A young pilot risks everything to save his best friend–the man he trusts most and might even love–only to learn that he’s secretly the heir to a brutal galactic empire.
Ettian Nassun’s life was shattered when the merciless Umber Empire invaded. He’s spent seven years putting himself back together under its rule, joining an Umber military academy and becoming the best pilot in his class. Even better, he’s met Gal Veres–his exasperating and infuriatingly enticing roommate who’s made the Academy feel like a new home.
But when dozens of classmates spring an assassination plot on Gal, a devastating secret comes to light: Gal is the heir to the Umber Empire. Ettian barely manages to save his best friend and flee the compromised Academy unscathed, rattled both that Gal stands to inherit the empire that broke him and that there are still people willing to fight back against Umber rule. As they piece together a way to deliver Gal safely to his throne, Ettian finds himself torn in half by an impossible choice. Does he save the man who’s won his heart and trust that Gal’s goodness could transform the empire? Or does he throw his lot in with the brewing rebellion and fight to take back what’s rightfully theirs?
Well this was a fun book with lots of galactic space politics, some pew pew, and a little bit of romance. I had a good time with this one!
I think for this book the characters are key. Even though there is a good amount going on with the world building and some key events pushing the plot forward, it’s very much a character focused story. Ettian is a great pupil at the military academy and it’s proven over and over again. I love how he acts under pressure and also takes his feelings into account and doesn’t just blindly follow orders. He’s definitely got a character that I can respect. Gal has been an heir hiding in plain sight all this time. When it’s revealed who he is and why people are after him it falls on Ettian to help him. So there’s a very simple mission complicated by politics and personal relationships. Ettian and Gal had been great friends but when the truth comes out, Ettian can’t help but feel a bit betrayed. Gal is a bit arrogant but not typically arrogant because he is in need of so much help. I honestly enjoyed the dynamics between Ettian and Gal for the most part…. Their relationship evolved well from friendship to romance and I’m glad that they at least thought about the consequences of a potential romance before realizing they couldn’t fight those feelings anymore and diving in. 😉 Although I will say there was a little bit too much ‘should we or shouldn’t we’ which made things drag a bit. So I guess that’s a pro and a con. Huh.
I will say that other than the relationship stuff the pace was great, lots of action and pew pew stuff going on as they zip through the galaxy trying to stay ahead of those that are chasing after them. And like I mentioned before, there is a lot of world building going on but it does all feel very familiar which may be a plus or a minus depending whether you like the familiar or crave something new and innovative.
If I have any other complaints it’s that this felt relatively forgettable because it feels like so many other fun pew pew space operas where the personal stakes play out within a galactic political sphere. There is also a twist that came out of no where which, yay, twist! But on the other hand I felt like it made one of the characters just a bit hypocritical for their reaction to events that happened earlier in the story. The story also doesn’t really address the whole…empire conquering colonialism stuff? Mainly between the two main characters because wow, there is a whole matched set of luggage to unpack there. Of course, as always, your mileage may vary.
Overall, this was a fun read and I’m glad I read it, I’ll probably be picking up the next one when it arrives to see where this story goes from here. 3/5 stars.