Content notes for Laura Lam and Elizabeth May’s Seven Devils: violence, racism, homomisia, transmisia, abuse, sexual violence (off page)
- There is a variety of on page violence, including bodily violence such as dismemberment, as well as allusions to sexual violence and abuse but no on page depiction of it
- The the Evoli, a human civilisation with empathic powers (still love how they share a name with my favourite Pokémon) is subject of xenophobia and racism
- There are instances of mental abuse, abusive parents & relationships and physical abuse (see first point)
- The Empire where this story takes place is a deeply mysogonistic and queermisic place
For more details see the content note section on Laura Lam’s webiste.
Representation: Lots of queer characters (bi, trans, ace rep on page and a f/f relationship), autistic rep, amputee rep
Ah, space princesses! And space queers fighting the patriarchy! Two sic-fi themes I just cannot resist. Not that I really want to, because the last novels with space princesses I‘ve read all were queer sci-fi glory! And Elizabeth May and Laura Lam‘s Seven Devils is no exception – it‘s basically „be gay, do crime“ set in space, with lots of action, quite a bit of violence and an adorable ragtag rebel crew.
As the title Seven Devils suggests, the novel has seven main characters – the aforementioned ragtag rebel crew. And I liked all of them, mostly because they are all so clearly distinct from each other and because the dynamics between them are great. They are introduced gradually and most of them have their own POV, some even have two, one set in the present, one in the past. This adds a lot of layers to the narration and while I often struggle with stories that are told from multiple perspectives, here it works out quite well, especially because the characters and their POVs aren’t presented all at once but added one after another.
The first character introduced is Eris, formerly known as Discordia, princess of the evil space empire. There are chapters from her point of view, both in the present, as Eris, and the past, as Discordia, which offer the reader an interesting look at the inner workings of the empire the rebels are fighting. The second character to be introduced is Clo and I just loved the constant snarky dialogues between her and Eris – they are basically enemies to friends to enemies to maybe more? And then bit by bit the other characters are introduced and the dynamics between them shift and develop and there is a lot of tension and conflict because of their vastly different backgrounds but also a feeling of unity in their goal to bring down the empire and some amazing potential for found family.
So, basically, this has a space princess turned rebel fighter as well, a bunch of other (mostly female) people all with their unique voices, stories and skill sets and they are trying to take down the self-proclaimed king of an empire that uses an AI to control its people. Each and every one of the Seven Devils is somehow – however involuntarily – deeply linked to the very empire they are trying to bring down and the way they work through the trauma the empire inflicted on them and find a way to use their experiences and the things they learned to fight against their oppressor was fascinating to read.
Also, huge plus points for this novel because I am a mythology nerd and basically everything in Seven Devils is somehow connected to Greco-Roman mythology. Eris and Discordia? The Greek and Roman version of the goddess of strife. Most other characters‘ names? Also taken from mythology or, in Cloelia’s case, Roman history. Their communication devices? Called Pathos after the Greek word for emotion and experience but also suffering. Even the empire of Tholos – apparently tholos is an architectural term associated, among other things, with the seat of government. But the best thing about this whole mythology angle? The authors still managed to make this more than just some whitewashed SciFi version of the Roman Empire.
In conclusion: I adored Laura Lam and Elizabeth May’s Seven Devils. I loved the characters and their relationships, I really enjoyed the world building and the story was captivating. Feminist space opera for the win! And I am already looking forward to the second part of this duology, Seven Mercies, although that unfortunately won’t be released for another year – on 18 January 2022.
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