“Follow her lead? What the hell kind of ronin are you?”
“The ‘still alive’ kind.”
Kat (self labeled Amazon) and Mouse (specialist of all things pointy) are a pair of street mercenaries/ronin who do jobs that take them to areas wiser, or at least less dangerous, people avoid and star in a webseries of fast paced hard boiled stories in a cyberpunk setting.
Payback is a collection of the “second season” of their web serial. The season stands well enough alone and important lingers plot points and characters are fairly well explained, but a lot of overarching plot continues from season one and Kat and Mouse: Guns for Hire is the better place to start.
While Guns for Hire had overarching elements and plots that developed over the season interwoven with the largely stand alone individual segments (chapters), Payback presents an even tighter connected arc underlying its stories. It still has a focus for each part and a job or task to motivate the action, but almost everything connects to the larger unfolding story involving the pasts of both Kat and Mouse.
It’s nice to see the history of characters addressed, and Payback addresses all the questions raised in the first season, while setting up a few new mysteries to provide potential for more adventures going forward. As with season one a fun and diverse supporting cast flushed out Kat and Mouse’s world nicely and provided needed levity here and there.
The reveals were suitably logical and dramatic, and for the most part felt like they grew organically from what came before. The conversational style of Kat’s narration from Guns for Hire was continued and fit the tone well while allowing Kat’s emotional state to guide the reader;s own. The prose did get a bit cumbersome in parts (particularly some of the long explanations), but it wasn’t too often or too disruptive to the flow.
I enjoyed Payback and there were definite signs of writer growth and additional depth. If there ever is a season three I’ll be happy to revisit the world of these slightly off-beat but likable mercenaries.