Temper and other Vices


I’m fortunate enough to know Nicky Drayden, and I’m smart enough to have read her amazing first novel, The Prey of Gods. That was a terrific, rollicking sci-fi read. Do you see that little girl on the cover?


Drayden’s stories are imaginative, horrifying, and funny.

Now her second novel, Temper, is out. So, go read that too!

Drayden creates new worlds from our world, and she expects you to keep up. She tells the story of twin brothers, Auben and Kasim. They have clearly marked vices and virtues that define their lives and relationship. The rules are different in this world and Drayden doesn’t dump info on you to explain them. She shows you the characters navigating this crazy, askew world, and you figure things out. It is not a safe world, so be prepared.

Also, there are more than two genders in the universe she’s created and the pronouns reflect that. There may well be other novels that do this, but I haven’t read them, so this was new and daring to me. It may or may not be to you. Honestly, at first, I thought there was a typo on the first page of the digital copy I had. A short while later I realized–no. She’s created this place, these people, these gods, and she runs with them. Maybe the unfamiliar pronouns will out you off, but that would be a shame. Sci-fi readers ought to be willing to boldly go to strange new worlds…

All words were new at some point. You can learn.

I’m just going to copy and paste the Harper Collins synopsis here:

In a land similar to South Africa, twin brothers are beset by powerful forces beyond their understanding or control in this thrilling blend of science fiction, horror, magic, and dark humor—evocative of the works of Lauren Beukes, Ian McDonald, and Nnedi Okorafor—from the author of The Prey of Gods.

Two brothers.
Seven vices.
One demonic possession.
Can this relationship survive?

Auben Mutze has more vices than he can deal with—six to be exact—each branded down his arm for all the world to see. They mark him as a lesser twin in society, as inferior, but there’s no way he’ll let that define him. Intelligent and outgoing, Auben’s spirited antics make him popular among the other students at his underprivileged high school. So what if he’s envious of his twin Kasim, whose single vice brand is a ticket to a better life, one that likely won’t involve Auben.

The twins’ strained relationship threatens to snap when Auben starts hearing voices that speak to his dangerous side—encouraging him to perform evil deeds that go beyond innocent mischief. Lechery, deceit, and vanity run rampant. And then there are the inexplicable blood cravings. . . .

On the southern tip of an African continent that could have been, demons get up to no good during the time of year when temperatures dip and temptations rise. Auben needs to rid himself of these maddening voices before they cause him to lose track of time. To lose his mind. And to lose his . . .


OMG, y’all. There’s a lot of bloodshed in this story. But there’s also humor. And there’s love. I don’t mean only romantic love, but love of brother, of family, of place.

And do go read her first novel, The Prey of Gods. It’s bloody brilliant.


Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Temper and other Vices

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Dave.
      So, the two books are not connected, but I would recommend The Prey of Gods first. I enjoyed TEMPER, but The Prey of Gods is a richer, stronger book. Though they are both ambitious.

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