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Review of Ghost Pirate Gambit by Jessie Kwak

Ghost Pirate Gambit is the first book in Jessie Kwak’s Nanshe Chronicles, named after the ship her protagonists travel on. This new series is a prequel of sorts to Kwak’s first Durga System book, Starfall, with a strong focus on the interpersonal relationships of the crew and others onboard the Nanshe, as well as the unusual job they’ve taken on.

Captained by Lasadi, theĀ Nanshe belongs to a notorious criminal family. So when the heir apparent approaches Lasadi with a job, she’s got no real choice other than to accept. She’s also just met Raj, a criminal with secrets of his own, who she winds up bringing onboard with some of his associates. The ship is full of tension as the crew sets out–and the job hasn’t even started yet! The narrative alternates between Lasadi and Raj, letting the reader see both sides of an extremely slow burn “will they or won’t they” subplot.

All in all, it’s a delightful, fast paced read, with plenty of peril and danger lurking in the derelict space station filled with booby traps they’ve been hired to get their client into the heart of. Similar to shows like Firefly andĀ Cowboy Bebop, the crew of the Nanshe finds themselves working jobs for unsavory elements and taking on whatever comes their way, all in the hopes of someday leaving this life behind. Also similar to these shows, the crew has “found family” aspects, but there are also plenty of secrets they’re hiding from one another about their pasts and motivations, threatening to push them apart. And even though it possesses some of these tropes, there’s plenty in Ghost Pirate Gambit that is refreshingly novel!

Ghost Pirate Gambit is available for pre-order, including an audio version, with release scheduled for May 24, 2022!

The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for review consideration.

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