Captain Dace is doing just what she dreamed of: pilot of her own trading vessel. Then things go wrong. Very very wrong, resulting in her becoming trapped on a primitive human world without a ship, without a way off the rock, and people out to kill her or dispose of her in any fashion they can.
While her first concern is preserving her own skin she also comes to realize that she landed in something big. The conspiracies swirling around the inconsequential world might impact the entire Empire.
I would classify this as a science fiction adventure, with perhaps a dash of space opera. Although it does have elements of romance, the romance is only a subplot.
The setting was interesting and well described. So is the various technology used through-out the story. The touches of humor spread through the story were a welcome relief from all the conflict (including the running joke about the vid star).
The novel is very fast paced. The action and tension goes directly from one situation to the next, making it a hard book to put down. This is definitely not a book you want to start late at night, or it might make you late for work the next day. In my mind this is a very good thing!
The story is filled with interesting characters, some of whom I wished had more time spent on them. The main character of Dace is a fun fully-realized spunky heroine who is proactive in many scenes instead of reactive. I appreciate that in a main character.
While there is violence, I appreciated that it wasn't over the top with huge amounts of blood and gore. The author described just enough to put the reader in the middle of the action without grossing them out. Nicely done.
While there were a few minor things that bothered me like repeated thoughts that I started skipping and Dace getting captured more times than a person ought and still survive.
There were two big story problems that stuck with me after finishing the novel:
There were several elements and characters that were built up during the story that in the end really didn't matter. This was frustrating to me, as it left me with several unanswered questions. I also realized after I ended the book that I didn't know the ultimate fate of several characters that were important through the course of the book. I'm hoping some of this might be cleared up in the sequel, but still felt it should have been dealt with a little more at the end of this novel.
There was a change of allegiance at the end that didn't make sense to me and appeared to come out of nowhere. It bothers me enough that I'm going to go back and re-read part of it to see if I possibly misunderstood a portion.
In the end I enjoyed the character of Dace and look forward to following more adventures when the sequel is released (possibly in 2011). Hopefully this will also include a continuance of a nice romance. I'm also curious if we'll see more of Dadilan.
If you are looking for a fun science fiction adventure, give this book a try. It was an enjoyable ride, and hope it is one the author can repeat in her next book.
(reviewed 55 days after purchase)