The second book in this space opera
In a race to find those trying to instigate an interstellar war, a hacker gets themselves and their shipmates pulled into a fight they never wanted when they dig into the wrong system trying to find the culprits.
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway, not realizing it was the second book in a series. I was able to read this novel without issue, with some snippets that most likely referred to book one, Hunt the Stars, and it didn’t affect my comprehension of the overall storyline though I did have issues with parts of the book’s story.
The writing style was confusing through the book and characters were given abilities that were not mentioned prior to make the plot work, when it wouldn’t have worked otherwise.
- Character two is introduced by their name to the main character, but for some reason the main character starts saying ‘them, their and they’ when referring to this new individual. I honestly thought the author had suddenly forgotten how to use grammar or I had missed something, so I kept referring to their introduction to make sure it wasn’t more than one person. It took me a page and a half to finally figure out that this was a non-binary character. There was no intro to the main character specifying this individual’s pronouns, yet the main character automatically knows somehow, but the reader isn’t given any indications of this. That was extremely confusing and slowed my reading as the main character continued with this pronoun preference usage. I will say though, I appreciated how the author didn’t just tick the ‘LGBTQ’ box and move on, they had a purpose for this character.
- Character one used their ability to violate a co-worker’s privacy (their words) when they wanted to know if they could be trusted, but when this same character and co-worker’s were attacked, character one doesn’t use their ability to find out who the people were who attacked them or the reasoning behind their attack, though they know they could’ve.
- The main character gets cornered with literally no space to edge out of the situation, but then another character appears by their side to help them. Unless I missed something, this new character shouldn’t have been able to get past the blockade to the main character even with the skill this character had.
There is some contradictory behavior throughout the book.
-A couple of characters are judgmental when they contact the station’s admiral and are surprised their call is accepted immediately, though using the backup power to run the admiral’s required equipment and the priority sections of the station was to be expected, but this didn’t help the rest of the station who must deal with dim lights and nonfunctioning automatic doors. Those judgements aren’t so important anymore though when they require an arrest warrant to be removed from the system that is still only powered by the backup power, which these characters had the capacity to fix. Also, those nonfunctioning doors can still be opened manually, based on a couple of scenes in the book.
-These same characters also claim to not want a war and they want to help people, based on previous inner monologue and behavior, but when the time comes for them to do so in this scene, they balk at the mere idea unless paid serious coin, though they had already been doing the work before for free.
-These characters were also surprisingly childish when faced with an issue they didn’t like. Rolling their eyes, scoffing, and challenging another character with phrases like, "you could try."
-The male lead in this book is supposed to be an alpha male, yet when described, I get contradictory information. He can be pushy, but then defers to another character when decisions need to be made, doesn’t put his two cents in, just accepts the choice. He is forward with what he wants, even growls when turned on, but then asks permission to kiss another character after they literally said, “I wanted you the moment I saw you, and I’ve been fighting my feelings for you for weeks.” He also says later on, “Are you sure? I don’t want to push you into something you don’t want,” even though in that scene there is no mistaking what the other character wants based on their shared communication.
Considering the genre, it is to be expected that you may get some gay or lesbian characters. In this book, they have clear indications of gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual behaviors towards other characters, as well as the non-binary character I mentioned above. There is also the use of the f-word throughout the book and a couple sex scenes. While the sex scenes were not explicit or the focus of the book, they were placed perfectly in the story creating a slow burn.
Though set in a futuristic time, the typical narrative used by the author to create their plot, about issues with government and the rich, then have their characters preach against it yet contradict it and show lack of knowledge to how the system works, is tiresome and yet laughable. I think readers are smart enough to know that not all systems are perfect and to do their own research regarding these issues.
- In this world military servitude was required, unless you could afford the fee to avoid mandatory service, or a conglomerate wanted you for indentureship and could pay the fee in your stead.
- When a couple of characters are told to eat on the upper decks in the future, they respond “we are not posh pleasure yacht captains with too much money and not enough sense.”
- The higher ups on either side didn’t care if it came to war because it wouldn’t be them fighting, it would be the lower-class citizens instead.
-The people in authority aren’t willing to clean up the mess they made, but they have no problems sending us to do it.
While the story was likeable enough and I liked reading an author who understood networking, software programming and hacking, I didn’t care for the main character’s pride in their illegal hacking or this character’s parents supporting them in their illegal endeavors when they were younger, helping them to cover their tracks when they blundered. Though the author may argue gray hat hacking, the character was clearly a black hat hacker who occasionally donned the gray hat when it suited them. Give me Penelope Garcia’s character from Criminal Minds any day.
Though the story was a continuation of book one, and ended with a third book in mind, it felt as if nothing was accomplished in this book, other than two characters coming together. They could have done that where they were initially. None of the characters really moved anywhere, none of them grew in character, none of them accomplished anything of real significance, and the main characters ended up in a more dangerous position than when they started. There was nothing to drag me into this story or make me connect with the characters. I was ready to just finish the book so I could read something else.
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