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The marketing material suggests "Rich Characters", and yet the author introduces (and describes) characters based on their skin colour. Or their sexuality. Because that's far more important than, well... their actual character!
100's of years in to the future and they're still talking about colonialism? Perhaps they still have access to Twitter aboard the ship too.
As for the content outside of the identity politics - the story itself is paced well enough. It's interesting and tense in parts, but some repetition in the writing and the other nonsense just detracts.
Having just read the Castle Federation books, I was excited to start reading another series of Mr. Stewart's books, so I bought this oone. It was such an improbable scenario. The book starts of as an average read but quickly degenerates into boring. I am so disappointed.
Couldn’t go on. After about the sixth time of somebody saying something “calmly,” I started gritting my teeth. Maybe I’ll finish it....but probably not. Now that I’ve noticed how everybody says everything calmly (59 times) or flatly (34 times), it just gets on my nerves every time I see it. Otherwise it was generic sci fi.
This is not a good book. It isn't realistic, and it's preachy. Oh so preachy.
It seems like the author knew where he wanted to get to at the end of the book, and the entire universe is built specifically to get us there. The heroine just seems to get everything she needs at every turn, defying all logic or any sort of realism. And - the heroine just keeps making bad decisions, but it keeps working out for everyone because for some reason the universe is built in a way that rewards these kind of decisions.
It feels like a bad voyager fan fic. A ship alone in an unknown universe, trying to explore and make friends, meeting new ships and races, doing diplomacy, and proving that being nice is all it takes to make it as a... pirate? Yea, pirates are known for appreciating nice people.
I read this book because I loved the "space mage" series by this author. That is a quality series. It's some of the best stories and plots and... world I've ever encountered. It should be make into an epic series of movies - high budget, magic + technology, fighting, intrigue, suspense... no joke - if you want to make a star-wars competitor, make the space mage series into movies.
But this book? It's just bad. Don't waste your time on it.
Oh, and to add insult to injury: the audio narration is horrible. I know not everyone listens to books - but I do. And this one is horrible.
I made it about 90% of the way through and just gave up.
The protagonist is yet another flawless Mary Sue tough and loveless female lead with no personality, character, or defining features. Certainty, as I said, no human personality beyond some idealized fantasy of what a female naval officer should be. I'm harping on the female thing because the author seems intent on making a thing of it, but I could never figure out why. She may as well have been a self-mobile blow up doll for the personality she had.
All the aliens are incredibly anthropomorphic, and the two main races are cut and dry good and evil diametrically opposed empires. Boring as sin.
Every possible technical, logistic, practical, or tactical hurdle is immediately overcome through some miracle or a deus ex machina trope. There is never a new problem that isn't hand waved off immediately. No moral or ethical dilemma ever gives anyone any sort of pause or concern before it's magically and conveniently resolved, at no cost or risk to our sterling main cast of course!
The book can't even stay internally consistent with its own universe rules. A species which is incapable of lying (good.and evil. Remember?) somehow manages to let a MASSIVE internal conspiracy develop and thrive completely unnoticed. The physics limitations are magically resolved any time the author writes herself into a corner, and pose no real challenge at any point anyway.
I just can't understand why there are so many positive reviews of this book. It's not trash by any means, but it is completely and utterly forgettable.
Finally, if you are considering an audio book purchase, be sure to set the playback speed 15% faster or so. Unless you're into ASMR. But that seems pretty inappropriate for what's supposed to be be a hardboiled military space opera about pirates
Pretty lame tale about power and rebellion within a far-away human star system in the future, with 2 planets vying for control and far-flung outposts screaming for basic human rights, etc.... Think "The Expanse" series, only displaced far from our solar system, without developed characters who we might care about, and written on a much smaller scale. Meh. Won't continue with the rest of the series.
Not much of a military sci-fi tech background, i'd compared it to star wars in regards of description of the tech used in the story. Story is engaging enough though - although, i didn't like the the constant 'kissy-kissies in the corner' of a gay romance between the ship's XO and commander of marines. Let it be clear, there is only one person there with the 'balls' - the captain Anette. All in all, story is good, and as for the characters, i liked captain Anette character story and didn't like any male character story. Imho, eg. Christopher Nuttall does much better, let's say 'balanced' job in painting out female heroines and male heroes - much more believable. In this story, i simply could not find myself engaged with any male character at all.