Award-winning science fiction author Charlie Jane Anders’ highly anticipated first YA novel, Victories Greater Than Death, invites readers aboard the starship Indomitable for a colorful tour of a delightfully strange universe.
Tina might look like a normal human, but she’s actually the clone of a legendary alien war hero, Captain Thaoh Argentian, hidden on Earth until she’s old enough to join the war between the peacekeeping Royal Fleet and their genocide-minded enemies who call themselves the Compassion. One day, the Fleet will return and unlock all of Captain Argentian’s memories, which are hidden deep in Tina’s DNA.
Tina wants nothing more than to step into her big heroic destiny, but when the Fleet does finally arrive, she finds herself falling short of the life she imagined. Argentian’s knowledge was passed on to Tina but not her memories, leaving Tina a walking encyclopedia of alien trivia with none of the experience to make it useful. She might be able to name every species on the Indomitable’s bridge, but that doesn’t mean she can lead them. Tina’s strained relationship to her past life makes her a compelling protagonist, especially when the lines between “doing what’s right” and “doing what Argentian would do” conflict.
Tina is accompanied on her adventure by her best friend, Rachel, and a squad of Earthling Fleet recruits from across the globe. They represent an admirably diverse cross section of interests, cultures and queer identities, and their friendships and escapades form the book’s lively core. Together, the Earthlings experience the universe at its most ridiculous, as when they see Beyoncé on a billboard in an interstellar marketplace or they travel to a world dubbed “Best Planet Ever” in an attempt to increase tourism. But they must also face the universe at its most cruel, as the Compassion’s leader wipes out entire planetary populations in pursuit of his own twisted goals.
Readers who enjoy a humorous, relaxed approach to science fiction will find much to enjoy here, as Anders’ tone lands squarely between Star Trek and “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.” The Indomitable’s crew are endlessly charming as they meet each new cosmic challenge with courage.