Title: Victories Greater Than Death
Series: Universal Expansion #1
Author: Charlie Jane Anders
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Published: April 13th, 2021 (Tor Teen)
Synopsis: A thrilling adventure set against an intergalactic war with international bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders at the helm in her YA debut—think Star Wars meets Doctor Who, and buckle your seatbelts.
Tina has always known her destiny is outside the norm—after all, she is the human clone of the most brilliant alien commander in all the galaxies (even if the rest of the world is still deciding whether aliens exist). But she is tired of waiting for her life to begin.
And then it does—and maybe Tina should have been more prepared. At least she has a crew around her that she can trust—and her best friend at her side. Now, they just have to save the world.
Thank you to the publisher, Tor Teen, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“Even if you kill me, that doesn’t mean I’ve failed. There are victories greater than death. I might not live to see justice done, but I can see it coming.”
Sixteen year old Tina has always known that she would have to leave her life on Earth behind one day. As the human clone of Captain Thaoh Argentian, one of the best alien commanders in the galaxies, she eagerly awaits the day when the beacon in her chest will light up and the Royal Fleet will arrive to take her back. But when the beacon finally activates, things don’t really go according to plan and everyone expects her to be a seasoned warrior, but Tina realizes she is most certainly not prepared for it. As an intergalactic war continues, Tina, her best friend Rachael and a handful of newly recruited genius kids from Earth must figure out how to stop a genocidal monster from carrying out his plans and save the world.
Space operas are genre I’ve really come to enjoy over the past year or two, so this was an instant addition to my TBR when I first came across it. It certain delivers on the promised space adventure and this book was quite an exciting ride. Victories Greater Than Death has a rather large cast of characters and it does take a while to get them all straight. The story is narrated entirely from Tina’s perspective and it was interesting to watch her try to find her place and grow into her legacy in this new situation after the memory restoration process doesn’t fully work, leaving her with the knowledge but not the memories of the famous Captain. The secondary characters play equally important roles, and it was wonderful how the story gives us such a good idea of their personalities and thoughts though they don’t have POVs.
I do believe that this book would be better suited for younger YA readers as many aspects, like the dialogue, felt like I was reading a book closer to middle grade than YA. However, from a diversity perspective, there is a lot to take away for any reader. It’s not unusual for sci-fi novels to have a lot of diversity, because, like fantasy, the realm of possibility is entirely decided by the author. What impressed me about this book though, was how it was incorporated into the narrative. None of it ever feels forced, from how diverse the characters were to how people specified their pronouns when they introduced themselves. It’s not something I’ve ever encountered in a book before, so it took a little getting used to, but it was really cool and I loved the inclusivity. It would be great to see more books like this.
One common complaint I often have is that some books are often too long, but in this case, it needs to be longer. The author has clearly put so much effort into the world building and background of the story and I felt that what we saw was such a meagre glimpse of it. The way the world was presented was also really rushed, and there was a little too much jargon involved that distracts from the actual story. The glossary certainly helped, but I still had to flip to the back of the book every 10 minutes which quickly became annoying. Basically, there was a lot stuffed into a barely 300 page book and there were times when it felt a little overwhelming.
I loved how action-packed this book was, particularly towards the end and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m also looking forward to checking out some of the other books by this author. Victories Greater Than Death was an engrossing space adventure that sci-fi fans, particularly younger YA readers are sure to enjoy and I would definitely recommend it.
Victories Greater Than Death releases on April 13th, 2021.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All quotes in this review were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final version of the book.
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