Koko Takes A Holiday by Kieran Shea – Book Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings reviews Koko Takes A Holiday by Kieran Shea, the first in a Cyberpunk series from Titan Books.

An excellent, fun cyberpunk novel with a kickass female lead character. Koko Takes A Holiday is a fast paced, awesome novel that comes highly recommended. You won’t want to pass this one by.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields



Five hundred years from now, ex-corporate mercenary Koko Martstellar is swaggering through an early retirement as a brothel owner on The Sixty Islands, a manufactured tropical resort archipelago known for its sex and simulated violence. Surrounded by slang-drooling boywhores and synthetic komodo dragons, the most challenging part of Koko’s day is deciding on her next drink. That is, until her old comrade Portia Delacompte sends a squad of security personnel to murder her.

Going into Koko Takes A Holiday, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I know next to nothing about the author, but the premise sounded cool and at the time I was up for a cyberpunk novel. And as it turned out, this book completely blew me away – it’s fun, energetic and very entertaining, and if you’re looking for a good science fiction novel then Koko Takes A Holiday should be right up your street.

Koko-Takes-A-HolidayThis is one of the books best read in as few sittings as possible, because you’ll be blasting through this as quickly as you can. It’s a page turner in every sense of the word, and once you start you won’t be able to put down. It’s one of the most fun books that I’ve read this year, and has set a new high bar for action cyberpunk sci-fi.

I found myself comparing Koko Takes A Holiday more than once to the style of a graphic novel. It’s hard to write prose fiction that feels like a comic but Kieran Shea has captured that feeling very well. So if you enjoy comics, then you’ll dig this book. Heck, if you enjoy Sci-Fi period, you’ll dig this book. It’s just that good.

Koko Martstellar is our main protagonist, and she more than fills the category of your action heroine. She’s smart, compelling and easy to get behind, with some good solid development making her a three dimensional character. And then, on top of that, you also have the world building to consider – for not only has Shea managed to flesh out his characters well, but the future created by him is given a lot of depth. The fact that this is one of the most fast paced novels of 2014 and you still get a sense of just how good the world building development is really helps its case for one of the better books of the year.

The original content on display in Koko Takes A Holiday is impressive as well. This book isn’t quite like any others, and that’s what makes it great. You’re getting a fun read that you haven’t seen a thousand times before, which is rare in today’s market. There’s little here that falls into the trap of cliché, and by the time the book finished I was left wanting more. It was just too good.

It’s almost hard to believe that Koko Takes A Holiday is in fact, Shea’s first novel. It’s written confidently and with the skill of a writer who’s spent years honing his craft (Shea has written short stories in the past). It comes as a welcome surprise to say the least and I really can’t state just how good this book is. There’s hardly anything that this title puts wrong and you’ll be glad you gave it a shot.

Koko Takes A Holiday is one of those few books where you can in fact, judge something by its cover. If you look at it and think that you’re going to enjoy the book, then pick it up – you won’t be disappointed. (Did I mention that the cover is awesome as well?) Koko is a fantastic protagonist and this book is an excellent introduction to her world.

Told in third person narrative, Shea uses this to shift around from protagonist to protagonist. Whilst Koko gets a vast majority of the attention (as one would expect), Flynn is also given a perspective. He’s a cop who finds himself diagnosed with Depressus, which subjects its victim to join in a mass suicide event called Embrace. And, things aren’t looking good for him – because Depressus is incurable. This allows for an interesting take on Flynn’s character and his development is just as fun to read about as Koko’s.

In case you haven’t already guessed, Koko Takes A Holiday comes highly recommended. Kieran Shea has just become an author to watch, and I’m fully looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.


Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer