Book Review: Trans Liberty Riot Brigade (Brigade Book 1) by L.M. Pierce

Andi is a "Transgressor," someone who was born intersex and breaks the law by choosing to keep her body just the way it is. She's also part of the Brigade, a group of Trangressors trying to change things. When Andi goes with the Brigade leader, Elenbar, on a risky mission to meet with a contact and get information, things quickly go from bad to worse, and they find their mission has changed to something even riskier but also more important than they imagined.

Book Review: Trans Liberty Riot Brigade (Brigade Book 1) by L.M. Pierce | reading, books, book reviews, science fiction, dystopian, lgbtqia, intersex
Title: Trans Liberty Riot Brigade
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 273
My Rating: 3 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received an ecopy of this book from the author. This has not influenced my review.*

The book was very gritty, grungy, and dirty (literally dirty, like with dirt and sweat and other bodily fluids). The main character lived in the slums. The book was filled with drug addiction and lots of mentions of prostitution and rape (though no explicit scenes—well, except one scene in which Andi and some others were touched without consent). There were graphic descriptions of various sorts of disgusting things, including injuries and dead bodies. Every other word in Andi’s head or out of her mouth was some sort of guttermouth slang. So basically, it is not a book for the easily offended or weak-stomached.

Speaking of Andi’s voice though, it was very different from the usual that you find in books, which was refreshing. It was full of slang and completely colored by her life and situation. I can’t really explain it, but I recommend reading a preview of the book on Amazon (or somewhere) to get a feel for it if you’re unsure about whether you’ll like it or not. (Reading a preview will also show you how gritty the book is.)

There was also a great message in this book not just about being intersex but about being who you are and letting people be who they are. The main characters didn’t want to be assigned a binary gender, they were happy just being themselves with the bodies they were given, and all they wanted was to be given the option to keep those bodies.

The plot/pacing was where I think the book lost me though. I didn’t understand/believe/see the point of some things (for example, I felt like there was no way Andi wouldn’t have died of infection after everything her body went through), and I just wasn’t gripped. Also, the timeline for how their society came to be the way it was didn’t make sense, unless I just misunderstood (which is possible because I was confused). And to be honest, I think the language and Andi’s voice got to be a little bit too much for me after a while.

However, overall, it had a somewhat unique premise, it included representation of a part of the LGBTQIA+ community that you don’t see often in books, and the writing had a deep POV with a unique voice.


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  1. Olivia Roach

    Aghh another book with a slow pace for you! Such a shame 🙁 I’m also so impressed with this one having gender and sex as part of the main plot. While it’s set in a different world/society, it’s such a relevant topic to have a book be based around. I like the cross of genre and the importance of the discussion 🙂

  2. verushka

    It sounds like there’s much goodness here, but that the plot and pacing got muddled would probably frustrate me no end. Sounds like the characterisation was actually quite good, and this might have been better if it was a character-focused read.

    1. Kristen Burns

      There were definitely some good things, but yeah, it’s frustrating when plot things kinda don’t seem to make sense or push my suspension of disbelief too far.

  3. Melissa

    Sounds like it might be a little too gritty for me and the slow pace…not what I’d be looking for in this type of read…Love the main premise though.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hmm, I don’t remember if it was necessarily slow… but something about it just didn’t quite keep me gripped. Understandable if it’s not your kinda book though.

  4. Lola

    After that first paragraph of your review you already convinced me that this won’t be a book for me. I don’t think I would be able to stomach all the graphic descriptions.

    That does sound nice that the voice was so unique! And it sounds like it has a good message. It’s a shame the plot/ pacing didn’t quite work for you. And I can see how a certain voice or style gets to be too much after reading for a while.

  5. Danya @ Fine Print

    This sounds intense! I’m not sure that a story with this kind of grunge and (literal) dirtiness is really my kind of thing, especially with the uneven pacing. I do love the sound of the characters though, and the message about the importance of “be and let be.”

  6. Wren

    I actually came across this book on Goodreads the other day…. I added it to my tbr pile because I think it looks intriguing and I haven’t read any books with (obvious) intersex characters yet! I hadn’t realized there were also nonbinary characters too. Now I definitely would like to read it 🙂