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What is The Tigress?

Three months have passed since Rosprom unleashed its offensive against Olympias. The Angels won, but at what cost? Many Angels have died, and both Nephilim and Metatron have suffered life-threatening injuries.

But something good has also come out of the Metatron has been appointed to the Board of Olympias, taking him an important step closer to achieving his goals.

However, one crucial piece of the puzzle is still missing, and to retrieve it, Nephilim must travel into the heart of enemy territory—to TogbuaXiang.

In its capital, Bangkok, she meets the Tigress, the legendary leader of the Wasps, TogbuaXiang’s elite cyborg troops. The Tigress offers her an alliance, but for that, Nephilim must do her a favor—a favor that could easily cost Nephilim her life.

Meanwhile, Metatron dives deep into Olympias’ political intrigues. To destroy the elites, he must become one of them. But danger lurks Jake has returned from Rosprom with a vengeance and only one to kill Metatron.

Review

THE TIGRESS by Anna Mocikat is the fifth book of the Behind Blue Eyes series. The series is a successful indie cyberpunk drama that follows the tales of a murderous group of sexy antiheroes, specifically the morally conflicted Nephilim. She is a cyborg assassin working for the Olympias Corporation and presently in a relationship with the leader of the Guardian Angels, a death squad that secures the power of the Olympias Corporation over North and South America.

The previous books established that Metatron, simultaneously villain and love interest of Nephilim, has been plotting to overthrow the Olympias Board of Directors for some time. Having successfully defeated the invasion of Europe’s Rosprom corporation, Olympias has never been more vulnerable while Metatron has never been more powerful. However, to successfully pull off his coup, he needs the other corporation to stand down. The leader of TogbuaXiang, the so-called Tigress, wants to meet with Nephilim and Metatron suspects treachery but it is the only way he can pull off his coup.

As always, I appreciate any cyberpunk that embraces the dark and sexually charged atmosphere of the genre. Also, the moral ambiguity that defines the peculiar of noir and science fiction at its heart. Characters who were heroes in previous books have fallen to absolute vile levels while villains have started to show their more human qualities. This is particularly notable with former “good guy” Jake, who is completely blind to his own culpability in horrific crimes, while Metatron is starting to see past his previous obsessions.

This book deals with the fallout from the previous ones and manages to develop not just Nephilim but other supporting characters like Jake, Siro, Finwick, and Metatron himself. There’s a lot of humanizing moments and character development that replaces action this time around and I think this is a good decision from the author. In an ongoing series like this, it’s good to follow up big action works like The Last Stand with giving the storyline time to breathe.

I’m not a big fan of the Metatron relationship with Nephilim and still consider it to have been done almost entirely under coercion because he wiped her memory of his actions in the first book. However, it’s interesting to see him finally show some moral revulsion to the behavior of the Board and their own dirty little secrets. While I doubt Behind Blue Eyes will introduce the supernatural at this point in the story, the hints at darker occult undertones aren’t entirely out of place in cyberpunk stories. Mike Pondsmith has done plenty of awesome things with the supernatural and AI after all.

I am also really fond of the way that Jake was treated in the book and his almost serial killer like degeneration to misogyny and violence due to the fact he betrayed everything he believed for Nephilim but had already done unforgivable things to her friends. He’s a wild card now and his toxic relationship with the woman sent to spy on him is fascinating to read about. He may just be projecting a lot of his own self-loathing on her as well. I’m eager to see how that works out as the reversal from hero to villain is now complete.

This book also expands on the portrayal of Asia in the Behind Blue Eyes world. Previous books had given us a look as to how Europe and South America were functioning in the setting but now we know how China and Australia have been changed. While Olympias is shown to be a totalitarian Brave New World-esque hellhole of excess and moral bankruptcy, TogbuaXiang is more, “Like today only worse.” I also like the introduction of the Wasps and their contrast to the Guardian Angels.

In conclusion, The Tigress is another great installment of the Behind Blue Eyes franchise. We’ve got a lot of new developments to the characters and the politics is extremely well handled. While I’d still love for Nephilim to break free from Metatron’s control and go rogue, the story remains consistently interesting and well-written. I’ve yet to read a bad book by Anna Mocikat yet, though.

Available here

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