DISCLAIMER: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
PUBLICATION: Angry Robot, June 7th, 2016
Padma Mehta is back and this time she's trying to enjoy her retirement by owning and operating the Old Windswept Distillery. But retirement doesn't last long once she receives a phone call from her plant manager stating everyone has quit. As she heads down to the distillery, she discovers things are worse than she originally presumed. Her nemesis Evanrute Saarien is out of jail and back in town.
Evanrute has began organizing church-like meetings across Santee unifying everyone to stand against their jobs leading to a worldwide strike. Padma is approached by union president Letty and asked to investigate what is happening and to get everyone back to work in exchange for wiping out her debt to the union (see book one). Against her better judgment, she accepts and is instantly thrown into a world of unionizing, strikes, and murder attempts on her life. But the question that keeps bothering her is: what does she have to do with any of this?
Rakunas is back and he's taking us on another adventure starring his lovable, feisty protagonist, Padma. Just like the first novel in this series, Windswept (see my review here), this book is fast-paced, funny, and full of action. Oftentimes when writing a series, the second book has a "sophmore slump", but I didn't notice that here. This book certainly isn't better than Windswept either. My opinion is that they actually seemed very similar to me, and that's a good thing.
It was very nice seeing the old gang again. Padma and Saarien of course. Rakunas does a good, realistic job at making Saarien seem evil, devious, and deceptive, even though he claims to be trying to help out his fellow brother. This is an area where Rakunas shines. His character development is spot on here, going even deeper than before. I won't ruin the ending for you, but it's a doozy. Padma is back and angrier than ever. After all, all she wanted was to sit back and drink some Old Windswept rum.
I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who loved the first one. Both of these novels have very original, politically charged story lines that keep the reader from ever putting the book down. Rakunas does a fantastic job at taking messages regarding labor politics and hides them gently into a well-crafted story causing you to read a more in depth, deeper story than you realize. Bravo on this fine job, Mr. Rakunas.
The only negative I'd say about this book (and it isn't really negative) is that even though you don't have to read the first novel in this series, it certainly helps provide very valuable back story that makes this novel much more enriching. So start with Windswept then move on to this one.
Regarding modern science fiction, there is certainly a new voice that needs to be heard. Once again Rakunas writes a winner. The writing style is very smooth and fluid and reads like it has a little attitude to it. This, of course, matches Padma's personality perfectly. My only hope is that he continues this series because I feel like there's so much left to be tapped into regarding Padma.
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.