Wiebe is back with another review today. This time it is book two in Kieran Shea’s series featuring his ex-mercenary heroine Koko Martstellar.
After narrowly escaping death, Koko Martstellar [ex-corporate mercenary] and Jedidah Flynn [depressed former skycop] are busy putting their lives back together, running a saloon/brothel on The Sixty Islands-the world’s most violent and decadent resort. But when bounty agent Jacky Wire comes to collect the outstanding price on Koko’s head, it’s time again for Koko and Flynn to make tracks. Fleeing pell-mell across the Pacific and shipwrecking along a thought-to-be uninhabitable coast, things only go from bad to worse for our heroes… But hey, that is the 26th century for you. Buckle up buttercup. Only the mighty survive.
I read Koko the Mighty directly after I read the first book in the series, Koko Takes a Holiday. There was very little backstory leading on from its predecessor in this instalment, which I liked, especially since this book was fresh in my memory. We continue the story exactly where book one left off— with the last bounty hunter standing about to make an entrance. Again we only get glimpses of this utopian resort of violence and sex called The Sixty islands, since Koko has to run again to avoid death. Taking the mortally wounded Jedidah with her in a submarine, they shipwreck after crossing the Pacific. They end up in a region that might have been Koko’s former work environment as a mercenary, if it hadn’t been for the environmental contamination and its lack of economic value. In this abandoned wasteland they find a strange commune.
In terms of action, this book is right on par with book one. We get more fast-paced action featuring our heroine kicking butts and taking names. Wire is an excellent evil villain filled with bloodlust and bent on revenge. The author also sheds light on new parts of his world. The unknown de-civs get book-time and we also get to see how the infamous corporations do business. The world is still half crazy and amoral.
Koko is the character that has the most development. To me that was a good thing, since it completes her character to a greater degree. We also get to see how Wire operates in detail. She has the (a)morals that Koko might have had, had she gone a different path. Wire embodies the world Kieran Shea is writing about—a place where morals get you nothing, but power and survival are prized skills. Wire is at the top of that mercenary pyramid and regrets nothing. Yet we all want her to fail and see Koko defy her breeding and destiny as a mercenary and fight for something more.
The other new characters, Doctor Amoral and his financial backer, are both products of this dystopian future. Unfortunately, Koko needs them to patch up Jedidah and get on her feet again. These guys are neither villains nor helpers, running their own little scheme. They are allies because of need, not friends.
Jedidah is the only character that disappointed me in this book. He already suffered from “damsel in distress” syndrome in book one, now he has almost no agency at all. His sole role in this book seems to be to advance Koko’s character, not to do anything else. His circumstances are not the best to show agency, but he feels a bit like the Jedidah from before he met Koko, a depressed dude who is just a bit boring. This is a shame, since he advanced from that state, yet now he has regressed back.
All in all, Koko the Mighty is still a good read, and if you liked book one, you’ll definitely like Kieran Shea’s latest as well.
This book was provided for review by the publisher.