Read Windswept by Adam Rakunas Online


Labor organizer Padma Mehta is on the edge of space and the edge of burnout. All she wants is to buy out a little rum distillery and retire, but she's supposed to recruit 500 people to the Union before she can. She's only thirty-three short. So when a small-time con artist tells her about forty people ready to tumble down the space elevator to break free from her old bosseLabor organizer Padma Mehta is on the edge of space and the edge of burnout. All she wants is to buy out a little rum distillery and retire, but she's supposed to recruit 500 people to the Union before she can. She's only thirty-three short. So when a small-time con artist tells her about forty people ready to tumble down the space elevator to break free from her old bosses, she checks it out against her better judgment. It turns out, of course, it was all lies. As Padma should know by now, there are no easy shortcuts on her planet. And suddenly retirement seems farther away than ever: she's just stumbled into a secret corporate mission to stop a plant disease that could wipe out all the industrial sugarcane in Occupied Space. If she ever wants to have another drink of her favorite rum, she's going to have to fight her way through the city's warehouses, sewage plants, and up the elevator itself to stop this new plague. "File Under: "Science Fiction[ Plagues, Plots & Planets - One-Eyed Wonder - Bad Tips, Good Tipples - This Little Bar I Know ]"...

Title : Windswept
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780857664785
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Windswept Reviews

  • Carly
    2019-04-25 07:51

    Subscription Warfare. Soul mining. Atmospheric licensing. Genetic focus grouping. With the Big Three companies practically ruling the universe, the corporate world has become a little more...forceful. Padma Mehta survived B-school, but after a turbulent few years as an indenture for WalWa, she decided to breach her contract and restart her life with the union. Years later, Padma is acting as a Union recruiter on a backwater planet mostly known for producing cane sugar and whiskey. All she wants to do is finish up her recruiting quota and buy the distillery that makes her favourite rum. But when her latest collection of Breachers turns out more complex than expected, Padma quickly finds herself up to her neck in trouble and sinking fast. As she puts it,"We were all in new territory, the kind filled with flesh-eating landmines and laser-guided crocodiles."Needless to say, I loved the worldbuilding of Windswept. While it's better than slaving away as an indenture or being frozen in space as a "fishstick," life in the Union is far from perfect. Padma's recruits are forced to fill unpleasant menial jobs, at least until she can bring in more Breaches to fill their slots--a bit like a pyramid scheme. I often was thoroughly confused by all of the corporate espionage, but business language never failed to entertain me. Padma's B-school classes included subjects such as Hostile Acquisition, Crisis Management (Padma specialized in strategic lying), Business Vocalization (teaches you how to have a forceful, "Obey Me" delivery), Colonial Management, and, of course, Weapons Management. Initially, I had serious difficulties warming to Padma, and her motives, which are purely selfish for the majority of the book, didn't help much. Padma is only interested in bringing in Breaches so that she can get the bounty for them, which will in turn let her buy a distillery and quit her job. She's blinded by self-interest, neglectful of her duties to her Ward, and, in the beginning, rather cowardly. Fortunately, another character is quickly introduced who balances out the spiky negativity of Padma and provides plenty of opportunity for banter. I also had a certain amount of difficulty following the plot, and at least one of the twists didn't really work for me, but the hijinks throughout definitely made up for it.Windswept is often laugh-out-loud funny. Some (okay, a lot, but I couldn't choose) of my favourite quotes: (Note: I've removed names from two of them to prevent spoilers)“It’ s not a crime if you write the laws.”“Or hire the lobbyists.”“Ooh, good reminder. We need to get us some of those. Also, more flamethrowers.”"We are not sitting on garbage,” said Mimi, freezing up as the smell hit her. “This isn’t garbage,” I said. “It’ s pre-compost.”“It smells like garbage.”“But it pays better.”"You should probably come with me. It’ll be safer.”“My professors told me never to go anywhere with strange, armed men.”“Mine were strange, armed men,” he said. “Women, too.”“We have tear gas, too. Plus some grenades that have all sorts of lovely symbols on them.”“Looks like they release fire-breathing ferrets, or something like it. Tough to tell with these LiaoCon jobbies." Seriously, this book is just plain funny. Even so, it manages to present an interesting perspective on politics, consumerism, and unionizations. So if you want to read about Co-Ops, giant crab attacks, sewer chases, and the inadvisability of copying techniques from the movies, Windswept is definitely worth a look.~~I received an advanced reader copy through Netgalley from the publisher, Angry Robot Books, in exchange for my honest review. Quotes were taken from an advanced reader copy and while they may not reflect the final phrasing, I believe they speak to the spirit of the novel as a whole.~~

  • Michael Underwood
    2019-05-15 07:47

    Windswept does what only a few truly great Science Fiction novels dare accomplish - it's simultaneously a captivating adventure with action, suspense, and strong characterization AND a thoughtful work of sociological speculation, investigating labor rights, corporatism, colonialism, and more.

  • The Captain
    2019-05-11 07:57

    This be a lovely sci-fi novel that I read back in 2015 after randomly finding a copy in a local library. It is one of the books that helped bring me attention to the Angry Robot publishing house wherein I joined the Robot Army. Their books tend to be quirky and to my taste. In any case, at the time this book was a stand-alone and it can be read as such. But when I found out there was another book in the series, I was excited to have the chance to re-visit an old port.And Santee is a great place to spend time if ye like sarcastic bad-ass women, crazy times, and, of course, rum. The story involves me favorite wench, Padma, who is a union recruiter who deserted the corporate culture of the Big Three to make a better life for herself on a little “mudball” planet. If she recruits just 33 more people to the union then she can buy her dream business (a rum distillery – Arrrrr!). When word comes of a breach of 40 people that would help her reach her union quota and her dream, she takes a chance. Of course nothing goes to plan and all hell breaks loose . . .The characters are what made the story for me. Padma be me favorite but there are plenty of strong women in this book – from police officers, pub owners, and tuk-tuk drivers. While there is very brief mention of sex in this novel, it does NOT have romance as a major element. There are however strong male and female friendships. I loved Jilly and Banks. I loved to dislike Bloomberg. Several of the bad guys and girls were not as fleshed out but it didn’t really effect me enjoyment. There are screwball characters and fantastic character interactions that I loved re-reading.The world building and politics are not extremely complicated but Santee feels solid and believable. The story was even-paced at the start but ratchets up into a fun mad dash towards the end. Basically this book is just plain fun. A quick read, I am glad I chose to revisit this port and look forward to finding out what the gang has been up to in the next installment.Check out me other reviews at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...

  • Siobhan
    2019-05-19 08:41

    If I’m being completely honest, this one really surprised me.I love science fiction books, yet I find myself thinking they’re often a case of hit or miss. Either every mark is hit or I’m left wanting something more. Of course there are varying degrees of the latter, but I often find myself reading books that fall into that category. More often than I’d like, science fiction books leave me wanting something more. This doesn’t stop me from reading more books in the genre, but it does mean I don’t go out of my way to read as many as I would like. I prefer to know I’m getting something good before picking up a science fiction book that could leave me disappointed. When I saw a Goodreads giveaway for Windswept, I decided to enter. If anything, it sounded like one of those humorous science fiction books that are out on the market. Not one of those ‘oh my gosh I cannot breathe’ funny ones, but one to bring a smile to your face. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have been heartbroken if I hadn’t won the book. I wasn’t crazy obsessed with winning as I am with some other books (you know what I mean, those times where a book by your favourite author is named in a giveaway). Thus, when I woke up to find two emails from Goodreads informing me of winnings, I found my joy being transferred between the two books. I had won Windswept by Adam Rakunas (earning an ‘I can find out if this is worth it’ yay) and Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie (earning a ‘hooray for the short story collection that I am interested in’ yay), with the two combining to make an ‘oh my, I won two books and want to read them both now’ yay. I debated reading Sharp Ends first, but in the end I went for Windswept. I’d just come out of reading the First Law trilogy, and whilst jumping straight into the short stories would have been fine, I felt like a break. I went into Windswept hoping for something much lighter, something other than the kind of high fantasy that leaves you reading at a slower pace than usual, and was not disappointed.It was an easy read, but this is not at all a bad thing. Sometimes science fiction books can really weigh you down as information is thrown at you. My science knowledge is pretty decent (if you’ll accept a moment where I sound big-headed) yet this does not make me an astrophysicist, and it’s always nice when science fiction books are at a level where everyone can understand them. This one reads as though it’s set in the not too distant future: far enough away for the planet we’re on to be unique but similar enough to the modern world to prevent a headache from forming as you try to work your way around it. Whilst this world does have a decent amount for us to learn, it’s done in such a way that you feel as though it’s telling the story in the modern world. It is always great when science fiction books read in such a way. Honestly, there were so many points in favour of the story for that alone.The story itself was great. The synopsis reads as though you’re in for a humorous story, but such isn’t what you’re given. There are a handful of moments to bring a smile to your face, but it’s not the kind to leave you chuckling at every other sentence. It’s a serious read with the occasional smidgen of humour thrown in, despite how the notion of the story could have you believing otherwise.Honestly, I was truly blown away by how good it was.Things were a little slow at first, but once the story got going it was a lot of fun. The characters were brilliant, there was plenty of action, there were many twists, and it makes you think. It truly was a surprising read. I can certainly see myself going on to read the next book.Overall, a great surprise. I’m so glad I won this one.

  • Tal
    2019-04-27 10:54

    Really really intersting settings.Enjoyed the story a lot, but there were also too much Deus Ex Machina solutions I didn't like.+1 Star for the graphic audio production.

  • Koeur
    2019-05-25 03:31 Angry RobotPublishing Date: September 2015ISBN: 9780857664792Genre: SciFiRating: 4.4/5Publisher Description: Labor organizer Padma Mehta is on the edge of space and the edge of burnout. All she wants is to buy out a little rum distillery and retire, but she’s supposed to recruit 500 people to the Union before she can. She’s only thirty-three short. So when a small-time con artist tells her about forty people ready to tumble down the space elevator to break free from her old bosses, she checks it out — against her better judgment. It turns out, of course, it was all lies.Review: The cover is hideous. I am so glad I took a chance on this novel despite the freakishly rendered cover art. The world building was fantastic and characters so well developed as to be defined by their short comings. Padma is gritty, stubborn and a bit slutty. She drives the novel hard, with constant movement through a world built on the byproducts of sugar cane. The societal structures that involve Freeborn and “Breaches” and the clashes that ensue with the corporate structures is entertaining in its complexity. The story line begins to become steeped in mystery, deceit and betrayal while being rendered with humor in all the right places.“So, why you no give 5 stars?”. Padma, while a great character, gets a little tiring with her constant verbal “I am gonna kick your ass so hard you’ll shit bruises for a month..” routine that it became a bit redundant. Some scenes were not detailed enough to create the image in your head, especially the apparatus that elevates goods to be transported off world and the fight scenes that did not make logical/positional sense. Despite my constant shjtpicking, I really am looking forward to this series and I am sure the writing will only get better.

  • Charlie Anders
    2019-05-19 08:35

    A tough union organizer just wants to retire and take over a rum distillery on a planet of sugar-cane farmers -- but first, she has to sign up a few dozen more union members in a corporate-dominated dystopian future. That setup sounds kind of grim, but it actually leads to a fun, zippy adventure with a lot of humor and a refreshingly fast pace. The tone is mostly pretty light and snarky, with occasional moments of darkness and nastiness. The plot is a bit bewildering at times, but the story packs so many fun surprises and cool set pieces you'll just run with it. Padma Mehta is a very engaging protagonist, and all of the discussions about union politics and corporate servitude never stop being utterly fascinating.

  • Stephen Graham
    2019-05-02 06:35

    Good mix of action and world development. Great to see a nuanced view of a union; more nuance on the Big Three might also have been good but I recognize why not. It's clear that the world has major adjustments coming by the end of the book. Definite recommend.

  • Ron
    2019-04-25 07:55

    Flunked the hundred page test. Kind of interesting set-up (see blurb) but I don't connect with the protagonist. Everything has an at-arms-length feel.And this is an award winner?The cover art is an indication of how amateur the whole business is.

  • Patrick S.
    2019-05-16 07:49

    This book didn't have anything to do with Oklahoma. ONE STAR!

  • Karin
    2019-05-10 04:37

    I am a sucker for science fiction that involves dirty jobs and dirty futures. In Windswept, Padma is a Union recruiter who just wants to make her numbers so that she can retire to making artisan rum from heirloom sugarcane. She's within spitting distance of her dream when it all starts falling down around her. Suddenly it isn't just her future that's in question, but that of the entire planet, the Union, everyone she knows, and the rest of humanity's economy.I can't pin down specific things that I liked without getting into spoilers, but in general, I liked how things built up and played out. I liked that much of the book took place in sewers, dive bars, compost trucks, and cane fields. I liked how Padma was part of the problem and realized that, too late to stop things, but not too late for her to build a future.

  • Chris
    2019-05-16 06:34

    *copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review*Windswept is Adam Rakunas’s debut novel. It’s a great mix of high-concept, discussing the roles and realities of labour and struggle in a spacefaring corporate future, and taut thriller – as our protagonist races against time to figure out what’s causing the city around her to fall apart, whilst dodging bullet and trying to find time to stop for a quick drink. It’s a book which has interesting things to say, and manages to express them successfully whilst keeping the reader both entertained and intrigued.The setting is one of the stars of the text. A sprawling industrial city, divided into districts, most in some way dedicated to refining sugarcane or distilling rum. Possibly both. The city exists to move the cane, and an orbital tether is present in the city in order to drive goods into orbit. It has the raw, vital feeling of somewhere on the cusp of development, of becoming something great, or declining into a shadow of itself. Rakunas manages to make his city feel alive – the spattered rum on tabletops, the housing units made of landed cargo containers, the crash of surf against the cans of escaping ‘Breaches’…Breaches, incidentally, is the word used for many of those living on the planet. In a universe which appears to be largely run by corporate fiat, and where many people work at interminable indentures for much, or all, of their lives, these individuals have chosen otherwise, and managed, somehow, to make their way down from orbit, looking for a better life at the bottom of the orbital well. They may find it, or at least something like it, with the Union, fronted by our protagonist – a sprawling labour organisation, which manages the non-corporate industry of the city. Unsurprisingly, however, the Union is a complicated place, filled with old rivalries and internecine internal politics. Rakunas doesn’t elide this, but lets the history between the protagonist and the remainder of the Union simmer in the background, inferred from asides in dialogue, or the very structure of the city.There’s a whole social structure on display here. A sense of Union members and their time ‘in grade’, indicating whether they get the best jobs. There’s the hunched, menacing spectre of the ongoing corporate presence in the city, in the appropriately named Thronehill. Then there’s the ‘Freeborn’, growing cane outside of the city limits, out of reach of the constant presence of the network everyone else is hooked into, independent, and sceptical of both Union and corporate promises. It’s a society in miniature, and the way it’s been structured makes it make sense – and it feels like an organic structure, accreted over time, a society which has been shaped by the people within it.In that society sits our protagonist. An ex-corporate high flyer, now serving as a Union recruiter; one whose retirement plan involves retrieving just a few more Breaches after their escapes. The wonderfully named Padma Mehta is cynical, self-interested, and always expects the worst from people. In this, at least, she’s rarely disappointed. Rakunas manages to bring to life a character who is selfish, but not entirely self involved – pragmatic enough to be effective, but with enough empathy to be understandable. She also does a pretty good line in kicking arse, and has some genuinely witty dialogue.It’s refreshing to see this approach – one in which the protagonist, whilst acting within semi (or indeed anti-) heroic constraints, recognises their own place within a system. Here is no Chosen One, rising up to overthrow a corrupt government – but a worn down, damaged individual, looking out for herself, and trying to do the best for those that depend upon her. And it works, it really does – the reader is drawn into the struggle with Padma, as her initial situation rapidly gets out of hand. Ruthless, willing to be physical, with a penchant for smart remarks and good rum, she’s an absolute pleasure to read. The supporting cast suffer somewhat by comparison. There’s some quirky characters in here – the entirely filthy Bloombeck, Padma’s old neighbour, for example, has the aura of sleaze and incompetence expertly evoked – but they’re really in the shade of the protagonist. Still, they work well within their roles, giving Padma people to play off of, argue with, and occasionally punch in the face, so overall that’s fine.Plot-wise…well, as ever, I don’t want to get into spoilers. I will say that Padma’s initial effort to recruit enough ‘Breaches’ into the Union is quickly subsumed into several different schemes, all with far larger stakes. The plot ratchets up the tension early, and releases it every so often in fist fights, boat chases, shoot-outs…there’s a fair amount of action here. But it’s wrapped around a narrative core which is startlingly perceptive. One with mysteries at the centre, which are gradually answered through the course of the text. One which takes the characters it provides the reader, and slowly tells us more about them – and there are more than a few surprises.This melange of fast-paced action, character study, social study and witty dialogue makes up a thoroughly enjoyable narrative treat – give it a chance, and it’ll reward your attention.

  • Skjam!
    2019-05-18 11:39

    Padma Mehta used to work for The Man. That is, WalWa, one of the Big Three megacorporations that own most of Occupied Space. She was good at her job, too, despite the shabby treatment she often got. Then Bad Things happened, and Padma Breached, breaking her indenture contract to join the Union on Santee.Now Padma’s a Ward Head for the Union in Brushhead, one of the neighborhoods in Santee Landing. But now she has other plans–the owner of the distillery that makes Padma’s favorite rum “Old Windswept” is retiring, and Padma wants to buy that distillery to make sure the sanity-restoring drink remains made just the right way. But to do that, Padma must fill job Slots for the Union, and that means finding new Breaches to take those Slots. When a mining ship disaster kills the discontented workers she was counting on, Padma is forced to accept a deal with small time con artist Vytai Bloombeck, who knows where some other Breaches are coming to the planet.Except, of course, that there are five Breaches (six if you count the corpse), not forty, and rival ward head Evanrute Saarien is determined to steal even those to add to his own credit with the Union. And things just continue to go downhill from there, with disgruntled Union workers, corporate assassins and a deadly cane blight all making Padma’s life even more awful than she perhaps deserves. The only people that might be on Padma’s side are rogue cab driver Jilly and recently Breached lawyer Banks, and that might just be because they don’t know her well enough.This science fiction novel is set in a future that’s not the worst possible outcome, but is full of broken systems. Yes, being a corporate Indenture means that you get many benefits, like the “pai” (never actually explained but probably short for “personal assistant implant”) hooked up to your optic nerve to allow wireless communication among other neat features. But the Big Three tend to cheap out on the actual quality of the benefits, and every upgrade comes with more time on your indenture.The Union is no bed of roses either; there’s a bunch of low-level job Slots that need filling, and rookies go straight into things like sewer cleaning and hull scraping, regardless of actual skill set. Getting into better Slots takes the ability to convince the Union you’re worthy, and new Breaches coming in to take the lowest Slots. (Bloombeck’s been stuck in the sewers for decades because no one likes him enough to find him a better Slot.)Padma has a lot of flaws, some of which are related to the mental illness that she got during her service to WalWa. Old Windswept is the only effective treatment she’s found for The Fear, so that’s her top priority. Unfortunately, Santee has fallen off the main trade routes, so fewer ships are coming for the cane, molasses and galaxy’s best rum, and thus fewer Breaches to feed her kitty and let her workers rise in the ranks. As a result of her worries about this, Padma has not kept her ear to the ground about various developing situations around the colony, and that comes back to bite her repeatedly.Something else that bites Padma is her habit of assuming people she meets have always been what they are when she meets them. More than one person has a secret past that has bearing on current events. Other people turn out to be exactly what Padma thinks they are, which may be worse.Once the ball gets rolling, it’s pretty much non-stop peril for Padma and her crew, only getting breathing space to set up more peril. There’s a fair amount of violence, but more disturbing in its implications than graphic.There’s no romance subplot, but Padma does have plot-relevant casual sex towards the beginning of the story. Perhaps the happiest part of the ending is that Padma’s a better person than she was before everything happened, even if she didn’t exactly get what she wanted.Other characters develop depth of personality only by what Padma sees them do, as makes sense in a first-person narrative. Banks is far more complex than he initially seems, while Jilly is young and rather callow, but learning fast. Other characters…well, that’d be spoilers.At least one scene is designed to be in the potential movie version, as lampshaded by the characters in it talking about the movies they’ve seen and whether this is actually something that could happen in real life.I enjoyed the book and the characters–it’s not often a battle-scarred, middle-aged woman of South Asian descent is the protagonist in an action novel. (However, the treatment of her mental illness may not be fully accurate; I am not qualified to tell.)Recommended to fans of science fiction action, and rum drinkers.

  • Coolcurry
    2019-05-14 06:43

    This science fiction thriller was a true delight! It was fun, fast paced, and I adored the heroine.Padma Mehta’s a crotchety union rep dreaming of retirement and her plans to buy a distillery. But for her dreams to come true, she needs to get thirty-three more people for her head count. Which means she needs to wait for thirty-three more people to fall from the sky.Most of known space is controlled by three mega-corporations, who rely on the labor of indentured servants. But corporate life isn’t all its cracked up to be, and some indentures Breach – fleeing down the space elevator to the Union on Padma’s backwater, sugar cane producing planet.When a small time con artist tells Padma that forty people are about to Breach, of course Padma checks it out. But in her desperate bid to make her headcount, Padma stumbles onto a plot that could endanger her entire planet.Padma was far and away my favorite thing about Windswept. She’s just so self confident and audacious! I knew I utterly loved her when near the beginning of the book she’s pulling Breaches out of the ocean when some corporate ships start to go after their boat. Padma jumps overboard, uses her SF mind link thingie to take a photo of the corporate boats speeding away from her, and posts the photo on the net with a caption something like, “WalWa sees me drowning and does nothing! Hire lawyers and avenge me!” How can you not love a heroine like that? Plus, it’s rare to find an older heroine in science fiction. Padma was great on so many levels.I also enjoyed the world Rakunas has created. I always like when speculative fiction novels actually consider how economics impact their setting, and Windswept was great for this. Padma’s planet is entirely reliant on the production of sugar cane, since industrial grade molasses is used as fuel for space ships. If the sugar cane crop fails, the economy fails with it, and the Union and all its workers would be at the mercy of the corporate overlords.Windswept was just so much fun. The pacing’s good, and the action snaps along. I wouldn’t say it belongs to the subgenre of science fiction humor, but what humor it has is excellently used. Basically, it’s such a great debut. I can’t wait to read the sequel!Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.

  • Ian Mond
    2019-05-05 09:30

    Fun and familiarity. These are the two opposing thoughts that cross my mind when I consider Adam Rakunas’ novel Windswept. In terms of fun the novel moves at an almost chaotic pace as Rakunas constantly ups the ante, never giving the reader or his protagonist Padma Mehta an opportunity to take a breath, to take stock of the situation. But there also a familiarity about the novel. Not the setting, the planet Santee where sugarcane is grown and harvested and where indentured slaves of the big three companies escape in the hope of breaking their contract and joining a Union. No, the setting has a genuine spark of originality. The familiarity stems from the characters and the plot. While the novel is clearly science fiction Padma, with her fast talking, quick thinking, take no shit attitude could have been cut and pasted from any number of urban fantasy series. And that urban fantasy gloss carries over to the plot where the twists come thick and fast in the last third but also have a sense of inevitability about them.I can’t pretend though that I didn’t have fun with Windswept. Padma may not be the most original of protagonists, but I did appreciate that Rakunas mostly avoided the smug and irritatingly self-aware dialogue that plagues characters of this type (thank you Joss Whedon). And some of the set-pieces, especially early on, are genuinely funny. Padma’s attempts to corral a small group of “breaches” (people looking to break their contract with the mega corporations) had me laughing out loud. It has a slap-stick, Laurel and Hardy / Keystone cops quality to it.At the point where the novel goes all cinematic – larger than life action scenes involving high-speed cranes – is when the familiarity sets in. This is mostly because the novel lacks depth beyond the mechanics of the plot. To be fair, Rakunas tries to inject a level of profundity. Padma has mental health issues as a result of working with one of the mega-corporations. In particular she’s plagued by a voice in her head that she calls The Fear, which constantly tries to derail her, make her doubt her own self-worth. But after a while the intrusion of The Fear becomes annoying, a set of italicized insults that provide no great insight into Padma as a person beyond her desire to retire and own a distillery so she can keep The Fear at bay.And then there’s Rakunas’ attempt to discuss class issues. The Big Three have essentially enslaved the majority of humanity and it’s only refuges like Santee that provide people with the opportunity to be free, or at least unshackled from these mega-corporations. However as a commentary on slavery and class, it’s hard to take any of it seriously given how The Big Three are characterized as nothing more than villains who will order the destruction of an entire planet just to ensure that their shareholders are protected. What’s never made clear is how it got like this, how the mega corporations obtained so much power over the populace. We have to take the word of Padma and her friends for granted, and aside from being a lop sided and biased position it adds little texture or depth to Padma’s world.However, I don’t want to underestimate the fact that I had fun with this book, that for the lack of depth and growing sense of familiarity I never felt compelled to stop reading. Rakunas clearly knows how to deliver an engaging story, and for this reason alone I would still pick up a book with his name on it, though unlikely one set in the Windswept Universe.

  • Stacey
    2019-05-15 04:40

    Read my full review and see Read-alikes on The Book Adventures on September 4th. Padma Mehta is a Union representative on a hardscrabble planet at the edge of the known universe. Her job is to recruit people who escape from passing spaceships owned by The Big Three corporations. (I'll explore in more detail why they jump ship in a bit). She's only 30-odd people from her huge bonus, which she plans to spend on a rum distillery that she will run after she retires. When she gets wind of a large number of refugees about to drop onto the surface from orbit, she makes plans to grab them and attach them to her region. Unfortunately, her plans go awry as she is opposed by her arch-nemesis and thwarted by her foolish con-man acquaintance. What ensues is a series of entertaining hijinks through cane fields, the sea, and sewage tunnels as she tries to keep her new employees safe. Everything seems to continually go wrong for Padma and her charges, and she keeps having to alter her plans and make concessions in order to keep everyone alive, including herself.The social and economic system that dominates the universe is one of corporate bondage, whereby individuals sign contracts with corporations that make them indentured servants for decades of their lives. The rationale given by supporters of it resembles the early indentured servitude in the American colonies and slavery (particularly, that it supposedly provides a support system, protects the "servants," by providing them with everything they need and making difficult decisions for them). "Breaches" are people who escape from The Big Three, often by making extremely dangerous jumps from orbit to the surface of Windswept.Padma, having escaped from her own contract, directly opposes the stranglehold the corporations have on people. A reluctant hero, with dreams of her own rum plantation constantly on her mind (and drifting further away, as she goes along), she nevertheless truly believes that everyone should be able to break free of their indentured servitude. As union members, she and others on Windswept are protected from the corporations by their ... numbers? contract? This is never quite clear, but what is clear is that once the contract with the union is signed, a person is protected from the consequences of breaking their contract with the corporations. Union members are required to work in any job that is available, because there aren't enough people to fill all the jobs, so many of them end up working in sewage and other unsavory positions, which causes some resentment among the rank and file, as you might guess. A third, less-explored level of freedom is enjoyed by the Freeborn, who are not members of the union or the corporations. Everyone - union, corporate servant, or freeborn - is open to the exploitation of the corporations.The humor is one of the great advantages of this book, between Padma's outlook on life, the platitudes and mendacious explanations she give to the Breaches in her charge, and the goofy mishaps she keeps having. Readers who enjoy their science fiction with humor and boisterous adventures will likely enjoy Windswept.

  • Casey
    2019-05-07 03:48

    Disclosure: I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway.Windswept is a decent first novel. The writing style is casual, kind of like an urban fantasy, except no paranormal romances flourishing. Windswept refers to a brand of rum featured prominently.Padma Mehta lives on a backwater planet. There are the Big Three Corporations who run the universe, controlling both people and products. People will sign up for indenture with the corporations, often to travel somewhere through space. Akin to leaving the small farm to get to the big city.The indentures are soul-sucking, and when people decide to literally jump ship and breach, sometimes they end up on Padma's planet.Padma recruits these breaches, as they are called, into the Union. It's a weird pyramid job scheme. I had a hard time understanding how it worked, but if there are new breaches, they will take the terrible jobs, and the people in those positions prior will move onto something better.She has a number of breaches she needs to recruit that will help her buy a distillery, and she won't have to recruit again. She can leave the Union job behind and focus on her passion. Once an acquaintance informs her there are 40 breaches that will descend on the planet, she rushes to bring them in, before another recruiter takes them. Things don't go as planned, and lots of action and swearing occur throughout the book. Also, many breakneck tuk-tuk rides.I liked that the main character was an older female, and that many of the characters were working class people. I liked Padma's toughness. However, it wasn't until about 2/3 of the way in, her true motivations for desperately recruiting the breaches is explained.I assume it's so late as this writing style doesn't write out a lot of internal monologue, so it had to wait for Padma to talk to another character about it. I had a hard time connecting to Padma until that particular conversation. Once it was revealed, I wish it would have been sooner, as she wouldn't have been so selfish.Banks was a great balance for Padma. Jilly seemed under-characterized. So much was happening there weren't opportunities to characterize. Even for the main character Padma.The world-building is interesting. It makes a lot of sense that people wouldn't be able to afford a ticket through space, so they indenture themselves. I guess the rest of the world outside the story is really bland, and the people are slaves to whatever the corporations want?The areas visited in the book are industrial and slummy. It wasn't too over the top though. It very vaguely reminded me of the Windup Girl. No robots or anything similar. There is some minor talk about genetic modification of crops, but it's not thoroughly explored.I found the description of action scenes to be lacking in clarity. One of the ending scenes with Padma is really confusing ((view spoiler)[where she is sabotaging the crawlers (hide spoiler)]). It was often I needed to go back a page and re-read to figure out what happened.

  • Caroline Mersey
    2019-04-27 07:48

    Windswept is the debut novel from Adam Rakunas. It's published by Angry Robot, who kindly gave me a review copy through NetGalley. The novel follows Padma Mehta, a Union organiser who lives on a paradise planet at the outer reaches of the galaxy. The planet's main export is cane molasses, which is used as a fuel for interstellar spaceships. Life on the planet is hard, but it's better than a life of indentured labour working for one of the three major corporates that control most trade and industry. Like most of the residents of her planet, Padma is a 'Breach': someone who has fled an Indentured contract! Escaping to the protection of a labour union. Padma's dream is to make enough money to become a business woman in her own right, owning one of the planet's rum distilleries. Owning a business would give her a measure of independence and rum distillation is one of the few areas where the planet has the scope to make profit independent of the corporate system. But when Padma, desperate to secure more new Breaches in order to obtain a crucial cash bonus that will let her buy the distillery of her dreams, takes a risk too far, she uncovers corruption that threatens the very fabric of the society she lives in. With the help of only a newly-Breached lawyer she must unravel the conspiracy and tackle a catastrophic threat to the whole planet. Windswept is a fast-paced action thriller that delivers multiple twists and turns and an unrelenting pace. Padma is a tough, no-nonsense heroine, among a cast of interesting and diverse women (which is, sadly, still rare enough to be delightful). It's a perfect rum-fuelled thrill ride.

  • Kate Cook
    2019-05-24 10:35

    And I don't even like rum!

  • Mitchell
    2019-05-09 08:49

    No. Umm just no. Perhaps if I were raised Union I would have liked this more. Or if any of the characters had been the slightest bit sympathetic. There were details in the corporate world that I aprreciated, mostly around our pov character's reference to B school. But mostly this was just incoherent dreck with hints of interesting bits here and there. Too weird and too confused. Readable but just barely.

  • G Blane Howell
    2019-05-02 03:35

    A rollicking good timeFast-paced, action packed with a cast of characters you'll love, hate, and recognize though they're all brand new. People are still people, even in the far off future on far off planets. Gotta hustle, gotta muscle, gotta have a drink now and again. A great time!

  • Laura Rakunas
    2019-04-27 10:34

    Such a fun and exciting book! The colonial molasses-to-rum-to-slaves triangle reworked and rocketed across the universe to a backwater planet with labor issues and distillery problems, being dealt with by a protagonist like no other makes for a very GoodRead indeed! I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys excitement, interesting characters and the need to know what happens next.

  • Bart
    2019-05-13 08:29

    3* - 7,5 out of 10.Interesting thoughts about corporate indenture, colonialism, labor rights, social classes and... the production of rum packed in a high action sci/fi adventure. I totally adored the oriental inspired worldbuilding. Recommended!

  • Malcolm
    2019-04-27 04:43

    Corporate skulduggery, dodgy union organisers and an eternally white suit – the bad guy may be seriously dodgy but he has some sartorial style…. in this dystopian world where technology of all kinds is powered by a molasses derivative making this sugar cane rich backwater planet important if a hell-hole to be avoided. Yet, it is a hell hole because of the corporate exploitation by the Big Three interstellar giants. It is not hard to read this and see many of the world’s more dystopian areas – Free Trade Zones and the like – as the inspiration for Rakunas’ un-named planet.The book has a great set-up – union organiser Padma Mehta needs only 40 new recruits and she can retire, buy a rum distillery (sugar cane rich planet, remember) and finally slough off a life in constant conflict with the Big Three but of course it all goes wrong and she finishes up having to save the universe – it’s the old union organiser story. Except it not your usual union – running, as it does, all the city outside the control of the Big Three, but with a community beyond the reach of both, this is more like One Big Union, a kind of pragmatic anarcho-syndicalism where the union also provides the jobs – but that’s an aside, and reading between the lines. Padma finds herself up against corrupt union organisers, the Big Three, a blight that threatens the intergalactic sugar cane supply and a mysterious force of company operatives.There is dry wit, excellent, not so excellent and god awful rum, an East Asian feel to the place – names, foodstuffs and the like, a friendly cop (it is, after all, a union town) and an awful lot of dodgy infrastructure and comradely support at the right time. There is also, unfortunately, a little too much of the deus ex machina problem solving, although I might be being a bit harsh and much of it the consequence of comradely initiative taken by Padma’s posse, or the cunning of the lawyer character – a profession whose problem solving can at time looks very deus ex machina-like.A good read, it trotted along at a cracking pace – there were a couple of moments of drag, but they didn’t last long and the Rakunas’ credit he didn’t have to wander off into description and background mainly because he managed to use dialogue effectively in most cases to set up back stories and context. For the most part, this is solid, enjoyable and inventive; not your usual alt-worlds kind of set up.

  • Keith Beasley-Topliffe
    2019-05-26 08:32

    The book started out confusing -- the whole reader dropped into a different world thing, trying to figure out what's going on. Then it became interesting, even exciting. And then it became just a great disappointment. The key to the disappointment was that almost every character was revealed not to be what he or she had seemed to be (including the heroine, Padma). This sometimes meant major changes in understanding what was going on. And it indicated that, despite advanced management training and her job as a recruiter for the Union that is struggling to maintain control on the planet, she is a clueless judge of character. So by the time she managed to save the galaxy (with the help of friends demonstrating previously unknown skills), I pretty much didn't care because the whole story felt like a cheat. When my sci-fi group met to discuss it, we only spend five minutes. Then we went on to more interesting topics.

  • Lauren Wallace
    2019-05-11 08:28

    "My fingers grew cold and my eyeballs watered, and that voice scraped across the back of my brain, dry as bagasse and sharp as nails: You really think they're gonna make it? You pushed away a good thing with Bloombeck, like you push away everything good..." (20)Thank you to AngryRobot for providing me with a copy of this book.Windswept is an extremely exciting and fast-paced adventure. It's filled with humour and heart and is quite the page turner. It has it's share of twists and turns the whole way through, although some of the major twists are fairly obvious.This book is a medium read as I read it in about 4 days.Overall this is an excellent book and I would recommend it to any science fiction fans.

  • Osmar
    2019-04-27 04:47

    Fast paced, sometimes funny

  • fern
    2019-05-16 05:49

    My coworker had me read this book because it involves a union. Overall it has formulaic tropes and it attempts to portray savvy, strong women but misses the mark.

  • Truevilgenius
    2019-05-03 11:30

    A fun ride. A very fun ride.

  • Brandt
    2019-04-25 08:46

    I'm sure I am starting to sound like a broken record when it comes to discussing a concept I call "universe building" when reading science fiction and fantasy literature, but it is so essential that when engaging in science fiction and fantasy literature that the scenery (or "universe") surrounding the characters be developed sufficiently for readers to feel that they know the scene and that the characters don't seem out of character with their reactions to the environment around them. It's a very fine balancing act--describe too much of a "universe" and you risk grinding the story to a halt, describe too little and you really don't know what you are looking at. Do the former, and you have some of the issues Tolkien had with The Lord of the Rings, do the latter, and then you might have some of the problems I have with Windswept.Windswept is the story of a Union steward in some strange dystopian space empire, based on planet Earth (everyone's human), where whole planets are dedicated to growing sugarcane which is used to make industrial molasses to fuel space ships and also rum, which seems to be the drink of choice in "Occupied Space." The steward, Padma, is trying to reach her quota so she can cash out and buy a distillery that makes her favorite kind of rum, "Old Windswept." (Padma's reasons for preferring "Old Windswept" are interesting and one of the reasons to read this book, despite it's flaws.) Unfortunately for Padma, she channels the sci-fi equivalent of Dante from Clerks and gets drawn into a conspiracy that could literally destroy the foundations of her society. The problem I have with the book is that the for "universe" that contains something called "Occupied Space" we know precious little about it. So when the characters indicate that that the conspiracy can essential grind society to a halt, we don't really know what the stakes are. Padma is cast in a "reluctant hero" mode, but from what little we see and hear about the society of "Occupied Space" it sounds like a pretty shitty place to live, so would Padma really go to the lengths she does to prevent societal collapse? Without knowing the stakes or "the universe" for that matter, we can't possibly know if Padma's motivations are genuine. (In this same vein, there is a character later in the book who tries to make a distinction between one corporate entity and another, even though it is obvious that Rakunas, through Padma, thinks the distinction between this corporate hegemony is complete bullshit. It's a great moment, and also handcuffed by our lack of knowledge about the "universe" around them.)Apparently Windswept is the first in a series and I am definitely signing on for the next volume. Perhaps the next volume will flesh out this "universe" a little better for readers and resolve some of the issues I have with the book, but I shouldn't have to go to a second book to resolve my issues with the first. And that's the shame of it.