Double Life by S. Usher Evans
Series: Razia #1
About Double Life (via Goodreads):
Piracy is a game. How much are you worth?
Since she was a little girl, everyone - from her father to the Great Creator himself - told Lyssa Peate the same thing: she's worthless. But when she becomes the pirate bounty hunter Razia, she can see the price tag on her own head. Employed by one of the four pirate syndicates, she uses bank transactions and her considerable wits to capture rival members. At least, she would be if Razia's boss ever gave her a chance. It's a man’s world, and all she’s allowed to hunt are purse snatchers while she languishes on probation.
To pay the bills, she's stuck in her old life as Lyssa, discovering and analyzing distant planets and selling them for cash. She's doing just enough to stay out of trouble, pretending to be continuing her father's mysterious research while away for long periods of time. Her slimy boss is always asking questions and even assigns one of her younger brothers, Vel, to intern with her. Already struggling to keep the balance between her double lives, she tries everything to rid herself of the kid...
...until the universal police mistake Lyssa’s intern for Razia's hostage.
Lyssa Peate is living a double life. She juggles between selling planets as a Deep Space Explorer (DSE) and trying to hunt down intergalactic space pirates as Razia the Bounty Hunter, all while going through an identity crisis and dealing with her family that disowned her, her annoying younger brother who won't leave her alone, and Sage Teon, a guy from her past who just happens to show up whenever she's in trouble—whether she wants him to or not.
I immensely enjoyed Double Life. I've always been wary about sci-fi, but this one was a super fun and fast-paced space opera. For the most part, the characters were intriguing and lovable (I mean if I’m being honest, some were complete b*tches/a**holes). Even Lyssa had her faults. Although Lyssa could be annoying at times, she went through a transformation throughout the book, and it was incredible seeing her start to accept all aspects of herself and her past.
Speaking of Lyssa's past, it was really heartbreaking to read about. She felt so alone and powerless, and her family did nothing to help her—in fact they were the ones who catalyzed her uncertainty and hatred for herself. She is such a strong character, and even though she often overestimates her abilities, in many ways she also underestimates herself. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but in the sense of her double life, she overestimated her abilities as Razia and underestimated the power of Dr. Lyssa Peate. Although Razia often stuck her nose in situations she couldn't handle, this flaw added to the high-stakes storyline.
The plot was action-packed and so exhilarating. It was fascinating reading about Razia's mad talent for piecing together data and hunting pirates. Sometimes the data tracking scenes were a little confusing with all the graphics, but all in all the scenes were still fun to read.
The story was super creative. I never really thought space books could be so broad and unique, but I guess the possibilities are endless in space since so much is still left unexplored. The concept of Leveman's Vortex was INSANELY cool, like I still can't even contemplate how epic that part of the story was. Leveman's was a huge part of Lyssa's childhood and her father's career, but it was so interesting how their religion was centered around it as well. So often it seems to be science vs. religion, and even in this book it was like that, but it also kind of proved that it does not have to be one or the other.
Overall, Double Life was an extremely enjoyable read. It had a fantastic plot and unique concepts, as well as characters I absolutely loved. I am looking really forward to continuing the series and seeing Razia's story play out.