T.E Bakutis delivers a violently graphic, snarky, and gloriously imaginative tale. Like throwing Locke Lamora into Cyberpunk 2077, Supremacy’s Shadow is grim snark mayhem.
Hayden Cross has mourned his wife’s tragic death for the last thirteen years. His misuse of pills finally resulted in him losing his job as a military investigator. That is when a former ally resurfaces, promising to deliver a message from his late wife for a price. His marriage was the happiest he’d ever been, but if this message is real, something within the life they had built was a lie. To hear his wife’s voice again, all he must do is confront the most sadistic crime boss on the planet, Ceto. He may also have to save this planet from tyranny. Regrettably, the fate of humankind might just rest on Hayden’s shoulders.
The Supremacy consists of an advanced stage of genetically modified humans reigning over the planets, Ceto and Phorcys. Through genetic manipulation and drugs, these humans have become far superior in intellect and strength. Their rule dictates all natural-born grovel in subservience. Unwilling to submit to the Supremacy’s oppressive rule, a ruthless group called the Patriots rebel. Hayden’s new mission wedges him right into the mix of this interplanetary war. While Supremacy’s Shadow is sarcastic and fun, this novel does grimly examine the next stage of human evolution. What will happen when science allows a select group to become genetically superior? What happens to those left behind in this advanced society?
Supremacy’s Shadow’s worldbuilding is pure delight. While Science Fiction can have a steep learning curve, T.E Bakutis slips lore and information with ease. I had the best time exploring these planets and learning their technology. I didn’t notice any info dumps and yet, this universe felt extensive. While Supremacy’s Shadow encompasses two planets, its criminal underworld was given spectacular depth. I loved the crime lords and their gangs, their double crosses and schemes, their signature torture methods.
Supremacy’s Shadow is pleasantly absurd with its satirical main character. Hayden Cross is presented as this snarky badass, but in no way does he thrive in this book. His mistakes have cost him everything before and continue to haunt him. I appreciated the fact Hayden’s mental illness maintains a constant presence throughout. As he searches for the answers behind his wife’s death, he struggles with composure and literally keeping himself together. My one critique for Supremacy’s Shadow might be he is knocked out a bit repetitively, though I also struggle to fault this. What Hayden manages to endure is astonishing. I never knew how and if he would survive.