Raymin Dahl is a journalist. He weaves stories for a living, and the surrender of five colony worlds to the Grand Alliance, where every human is controlled by a collar and called a “Grendel,” is going to be the biggest story he’s ever done.
But when he meets with Commander Ansel Sterling to cover the story, the meeting ends with an attack that leaves Sterling badly injured. Before he dies, he orders Dahl to take his AI, a wrist computer that links with the mind and complete his mission, signing over the colonies to the Grendels. Dahl has one thing going for him: Sterling’s AI, Ivy, will help him with the mission, but she may be infested by a Grendel wrym and trying to turn Dahl into a Grendel.
Before he dies, he orders Dahl to take his AI, a wrist computer that links with the mind and complete his mission, signing over the colonies to the Grendels.
The war between the two factions is interesting. The book deals a lot with the artificial intelligence that divides the free people from the Grendals who collars that infect their minds, though no one knows quite how they do it until the end of the book. I was quite invested in Dahl’s mission as he tried to fill the shoes of Commander Sterling, and his devotion to the story was admirable.
Even though military sci-fi isn’t quite my genre, I did enjoy this book. The style is told as a war story, written through Dahl’s eyes. There are also a few flashbacks to his earlier life that show a hint of how he became who he is. The first person narrative lends a closeness to the character. However, a plot twist at the end, while very well-executed, did leave me rather annoyed. I felt that some things I enjoyed about the book no longer mattered.
Genre: Clean Military Science Fiction.
Age: Recommended for readers 13 and up due to violence.
Heat: Some romance, though it’s not a romance book. There is some kissing since the main character is in love. When a man and woman spend a night in the same house, it is mentioned that one takes the couch and the other the bed.
Language: I didn’t notice any, which is refreshing considering that most military sci-fi is full of harsh profanity.
Violence: This is military sci-fi and the book starts with people getting killed. Nothing is gory, but quite a bit of killing happens, and there are some bloody wounds.
Jessi L Roberts is the author of sci fi novels The Deathhorn, Hand Of Steel and The Black Claw. In real life she lives on a cattle ranch in Montana, where she is often led on wild goat chases as her goats forget to come home.