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January 5, 2021

Fans of the Mandalorian & Cowboy Bebop will love PERSEPHONE STATION by Stina Leicht

by MK French


Persephone Station hovers over a backwater planet that's largely forgotten, but the Serrano-Orlov Corporation knows secrets exist there that they want to exploit. Rosie owns Monk's Bar, a place where mercenaries can go for a drink or to be hired. They hire Angel, a former marine and the head of a wayward group that tends to do the right thing. This job pits them all against the corporation, but it's a fight Angel's willing to have.

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Persephone Station
January 2021; Gallery/Saga Press; 978-1534414587
audio, ebook, print (512 pages); space opera
Persephone Station
 is billed as a space opera for fans of The Mandalorian and Cowboy Bebop, both series I love. Of course, I would want to read this, and it definitely doesn't disappoint. Technology not only augments a person's physiology but can (to a point) resurrect someone dead for another tour of duty. Frequent resurrections will create problems, mostly neurological, it's not a viable solution for the average person. Spaceships have their own artificial intelligence, but there are no AI's that are considered actual conscious entities. Kennedy Liu is one and will have to hide her identity as she tries to investigate an emerging consciousness asking for help. This brings her to Persphone, right when the gang wars are coming to a head, and Rosie's neutral space is rapidly no longer neutral. They have a history with the new head of the corporation, as well as with the indigenous population on the planet that had been hidden from sight.

We start with an assassination op that is tricky to do from the start, giving us a chance to meet Angel and the rest of her team, as well as the rivalries on Persephone and the technology available. It's woven in so deftly, you don't even notice that you're being immersed in this world. It isn't obvious at first how Kennedy's story ties to that of Angel and Rosie; their tie is clear, as Rosie hires Angel to take out a gang leader leaving bodies in their bar's territory, which is terribly bad for business. That op might have gone well, but a simultaneous op went on at the same time. In time, it becomes clear that there were three different factions at play in that moment, leaving the planet up for grabs by a ruthless woman that wants the tech the indigenous population has.

These are mercenaries with a heart of gold, going from killing for money to protecting the indigenous from the corporation that would cheerfully plunder their tech, raze their homes to the ground (and had in the past), and continue to turn out a hefty profit exploiting their knowledge. There is a selfish purpose, too, and the last ties come together at the very end. It's rough and tumble at the edge of the galaxy, which makes for fascinating and wonderful storytelling. There are different genders and sexualities treated as normal, different cultures and ethnicities, and different ethical compasses being used. Angel is essentially the leader of a girl gang, and never once does it feel forced. I don't know if this is planned to be a series, but I hope so! So many of the supporting characters had a presence and history all their own, and I would love to see future adventures starring them.

Buy Persephone Station at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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