Rubicon Reader Review » Repost from @erynlasbelin
Huge thanks to @erynlasbelin for this wonderful early review of Rubicon! 🙌
On a pathfinding mission with the 803rd, Specialist Adriene Valero dies. Again.
She rezones into her new husk—a synthetically-grown copy of her original body—for the 96th time, feeling even further separated from her own humanity. But not from her addictions, or from the physical and mental trauma she's endured. To Adriene, rezoning isn't a blessing, but a curse—something she will do anything to never experience again.
Without explanation, she finds herself suddenly reassigned to forward reconnaissance in a special forces unit. Her new squad is shocked by her number of rezones; in the 505th,"zeroing out" is rare. It's in this comparatively safe environment that Adriene is finally able to adjust to her new body & begin to form genuine connections with the people around her.
At the same time, she's chosen for a secret, specialist assignment under the command of a mysterious Major who worries that humanity is about to meet its sudden end. This role warrants an upgrade for her Rubicon, the 505th's standard virtual intelligence implant...an upgrade that allows her Rubicon to become a fully sentient being inside her brain. Together, they're tasked with increasingly dangerous missions that expose the commander's ruthless dedication to his cause.
Like Dewes's earlier novels, Rubicon is fantastically character-focused military sci-fi. Adriene is flawed but brave, anxious but giving her all. It's so rewarding to witness her developing relationships with her squad members, with the awkward but friendly chief systems engineer, with her Rubicon, & with herself. Readers who, like me, loved Rake & Cav (and all the supporting characters) will also love Adriene, Daroga, et al.
But for that very reason, this book left me feeling haunted. The raw trauma the characters endure is brightened by moments of healing, of friendship, & of empathy; brightened, but not overshadowed. This book is as much about grief as it is about loyalty. There is pain, disillusionment & bitter regret. And the ending will stick with you.
(Seriously, it's been 6 weeks since I finished reading & I'm still reeling.)