Scorpia Kaiser has always stood in Corvus's shadow until the day her older brother abandons their family to participate in a profitless war. However, becoming the heir to her mother's smuggling operation is not an easy transition for the always rebellious, usually reckless, and occasionally drunk pilot of the Fortuna, an aging cargo ship. But when a deal turns deadly and Corvus returns from the war, Scorpia's plans to take over the family business are interrupted, and the Kaiser siblings are forced to make a choice: take responsibility for their family's involvement in a devastating massacre or lay low and hope it blows over. Too bad Scorpia was never any good at staying out of a fight.
Family issues bring humor to the heavier themes of xenophobic planets and war crimes, and alternating chapters between Scorpia’s and Corvus’s points of view provide a broader perspective on this fascinating galaxy ... High energy, high stakes, and lots of high notes will give readers who enjoy Catherynne M. Valente’s Space Opera a new volume on which to crash-land.
While the storyline is a bit predictable, the narrative is powered by a cast of deeply developed characters. Scorpia, in particular, is impressively multidimensional—a barely functioning alcoholic who has major issues involving her demanding mother. The stoic point of view of Corvus—who has witnessed horrors during the war—complements Scorpia’s more demonstrative narrative and gives the story a nice tonal balance. The nonstop action and varying levels of tension make this an unarguable page-turner, and the ending, while satisfying, is a perfect jumping-off point to another much larger adventure to come.
Merbeth’s gritty debut, which launches a space opera trilogy, sets the stage for a promising series ... Merbeth’s multiple narrators and plotlines converge beautifully into a suspenseful tale of family. The characters are distinct and grounded, and each interaction is filled with purpose and emotion that brings all of them, regardless of differences, into the fray together. SF fans who have been waiting for a crime family spin on space opera will find nothing but joy in this whirlwind story.