She Wolf and Cub by Lilith Saintcrow
Published by Fireside Fiction Company on March 28, 2017
Genres: Sci Fi Western, Science Fiction
Buy at Amazon •
Ever since they gave her a new cyborg body and a steady stream of murderous work, she’s known the rules. Keep your head down, do your job, don’t get involved.
Then they sent her to assassinate a child.
Instead, she took him out of the City and into the Waste. Of course they’ll be coming for her, and for the strange, quiet, thirsty boy she’s rescued. Because he’s not just a child — he’s a profitable experiment. Bounty hunters. Fellow cyborgs. Cannibals. Monsters. They're all after him. All she has on her side is an almost-invulnerable body, a lifetime’s worth of stubbornness, and the willingness to kill whoever she has to.
It’s going to have to be enough.
Even though I have now finished She Wolf and Cub, I’m still not sure how I feel about it. It felt like a lot of the book was set in an already established universe. As a reader, I was not given a map to this universe and thus I felt lost quite frequently. There was a lot of made up tech-speak – which was frustrating and often dropped me out of the text, making my read longer and prompting me to put the text down often.
The skimmers veered again, just at the edge of my range. The commchatter was alive with excitement, rough words and male bonding. When they get together together in packs, they urge each other on. If you want someone who hunts alone, make sure they have ovaries.
-Chapter: Night Moves
She Wolf and Cub was originally a serial and I can see a lot of that serial still – the lack of information and world building that lends itself much more successfully to the serial format. The loose ends that were most tantalizing are the ones that [more than] suggest that the reason Abby was willing to fall furiously in love with Geoff is related to a tragedy in her past. That tragedy then drove her to become an agent – as a sort of self punishment. Agents are turned into almost immortal cyborgs but are owned completely by the Agency. They are powerful but they are slaves to the Agency who trains them to assassinate. If the Agents don’t toe the company line, they are “Dismissed” which means their body is turned off and they die.
What I loved about She Wolf and Cub was the sheer emotion. The strength of the love of a mother for her child. Abby/Jess loves Geoff – Abby loves Geoff with her whole heart and would do anything – kill anything – to save him. She is his mother, and she is coming. She IS a wolf and Geoff is her cub. Don’t mess with a wolf’s cub – it’s not at all healthy.
My kid. They have my kid.
Past rage. Past fear. The place where you make a simple decision. Where complexity has been stripped away, and all that remains is your fist, drifting forward, getting closer, and—
-Chapter: Black Hat Collective
Geoff is…strange. Different. He knows things – things like when it’s going to rain and how to speak to sand worms. Geoff was created and raised in a lab. He was not abused but he was a commodity and thus unloved. Abby changes that. She rescues him and loves him. She fights for his life and kisses him goodnight. Geoff – who had been unloved suddenly has a mommy.
“I knew you’d come. I knew you’d come. I knew it.”
I decided not to tell him how close it had been. Ever. Before we got out of here, I needed to pull that rack of tubes down on [redacted].
It pays to be sure.
“I will always…” I had to cough. My nanos moved sluggishly. I needed fuel. “I will always come for you.”
-Chapter: Who Owns You Now?
I’m not sure how I feel about Sam and his feelings for Abby. He seems to be crushing a bit on her – but all of Abby’s feelings are wrapped up in Geoff. Sam, Abby/Jess’s handler, is working for a shadowy rebel-type boss. Sam also works for the Agency and supposedly has told them that she has died (so they won’t find and dismiss her). While Sam’s place in Abby’s life is ambiguous even at the end, both Geoff and Abby would be dead without his [frequent] assistance.
One of the biggest loose ends – or maybe opportunity and space for a sequel – is that Sam will reappear in Abby and Geoff’s life at some time in the future. She Wolf and Cub ends with a “safe for now” that definitely can lend itself to a sequel. Of course, I expect any sequel to include a much more powerful Geoff who will be just as ferocious in defending his mommy as she is in defending him.