Space Opera / Coming-of-Age Story
This was Victoria's weakness: ' "Without a doubt." Mello smiled coldly. Sometimes you defeat your enemy through their arrogance, sometimes through their fear. And sometimes, simply through their predictability.
It didn't really matter, as long as you won and they died. ' (loc 5367) Although uttered by an enemy, it sets the tone for this tragedy of squabbling empires. Smoothly, the story introduces recruits to military schooling, then fleet duty at the opening of a war.
Pro: battles don’t depend on one weapon, like lasers, but include mines, nukes, point-defense, missiles and decoys.
Ships cannot be completely ‘stealthed’, nor escape at FTL, thus remain in range of enemy retaliation. Frigate Captains should know they will not survive a broadside. Cruisers always suffer damage to external fittings (like turrets).
As other stories, this depends on computer whizzes to crack codes and decipher enemy objectives.
Con: Coincidentally, all officers on Emily’s ship are wounded or disabled, leaving her in charge. Then she must develop tactics to maximize her ship strengths and strike the enemy’s weaknesses. Focused on bridge action, the book ignores other departments like dispensary, environmental, CIC or damage control.
Sections where characters go to bed with each other seem gratuitous. After bloody battles, after adrenaline rush, why do they feel like sex? Why not cuddle until the shakes pass? And warriors giving each other blood tears?? (Minus one star)
Otherwise, the character backgrounds are smoothly introduced, such as Captain Grey’s growing up around Sir Henry, Queen’s Advisor: ‘…he used to bounce her on his knee and tell her stories of the faraway lands he had visited. Grey’s father had died before she was a year old. Sir Henry had become a “special friend” of her mother’s, and though they never married and after a time no longer shared a romantic relationship, he had remained a family friend and was as close to a father figure as Grey ever had…. ‘
That said, I do want to know how Emily, Hiram, Cookie and Grant do in Book 2.