eris as a friends to enemies to lovers sort of thing. They had way better chemistry.

The other was Ariadne's age. She's 16, yet throughout the book its mentioned over and over that she's the voice of the AI, she codes for it, she made it what it is etc. Yet the AI is far older than her, and has been in people's heads for longer than 16 years. So I didn't really understand what was happening there.

Other than that though, 5 stars! I can't wait for the next book!

Rep: POC, trans, lesbian, bi, disabled
Profile Image for Emma.
2,395 reviews823 followers
December 2, 2021
An exciting story with lots of adventure. Kind of 1984 in space! A story of misfits and found family where they really only gel right at the end. The individual characters were portrayed in depth and I loved the world building and the concept of the Oracle and One. Looking forward to the sequel!
Profile Image for Sana.
1,076 reviews956 followers
Shelved as 'to-read-so-bad-it-hurts'
November 12, 2019


August 6, 2020
4,5 stars

TW/CW: Mentioned Torture | Loss of Limb | Indoctrination  

Seven Devils is that one Sci-Fi book that I really looked forward to this year yet when I got an e-arc it took me forever to pick this up. I was so scared I wasn't going to love this. And I wanted too so much. I hadn't read anything by either author before and I have such high hopes for them as far as authors I'm going to like. So those are high expectations to fill already. But I am pleased to say that I really enjoyed this book. 

Seven Devils starts us off with the focus on two characters, Eris and Clo. Both are a part of the resistance and there is some animosity between the two of them. Yet they are forced to go on a mission together. And from there it just goes from bad to worse. 

The whole casts is five but it isn't until Eri and Clo meet them do we get their point of view. That worked incredibly well because it allowed us time to get into the world and two other characters first before we had to get to know three others. Too many point of views from the start can unnecessarily slow down the progress of a plot because so many things have to get told first. 

There are some flashback throughout the book and a first that didn't work for me but as we got deeper into the plot and we got to know the characters, the more invested I became in their history. In understanding where they came from. And quite frankly they call kicked ass. I think though that Ari grabbed me the most. I think that is just my feeling as a mom. 

I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of this series and more by these authors. 
Profile Image for ⭐Anny⭐ (Book Princess) .
430 reviews262 followers
February 11, 2021
4.5 stars
This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021 and it didn't disappoint! Totally recommended for fans of sci-fi/space opera and strong female characters!

(Find this and more reviews on my blog: Anni the Bookprincess!)

Seven Devils is about a group of women thrown together by...let's call it fate. They embark on a mission on a stolen spaceship carrying mysterious cargo and get caught up in a dangerous powerplay that may lead to their deaths... So the story isn't something completely new or mind-blowing, but it's still exciting, fun, action packed and I loved reading it.

Most of all I loved the characters. They each have their own point of view and their own voice, I thought they were really well fleshed out. As the story progresses we learn more about their backgrounds and how they got to the point where they are now. The story uses flashback chapters to tell the reader about important events in the characters' past. And they're all so badass! This book screams girl power!
Even though I liked them all, my favorite was Clo. Female mechanics/pilots, sighhhh.

The story focuses mostly on the plot and how the characters are dealing with everything the universe throws at them, but there's a little f/f romance too. It was very slow burn and didn't make up a huge part of the story, yet it was important for one specific character's development. It was very well done!

The book is fast paced and doesn't get boring. The ending really leaves you worrying about your favorites and comes with one unexpected twist. Everything else wasn't exactly universe-shakingly new, but still fun. In the end, Seven Devils was a highly enjoyable read with memorable characters that could stand on its own but leaves you longing for the sequel at the same time.

Recommended for ages 16 and up. Trigger warnings: torture, death, slavery
Profile Image for Becca (Horners_book_corner).
171 reviews33 followers
July 19, 2020
I adore Laura Lam's writing style anyway, but when paired with Elizabeth May it just gets even better. Who even imagines up a YA/adult cross-over feminist 'Guardians of the Galaxy' style romp in space with queer characters, a heist and incredible technological voodoo?! This is a truly brilliant read with relatable characters and plot and is one of those books where I wish I had waited to read it as I need the next one immediately!

Check out my full review on Twwbookclub.co.uk
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,008 reviews2,597 followers
September 8, 2020
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2020/09/03/...

Seven Devils is the first book of a planned space opera duology by authors Laura Lam and Elizabeth May in their first collaboration. Set in a galaxy controlled by the oppressive Tholosian Empire, the book follows a group of seven plucky Novantaen Resistance members who will never stop fighting to free the billions of people living under the Empire’s iron rule.

First, we have Eris. Former heir to the Tholosian throne, she knows better than anyone why the resistance is so important. It took a lot to break free of her old life, which included having to fake her own death, but it took even more for those in her new life to finally trust her. Next up is Clo, a mechanic who had also defected from the Empire, whose sometimes-friend, sometimes-rival relationship with Eris often causes friction whenever they go on missions together. Then there’s Nyx, a career soldier and former royal guard who has lost count of how many people she’s killed. Tired of being used as a weapon, Nyx now dedicates her efforts to stopping the Oracle, the artificial mind behind the Empire. She also looks out for Ariadne, the youngest member of the group. A gifted engineer, Ariadne was originally created by the enemy, but has secretly been helping the resistance for years. Also, we have Rhea, a courtesan with a heart of gold. She is extremely sensitive to the emotions of others, making her a great confidante but also quick to adapt to changing situations. And finally, we have Kyla, the resistant commander calling the shots, as well as Cato, hotshot pilot, rounding out the team.

On their latest mission, the team is called upon to intercept a Tholosian ship carrying mysterious cargo, and to gather any intelligence to return to the Resistance. But once they infiltrate the ship, they find more than they bargained for.

Seven Devils was so much fun! But it is also a very difficult novel to review. First off, I think this is a fantastic sci-fi adventure tale about a strong group of women who come together and support each other to fight for a common cause. Their backgrounds are interesting and diverse, their relationships meaningful and complex. The story is highly energetic, with barely any lulls at all. I was also impressed with the writing, and to Lam and May’s credit, their styles meshed incredibly well and I could hardly tell where one author’s voice ends and the other’s begins. That’s seriously impressive, considering it’s their first team-up.

However, dig a little deeper below the surface, and you might find some things that are less harmonious. The biggest challenge for me personally was the structure of the novel, which has a present timeline that is frequently interrupted by flashbacks to the individual characters’ lives as the cast list gradually expands. In the end, what we get are five main perspectives, and interspersed among them are these mostly brief time jumps to the past, focusing on important moments in the characters’ lives, many of which have direct relevance as to what is occurring in the present. I often see this format utilized for TV shows as a way for writers to develop individual characters, especially when dealing with a large ensemble cast. But while this may work well for the screen, it comes across as less coherent on the page, and in the case of Seven Devils, it caused some POV and timeline confusion.

It also might have been a tad too long. Granted, each time we got a flashback, it was a way to flesh out that particular character, which also helped explain her motivations and decision-making. Still, while the narrative was doing this for half a dozen characters or more, the present timeline was going nowhere fast. As much as I hate to admit it, with a first half that was mostly bogged down with backstory-telling, the book took a long time to build, and the take-off was rough and uneven. The world-building was also detailed to the point of too much bloat. Considering what we have here is essentially your classic Empire vs. Resistance narrative (not exactly original), the length probably could have been pared down by a lot and the novel would have been better for it.

And yet, despite the turbulent pacing and its technical flaws, Seven Devils featured a thoroughly engaging and entertaining storyline, and I believe that, in the end, is what will determine the book’s success with readers. I love adventurous space operas, found family plotlines, stories about people working together, helping each other, saving each other, and loving each other. Laura Lam and Elizabeth May have delivered the first half of a promising duology that encompasses all this and so much more, and ultimately, a few hiccups here and there are a small price to pay for so much fun.

Audiobook Comments: This was definitely a missed opportunity for multiple narrators, which would have created a more immersive audio experience. That being said, Christina Traister did a great job with the many voices, capturing each character perfectly, from hotheaded Clo to kind and gentle Rhea.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,374 reviews1,836 followers
November 11, 2022
I've had this fairly high on my TBR for ages now and boy was this a disappointment. All this wait for.. that?

First off, this was so boring for like.. most of the beginning; I'd say right up until the 45% mark, if not more. Things got interesting and action packed in the middle ish and I found I blew through a solid portion pretty quickly because I was very engaged. And then as we neared the end I wasn't all that tuned in anymore. A few surprise reveals were kind of predictable, I wasn't into the romance (mostly because one half of the couple is a character I've never liked), and just overall I feel like this just missed the mark.

I hope my hold of book two pops up sooner rather than later so I can blitz through the end (might even be joined by my buddy, hi Micky!, in her attempt to close this one out, too) and move on. But if the finale can surprise me with some wows and thrills and excitement, I'll take it. The bar is just very low right now. I am sad.

And what a waste of a good reference to a Florence + The Machine song.
Profile Image for Lucie.
828 reviews88 followers
August 1, 2020
"None of us can change what's happened to us, but we can work on making things better."

I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I've been trying to get more into sci-fi lately, and I'm happy to say that Seven Devils was everything I could have wanted from a sci-fi novel! Seven Devils is a space opera following a group of women who are part of the resistance against a galactic empire, I mean, what more could you want?

It has a compelling and diverse cast of characters (Ariadne and Rhea are my absolute favourites), an interesting galaxy I'm super excited to see more of in the sequel, and a gripping plot. While it took me a little while to get through the first 100 pages, as I didn't have much time to dedicate to this book, and I'm still new to sci-fi, I read the last 300 pages in three days, as I couldn't stop thinking about this story and the characters.

I loved this book so much, and I totally recommend it, whether you love sci-fi or would like to get more into that genre. 🚀

Full review to come!
Profile Image for Geonn Cannon.
Author 102 books151 followers
August 10, 2020
Right after I say "Maybe I just don't like space opera books," I find this one. Take the women from The Expanse, mix them with the women from Firefly, and sit back to see what happens. Really fantastic, really queer (trans, bi, and lesbian representation all over the place on the crew), and a really good story tying them together. I feel like Harrow the Ninth will take a lot of the attention this book deserves, and that's a shame. Hopefully everyone who likes space adventures with a variety of likeable female leads will pick it up asap.

This is the second Laura Lam book I've read this year. Both feature a majority female cast, both were set in space, and both were great. I'm definitely checking out whatever she comes up with next.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
601 reviews63 followers
September 3, 2020
She looked out at the stars and planned her next game.
Queens kill king.
4.5 stars

If you enjoyed 'Six of Crows' or 'Star Wars', you'll probably like this one too! 'Seven Devils' boasts an epic interstellar journey of resistance and undercover ops against the totalitarian Tholosian Empire, over which stands the watchful gaze of the Oracle (also known as One), an AI program that brainwashes and surveils the regions under Tholosian rule. There are also distinct, diverse characters, including BIPOC, disabled, trans, queer, neurodivergent characters, which is both important to their characterisation (for example, attention is paid to how Cloelia's prosthetic leg affects her daily life) but it is not all they are. (Note: the racism/xenophobia in this book is not based on skin colour, but rather a fear of alien superpowered abilities.) 'Seven Devils' also has an irresistible found-family dynamic with excellent banter!

'Don't make me regret this,' Clo grumbled.
'Don't be an asshole,' Eris sang back.
'Assholes are warm and sensitive,' Clo returned.

found family stitch gif

The gang's personalities are all so different and makes for some truly hilarious exchanges.

'[I]f that thing is dangerous,' Clo [asked], 'what would happen to us?'
'Oh, who knows?' Ariadne gave a dismissive wave of a gloved hand. 'But some substances can make you really sick from organ and bone marrow damage. Or you might start hemorrhaging. Or you can become incapacitated and eventually die. It's like a surprise! Only the surprise is your death and how quickly it happens.'
'I shouldn't have asked.'

It was a bit of a rocky start with this one - a flood of place and people names, a few info-dumps that were interesting but still info-dumps, and plot-wise, a relatively slow beginning. During introspective passages, some lines felt a little overdramatic but once the stakes shot up, these lines fit much better. Once 'Seven Devils' gets going, it really digs its claws into you and keeps you hooked. The last quarter in particular was a slew of rocketing plot twists and high octane scene flow.

The world-building is quite intricate, built up through flashbacks and *ahem* the aforementioned info-dumps, and everyone's backstories are similarly layered in complexity. (Even the antagonist develops too - at least from our original concept of them - and I anticipate we may get some more of their backstory in the sequel.) Flashbacks take place as whole chapters, which I think is smart as it's a lot less confusing than having random backstory passages in the middle of a stressful present-day scene, but it does make the plot seem like it's slower than it actually is.

Their backstories built character depth, especially for Eris/Discordia. Eris used to be Princess Discordia, (also known as General Discordia), Heir to a brutal Empire that demands its potential rulers to kill all but one of their siblings (the Spare) in order to earn their place as successor. Eris/Discordia was my favourite, utterly fascinating and compelling in her character arc. She's particularly interesting because most of her character arc has already taken place before this book, in the years leading up to her faking her death and defecting to the Resistance.

Change the damn Empire, Discordia. Make it yours. Make it better.
While there was a sweet sapphic romance blossoming between two other characters (Cloelia and Rhea), the bond I was most invested in was the sibling love between Eris/Discordia and her gentle brother Xander, so different to her other brother Damocles, the present-day Heir. The crumbs of Xander's story, scattered throughout Eris' flashbacks, built up his bond with her until I grieved him too, despite Xander never appearing in the present-day. I actually wept real tears.
Discordia wanted Xander to live. She wanted him to live more than she wanted to rule an empire.

i'm fine crying gif

By virtue of having characters with wildly different backgrounds, 'Seven Devils' could address several themes quite well. For example, through Eris/Discordia and another character, Ariadne, the difference between toxic love (from their parents) and healthy love is illustrated.

Even if her father cared about her in his own way, it was destructive. Toxic... It was Xander who had truly cared for her. His affection had not come with pain.
It also portrays the dangers of nationalism, institutionalised violence and heteronormative, binary thinking.
This is what the Empire did: forced you to become complicit in the dehumanization of others... Nationalism cultivated prejudice. Everyone here was fighting against their own upbringing.
The Oracle forces people into neat little boxes because One only understands order. But humans are messy. We are not binary; we don't exist in ones and zeroes. This or that.

I have some remaining questions, like how Eris first came to the resistance, why Discordia and Damocles are blonde versus their 49 other brunette siblings, but I trust these will be addressed in the sequel. The final line was absolutely amazing. Gave me literal chills. I am SO excited for the next book!

Thank you to NetGalley and Gollancz for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!

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