The first entry in a unique science fiction series that introduces the Near-Earth Orbital Guard—NeoG—a military force patrolling and protecting space inspired by the real-life mission of the U.S. Coast Guard.
There are plenty of TV shows and books out there for folks who want gritty, high-stakes action and intrigue. A Pale Light in the Black is not that. While it does have a mystery subplot with sabotage and murder, most of the book’s action covers the all-consuming Games. And while this might seem boring compared to alien invasions and intergalactic warfare, the Games make the perfect backdrop for the real focus of the book ... Far from boring, Wagers’ focus on character growth and relationships is refreshing, providing a welcome palate cleanser from the grimdark dramas that have come to dominate much of the science fiction landscape ... all this isn’t to say that the book isn’t exciting. Wagers has a gift for describing action, especially in the sequences surrounding the Boarding Games’ cage match-style fights ... a thrilling and heartwarming ride.
The big mystery establishes high stakes and the exciting competition sequences of the Games make this book a surprisingly fun read, but this is a character-driven story above all else. Every character is someone readers will enjoy spending time with, and exploring the characters’ relationships is the heart of the tale. Aside from a few stereotypical villains, no one is a bad guy. Wagers’ first book in the NeoG series is an unexpected and refreshing twist on military science fiction.
... [a] fun, feel-good space opera ... There’s surprisingly little tension in the political story line; readers will be more invested in the interpersonal relationships as Max attempts to win over the crew and be accepted into their chosen family. This effortlessly entertaining novel is sure to have readers coming back for the next installment.