REVIEW: Behind Blue Eyes: Last Stand by Anna Mocikat

Behind Blue Eyes is a fantastic cyberpunk series that remains one of the best indie experiences I’ve had the pleasure of finding. Kindle Unlimited is a feast or a famine with nine terrible books for every great one, so it’s always good to find some that are worth the effort. This is the fourth book in the series and continues directly from the cliffhanger of the previous book, so if you’re planning on starting the series, it’s best to avoid the rest of this review. For those who read the previous volume, this is a real escalation in the series’ stakes as well as a change in a lot of characters’ behavior.

Behind Blue Eyes: Last StandLast Stand is a dark and edgy sci-fi thriller that isn’t afraid to deal with dark and difficult subjects. It reminds me of the original Altered Carbon that didn’t shy from social satire even as sex and violence were on full display. Anna, as a female writer, knows how to present numerous subjects in a way that focus on their victim as opposed to glorification of the abuser. Still, let the reader beware that it’s a series that definitely earns its hard R status.

The series’ premise is that far in the future, humanity has fallen under the sway of three separate corporate overlords. Two of them, Rosprom and Olympias, are on the verge of war with both of them waging a behind-the-scenes espionage campaign in order to prepare for their inevitable conflict. The primary protagonist, Nephilim, is a cyborg soldier for Olympias’ death squad known as the Guardian Angels.

In previous volumes, Nephilim broke free from her brainwashing and sought freedom but ended up falling back into the sadistic clutches of obsessive psychopath Metatron. Metatron has been mentally preparing Nephilim to be his consort since she was thirteeen. Something detailed in the spin-off  Nephilim series. He fancies himself a romantic hero but deleted Nephilim’s memories of her rebellion in order to better control her.

War Games ended with Nephilim critically injured trying to deal with serial killer Cillian Stavos. Stavos is a board member of the Olympias Corporation and has voluntarily sold out his country-corporation in exchange for what he believes will be a position of increased power in the new regime. Unfortunately, for him, his latest victim not only exposed his machinations but personally infuriated powerful entities on both side: Jake and Metatron.

Metatron has deluded himself that Nephilim would love him even without his brainwashing and Jake is a Rosprom spy who is happy to let Stavros horribly mutilate Guardian Angels until it’s the one he’s sweet on. Nephilim, herself, is hospitalized but struggles to be ready when the Rosprom forces invade. All three characters undergo significant arcs with Metatron deciding he’s willing to die for the woman he’s wronged the most, Jake succumbing to insane jealousy as well as self-delusion, and Nephilim fully embracing the ideology of Olympias that she previously discarded. It’s a major set of twists that turn hero to villain and villain to hero (or do they?).

We also get some good development on the side characters front as well. Finwick, Nephilim’s computer hacker sidekick, has managed to change his face as well as adopt a little girl in recent times. It was his information that allowed Stavros to kill so many Guardian Angels but he has no idea that’s what use it was put to. He’s matured considerably from the creepy geek he was at the start and is a much more likable character. We have the police detectives investigating the murders that are now troubled by crippling debt due to the injuries sustained by one of them during the battle. No police health insurance plans in our dystopian future.

In conclusion, Last Stand is a great installment and I can’t wait for the next one. These serialized adventures are fun, dark, disturbing, and sexy in equal parts. Cyberpunk is best when it’s genuinely edgy versus sanitized and for everyone. This is no exception.

Read Behind Blue Eyes: Last Stand by Anna Mocikat

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CT Phipps

CT Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He's the author of Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, Straight Outta Fangton, and The Supervillainy Saga. He is also a frequent contributor to Grimdark Magazine.