Author: Gavin Smith
Genre: science fiction
Series: The Bastard Legion #1
Published: January 26 2017
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Four hundred years in the future, the most dangerous criminals are kept in suspended animation aboard prison ships and "rehabilitated" in a shared virtual reality environment. But Miska Storrow, a thief and hacker with a background in black ops, has stolen one of these ships, the Hangman's Daughter, and made it her own. Controlled by explosive collars and trained in virtual reality by the electronic ghost of a dead marine sergeant, the thieves, gangsters, murderers, and worse are transformed into Miska's own private indentured army: the Bastard Legion. Are the mercenaries just for fun and profit, or does Miska have a hidden purpose connected to her covert past?
Does this not sound AWESOME? I love the idea of it so much. I mean --- an unrepentant anti-heroine uses criminals to be her own army and if they disobery she blows their heads off? LITERALLY? I mean sure the whole "indentured" part is beyond messed up but that sounds like a helluva draw for a science fiction story. There's a large scope to this story that appeals, even if the execution is not up to meeting the challenge. The Hangman's Daughter launches a series that is dark and different and has so much potential....
Which is why it's such a shame that The Hangman's Daughter can't live up to its own synopsis. This is a messy, jumbled narrative -- clarity issues abound, character dialogue is clunky, and the storyline's pacing is all over the place. I can take the high levels of violence, I can take characters I don't like -- but I have to have something connecting me to the story. There was none of that personal investment here. There's violence for violence's sake and a thin plot that never really coalesces into anything meaningful. Disappointing enough to turn me off trying the rest of the series, The Hangman's Daughter is a forgettable mess.