The sci-fi adventure book, Traitor is the first title in Krista D. Ball’s Collaborator series and just out this month and a spiffing good read with everything I need in a space pew-pew.
Yay or nay?
Very yay. I’m yay’ing all over this one in buckets. A strong claustrophobic start rams home the pitiful existence Rebecca is surviving in, constantly toying with the idea of suicide in an abject, non-dramatic dreary despair that’s all too familiar. Her panic attacks are very believable and her internal conflict of what the right thing to do is makes a lot of sense of a person who’s spent her whole life cocooned in the safe parts of western society only to suddenly find herself the slave. And then her problems dogpile in the shape of an ex-lover, an unrelenting creep who might even be spying on her and a decision to throw away everything she’s suffered and sacrificed for the past seven years to do something right.
The Quick Plot
Rebecca lives a dreary hard-scrabble existence on a space station in virtual slavery as a low-grade tech. It wasn’t always this way. She used to work cutting-edge R&D back on Earth. Before the others came through the wormhole. Before the fall of the planet and before she surrendered to the invaders in return for trying to claw out an existence of what was left of her world.
But once again she’s asked to choose between safety and a risk-all action to save the lives of resistance fighters and aid the woman she loves. The choice comes down to deciding what’s right and what’s necessary. Can Rebecca risk her neighbors to save people who are trying to free her planet? Can she kill them?
The female protagonist is not all-powerful and all-unbelievable. Instead, she’s a very real, very broken and struggling person and a pacifist.
Now I’ll admit like female powerhouses, and there’s more than one of those in this book! But that doesn’t mean I can’t see the issues in stories solely portraying female protagonists as godly and in effect outside the norm. Krista’s Rebecca isn’t going to be arm-wrestling androids any time but she’s worth getting to know for a whole slew of other reasons. I also like a protag that doesn’t glorify killing as the means to solve her problems. It makes for a nice change of pace.
The setting bears a lot of nuances of some of humanity’s former repressive societies, particularly the slaving kind. The pro-implant Coalition types both disdain the value of life and of personal freedoms and should make for a bigoted authoritarian and Imperialistic adversary that’s anathema to most readers.
Krista’s character gallery is thankfully less straight/white/male and/or politely devout, than can still be said for most sci-fi stories out there and she doesn’t make a big deal of it either. Things are what they are and that’s normal. I’d forgotten how pleasant it is to read a book that’s written for me. So if you feel that way too you need to put this book on your to-read list.
The protagonist is bi! Hurrah! Hey, you want a protag that’s for you, I want a protag that’s for me. I got mine this time!
While the relationship between her and her former girlfriend is as sharp-edged and painful a description as you could want, the budding interest between her and the handsome, broad-chested, dark-haired freedom fighter is a bit humdrum. His repeated offer to protect her is, while in keeping with the story and Rebecca’s personality is still a bit wince-worthy. But it was the only wince so that’s a plus.
TLDR: Traitor is a solid adventure-romp in space, a riveting thrill-ride with explosions, secret agents and a jailbreak! 4 space pew-pews out of 5.
Click below to buy it from Amazon!
You can visit Krista D. Ball here
Full disclosure: This book was donated for the purposes of this review.
A special thank you goes out to my friend Mazie for input on the phrasing!