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Salvation Gambit (2023, Random House Worlds) 3 stars

Salvation Gambit

4 stars

A dysfunctional team of four conwomen (the boss, the hacker, the distraction, and the driver) get caught and imprisoned in Justice, an ancient spaceship whose AI goes around collecting tithes of prisoners to run it; despite their fraying relationships, the four of them have to find their footing in the cultures and towns that are flourishing on the ship, escape the eyes and hands of the AI, and run one more con to escape the ship together.

Genre-wise, there's a lot of "low tech" here, such that it almost felt like a fantasy book of towns, swords, and politics but on a space-ship. It reminded me a good bit of Elizabeth Bear's Jacob's Ladder books.

The character dynamics really drove the book. Murdock (the hacker) is the first person perspective here; her main goal is to prove herself to Hark (the boss), and she has an icy relationship with Fitz (the distraction) because of Fitz's attention from Hark. From the get go, the Justice AI creepily sticks its nose into these relationships and tries to win Murdock over to its side. The book revolves around all of these shifting relationships.

Overall, this was a fun romp if you want some conwomen spaceship escape adventures.