Science fiction and fantasy
by Marianne de Pierres
Parrish has a very good reason to abstain from violence at the moment, although to say too much about it risks spoiling the plot of Nylon Angel. Nevertheless she has a way of attracting conflict, so there's no real danger of her settling down to lead a quiet life.
Code Noir is a dark book, uglier and more extreme than Nylon Angel, if such a thing is possible. We meet children who have been turned into monsters, and encounter biological and cybernetic experiments that make Josef Mengele look like a dentist. There are people who have so little they are forced to use their own body parts as currency: hair, skin, organs. The sale of organs isn't science fiction, it takes place in deprived countries in the present day. Marianne de Pierres simply takes the worst of mankind's abuses of the poor and of the environment and magnifies them into hell. Pollution, mutations, overcrowding, bioweapons, and the division of rich from poor all combine in the harsh world of the Tert. Yet nature is fighting back, in some places taking over, and whilst no plants can grow on the poisoned soil it's become more carnivorous as well.
Not only are the rich and poor divided, but also the human from the semi-human and the animal. There is a genetic hierarchy, championed by the handsome Loyl me Daac. Parrish has a love-hate relationship with him and doesn't trust him as far as she could throw him (although that would probably be quite a distance). Loyl is one of the weaknesses in her armour, and in Code Noir Parrish is under attack from both inside and out.
As usual the world of Parrish Plessis is complex, frenzied, bloody and improbably dangerous. She walks on a knife edge between life and death, but amidst the high-stakes intrigue and adrenaline hits there is a more subtle message: look at what we're doing to each other, and to the world.
If you like this, try:Equations of Life by Simon Morden
The London Metrozone is being torn apart by warring gangs and the New Machine Jihad. Can a young man with a bad heart save the city?
Pretty Little Things To Fill Up The Void by Simon Logan
In a nightmarish urban dystopia five very different people search for what matters most to each of them.
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
Cyberpunk body-swapping action.
Review © Ros Jackson
More about Marianne de Pierres