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Light Years:  The Edwardian Crickter Media Review

Light Years: The Edwardian Crickter Media Review

Author: EdwardianCricketer/Wednesday, April 24, 2019/Categories: Blog, Book Review

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Light Years, by Kass Morgan. New York; Boston. Little, Brown and Company, 2018, first edition. 377 pages, hardback. ISBN: 978-0-316-51044-8. $17.99.

 

SUMMARY

A hotshot pilot, an identity thief, an outsider, and a spy. These four Academy cadets must put aside their differences if they are to defend their world from a cunning foe.

SPOILER WARNING

This review contains spoilers, including revealing the ending of the book.

Cormak is from Deva, a world with a poisonous atmosphere, where he delivers black market water. He never dreamed of going to the Quatra Fleet Academy but, after his brother dies in a mining accident, leaving instructions that Cormak should steal his identity and take his place, that’s exactly what happens.

Arran is from icy Chetire and was only days from signing a ten-year contract with a mining company when he got his acceptance letter from the Quatra Fleet Academy. He hates leaving his hard-working mother behind, but his phenomenally high test score being his one shot of getting off Chetire is why she worked so hard. Then he meets Dash while waiting for the shuttle.

Orelia has a secret. Claiming to be from Loos, Orelia is a Specter from Sylvan on a mission to find the coordinates of the Academy to send back to her people so they can find and destroy the next generation of Quatra Fleet officers before they can attack her people again. Only, the Academy is lying to its cadets, claiming it was the Specters who attacked first.

Vesper wants to be the captain of her squadron. Her mother, the Admiral, expects it after using her influence to get Vesper into the Academy when Vesper didn’t make the grade. When she only makes pilot, Vesper feels she has work harder to prove to the Academy, her mother, and to herself that she’s officer material.

Cormak, as Rex, is the captain. Arran is the technology officer. Orelia is the intelligence officer. And Vesper is the pilot. These four are Squadron 20 and they train along side each other in a simulated spacecraft. As a team, they compete against other squadrons to get the chance to take a real ship on a mission. In working together, they overcome their personal demons, as well as face friendship and romance both found and lost. They face racism, drug use, peer pressure, and the pressure of military academy life. And along the way, they find out who their real friends are. Only, things aren't always what they seem.

Arran forms a romantic relationship with Dash, whose father is adamantly opposed to the Academy’s new rule of allowing Settlers or Edgers into the Academy. Arran, and all the other Settlers, has to face the racist attitudes of some the Tridians, who’ve grown accustomed to having the Academy to themselves, which tests his relationship with Dash.

Cormak is almost caught in a simple DNA test and bets against his own team for money to pay Sol, his old boss on Deva, to change the medical records. He throws a battle against another squadron and leaves Vesper thinking it was her fault they lost, pushing her, with her self-confidence issues, almost to the point of drug use.

Orelia forms a friendly relationship with her Advanced Counterintelligence instructor, Zafir Prateek. And she finds that as she trains along side her enemies, she’s growing sympathetic to them, leaving her sometimes confused and at odds with her mission.

Vesper is furious when she finds out that Cormak bet against their team, losing her trust in him. And that she had to find out from West, her racist boyfriend, only makes matters worse. In the end, she forgives Cormak but not West, with whom she breaks up.

Arran’s relationship with Dash comes to a heartbreaking end when Dash’s father threatens to pull him out of the Academy if he doesn’t break up with Arran.

After getting to know her squadron mates, Orelia begins to regret having sent the location of the Academy to her homeworld. When Squardron 20 earns its place on real mission, it is her knowledge of Specter protocols that saves them, and the Academy, from a Specter ship. And the book ends with Orelia being arrested.

OPINION

Light Years is an excellent book. Kass Morgan very subtly builds an interesting world without getting terribly deep into it. Instead, Morgan builds her characters and the book becomes a character study into the minds, hearts, and lives of, primarily, the four main characters. Yet, through them she lets the reader into the lives, if somewhat superficially, of other characters connected to the main characters.

Light Years is an interesting mix of sci-fi and espionage without the technobabble of which some sci-fi is guilty. She keeps the reader engaged with the characters and seems to have her finger on the pulse of middle teens. Their dialogue, external and internal, seems genuine. Morgan’s chapter structure works very well to make the reader want to read the next chapter. You want to know what happens next.

 

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