Monday, January 19, 2015

A Review of Koko Takes A Holiday!

There aren't many books these days that suck me in and demand to be read, but I can safely count Kieran Shea's Koko Takes a Holiday in that number.
A fast-paced, blunt instrument of a read, KTH is set on a futuristic Earth.  The protagonist (I hesitate to use the word hero) is Koko Martstellar.  She's a retired mercenary managing a bar/whorehouse in a pleasure resort known as the Sixty Islands.  Her life seems to be chugging along just fine until a security team shows up and tries to kill her.  Forced to run, Koko flees to the Second Free Zone, a sort of orbital free-trade zone, where she has to figure out who wants her dead and why, all the while dodging a trio of assassins.  However, all is not lost, as Koko encounters an unlikely ally in the form of Jedidiah Flynn, a lawman afflicted with a depressive disorder who's ready to join a suicide ritual before he meets Koko.
The book moves along at a brisk pace, the chapters are wittily titled and the glimpse we get of 26th century Earth culture is tantalizing.
If there's a flaw with the book it's that the title character, Koko, isn't particularly sympathetic.  She starts out as a blank slate but as the book progresses and more of her background is revealed, you don't exactly feel any sympathy for her or her situation.
The villain in the book, Portial Delacompte, isn't much different.
The only person I found likable was Jedidah Flynn and he's there specifically to act as moral foil and potential love interest.
The big reveal as to why all this is happening does change things a bit, polarizing Portia and Koko, but it still fails to make either of them likable.
Another reviewer described the book as 'a cyberpunk headkick' but there isn't much of a cyberpunk feel to the story.  I would classify it more as a post-dystopian adventure yarn.
If it sounds like I didn't enjoy the book, that's not true.  It was a fun read, entertaining as hell and it did draw me in and demand to be finished.  I just wish the main character had been presented as more than a stereotypical bad ass for most of the story.
On a scale of 1 to 5, I'd give Koko Takes a Holiday a solid 3.  It's good, escapist fun and, even though I've no desire to reread it at present, I probably will pick up the sequel being released later this year, Koko Takes a Walk.

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