Art by Ann Larimer
Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez was great! The plot: Emperor Mollusk, former Warlord of Terra (he retired after conquering the planet and deciding he didn't feel like ruling anymore) has been targeted for assassination. Taken into protective custody by the Venusian warrior Zala (she can't bring him to justice for his crimes against Venus if he's dead), Mollusk is swept into finding out who wants him dead (in the narrowing down sense), and what to do if for the first time ever, he might not win? Also along for the ride is his pet ultrapede Snarg. Good girl, Snarg.
The Earth in this book's world is an alternate history of ours, where we've been fighting off alien attacks for centuries and there's even a Viking colony on Ceres (no one knows how they got there). Our narrator and main character is Mollusk, a moral-less little octopus from Neptune, but he doesn't mean anything by it. He's friendly and reasonable, without much blood lust. His likeability carries you through some of the weaker parts of the book quite tidily.
My only complaint about this book was that Zala and Kreegah (a Jupitron) are criminally underused. There's some very interesting characters waiting there to be written, but unfortunately that doesn't really happen, especially in Kreegah's case.
A nice, light book. Shouldn't have taken me as long as it did to read this, but I made the mistake of starting writing again and it's hard to shift my brain from one gear to the other.