The Kendish Hit

A few years back, in the original series Jeff Somers introduced readers to Avery Cates, a not very likeable gunner you can't help but root for. Constantly down on his luck and not always the sharpest tool in the shed, Cates' first person narrative has always been a highlight since the very beginning. The last volume, The Final Evolution, appeared to bring the overall story arc to an end and no further misadventures seemed to be forthcoming for everyone's favorite gunner.

About two years ago, the author started releasing short stories and novella-length installments chronicling the events which acted as sequels to the original series. Now that they have all been published, Somers has grouped them all into a single novel. If all goes as planned, this omnibus will act as the first volume in what Somers plans to be a new trilogy.

Which brings us to this latest Avery Cates offering. The Kendish Hit is a prequel featuring a much younger Cates, one that has yet to acquire the "wisdom" which allowed him to survive in such a harsh environment for so many years. How could I not want to read this novella?

Here's the blurb:

In this prequel to "The Electric Church," a young Avery Cates takes on his first job, meets someone who will be an old friend someday, and learns some hard lessons in the newly-formed System of Federated Nations.

Contains the previously-released Avery Cates stories "This Was Battle. This Was Joy," "The Golden Badge," "The Oldest Bastard on the Block," "This Was Education," "all orphans, at least," and "The Sewer Rat."

The post-apocalyptic worldbuilding was the aspect that gave the original series and the short fiction sequels their distinctive flavor. However, things are not as bad in The Kendish Hit. Indeed, Unification took place a few years before. And while everything is going down the crapper fast, it's not as bad as it will be a couple of years down the line. Cates even shares a number of pre-Unification memories, about his family, upbringing, and the world in general.

Everything Cates touches has a tendency to turn to shit and the gunner always finds ways to find himself up to his neck into trouble. And that's the "wise" Avery Cates. Now, imagine the skinny teenager/young adult Cates who needs to make a name for himself and earn some money. I relished the opportunity to go back in time and get an inkling of just how Avery Cates became who he is and I would love to read more of these prequels, if any are in the works.

Adult Avery Cates' first person narrative is always filled with wise cracks and dark humor and it never fails to make for a fun reading experience. Avery Cates is a despicable, manipulative, immoral, lousy, and sick fuck. Yet for all his faults and shortcomings, it's well nigh impossible not to root for the poor fool. The Kendish Hit allows readers to discover a bit more about how he came to be that way. Young or old, he's in over his head yet again, with his life hanging in the balance. But that's business as usual for Cates. The story of his life, actually.

Homeless, friendless, starving, Avery Cates is a skinny kid looking for some respect and a way to earn a living. So when he takes it upon himself to murder a man who was meant to be someone else's mark, you know that the proverbial shit will hit the fan. The Kendish Hit is the perfect companion book for fans of the series and what came after.

Even better, the ebook comes filled with bonus material. "This Was Battle. This Was Joy." and "The Golden Badge" are excerpts from a never-completed novel taking place in the Cates universe and told from the perspective of the System Police. "The Oldest Bastard on the Block" was a chapter originally meant to be part of The Digital Plague. "This Was Education" is another chapter meant for the same book, this one featuring Glee. "all orphans, at least" is a deleted chapter from The Terminal State. And finally, "The Sewer Rat" occurs following the events featured in The Shattered Gears omnibus edition. Each offers some insight on the world and its characters, and they were all interesting reads.

The final verdict: 7.5/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

0 commentaires: