My plan is to find at least 5 stories worth recommending each month, however many I have to read to get to that point! That’s doable, right? As long as we don’t mention January.
“The Heart is Eaten Last” by Kameron Hurley is a Nyx novella, set in the same world as Hurley’s Bel Dame Apocrypha series. It was released this month as a backer reward for Hurley’s Patreon campaign, and I seriously just read it in one afternoon. It was that good. (If you’re not a Patreon backer I don’t know how you can get hold of this but I’m sure someone will publish it, watch this space)
I’m in love with novellas as a format right now, and “The Heart is Eaten Last” is everything I want from a good one – a solid, character-rich story. I hadn’t thought before how much Nyx, in her war-torn city of assassins, magic and beetle technology, is a noir hero before this story, but she totally is – she’s a foul-mouthed Phillip Marlowe hunting the Maltese Falcon, only… she’s not. She’s Nyx, harsh and ruthless and completely fucked up but somehow managing to hold a team together long enough to solve the mystery and save her reputation while hanging on by her fingernails. Meet her terrible judgy sister! Wince at her awful life choices and the mean things she says to people! Cheer at her badassery! Everything I liked about the character and the world in God’s War comes across beautifully here – so much crunchy gender commentary in such a tight, fast-paced adventure. I want want want to read more novellas with Nyx and her team, because I think the format is perfect for Hurley’s cynical, violent prose, and I am far more invested in the characters than I really thought possible.