I had been waiting for the release of the mass market editions for a bajillion years (more like seven months, but you guys know what I mean) and I finally got it. Then I sat down and read it… I’m so fricking pleased to say that it did not disappoint me at all! With reading slumps smacking me in the face from every direction that you can think of, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to get into this title. Yet, not only did I get into it (way too into it, hahaha), by golly I believe this novel has helped propel me out of the depths of slump-sea and into the rainy skies of reading haven. It had everything that I was craving (that I didn’t realize I was craving) and just enough to satisfy them all without it being overwhelming or draining. I’m super excited to talk about Koko the Mighty with all of you today!
Koko the Mighty is the sequel to Koko Takes a Holiday, both written by Kieran Shea. Within the pages of the second instalment lies the tale of a bounty hunter named Wire who absolutely refuses to give up on the bounty that’s been placed on ex-corporate-mercenary, Koko Martsteller’s head. Yet Koko refuses to lie down, spread-eagled awaiting a dog’s death. This triggers an adventure that leads to an unlikely place where the climax of their duel reaches a climax.
“Koko’s stomach convulses and one of the stressed metal sutures in her shoulder rips. She dry retches again and a second suture tears, then another and another. Like quills swept by the blackest of winds, the pressure pins across her body chatter together.”
One of the elements of the first instalment that had me swooning upon my first read-through of it was the writing. Kieran Shea is a wizard with words, creating brilliantly detailed atmospheres and engaging every single one of the six senses with imagery that’s dark, visceral, and vibrant. If you’re wondering where the hell I got six from, as there’s only five senses in the human body, then please know I’m referring to the brain. Yes, the brain. Le brain is one of the senses for me, especially when I’m reading science-fiction (even more so when it comes to cyberpunk, hard sci-fi). Speculative literature that’s laced in techno-talk and imaginative world-building is deliciously invigorating for my brain. Intellectually stimulating books like the Koko books are drugs that I gleefully feast upon any chance that I get.
Suffice to say, I bloody loved the writing for the second instalment of the EBK series. It’s absolutely refreshing and coloured with inventive vulgarities, unique futuristic environments, and well-crafted gadgets, gizmos, and pharmaceuticals. The last time that I felt such sorrow at reaching a book’s end was when I finished Koko Takes a Holiday back in January. If the only thing that you need for a good-time in BiblioLand is damn good authory-talents, then go pick these two up and have yourself a badassry of a good time. However, if you need something a little more, then let me see if I can help.
Readers of Koko #1 will remember jam-packed, blazing action. One scene of ass-kicking ends only to have another one bitch-slap you in the face a theatric or two later. While the action continues in Koko the Mighty there’s not nearly as much. It’s far more spaced out to allow for plot focus and foundation laying. This break from the fighting also leaves more space for the readers to acquaint themselves with the characters. We get to learn more about the bounty hunter, Jackie Wire, as well as gain some insight on Koko’s history and her emotional state of mind when it comes to Flynn.
I have great appreciation for this for two distinct reasons. The first is that by learning more about Koko, Flynn, and even Wire I can connect with them a whole lot better on an emotional and psychological level. I can sympathize and empathize with them when I need to, which allows me to have a much better understanding of the story and a much better feel for why they do the sometimes-stupid shit that they do. It also makes me want to invest my time and feels into these people; it makes me want it more. I like wanting more of an already fantastic thing. The second reason I appreciate the character focus is that it shows me that the series isn’t just about kicking ass; it’s not some narrative-lacking-adrenaline-porn. Slowing things down to tell a tale provides the series with more meat and uniformity for future instalments, not to mention that it just makes it smoother for story wrap-ups (in the sad case that there aren’t any more additions).
Another couple of incredible facets that had me drooling into the pages, something I’ve already mentioned above, are the sciencey techs and the environments. I fricking adore the cool contraptions in this novel. Stuff happens and Wire finds herself in desperate need of a new aircraft. The one she ends up with is just too bloody amazing. I wish it existed so that I would have incentive to play the lottery so I could afford one. A large part of the novel focuses on pharmacokinetics and illegal testing. While the science aspects are less cyberpunk and more biopunk, it’s still very fascinating and utterly beguiling.
The conclusion for my ginormous review is simple: Koko the Mighty is an exceptional sequel to a marvellous predecessor. The black humour is blacker and better than before. The characters are more stubborn and determined to survive than ever. The writing more supreme with each new addition. I highly recommend this… highly, highly, highly… with four and a half fuck yous outta five.