Friday, July 1, 2016

James Review -- Vicky Peterwald: Rebel

This week I decided to review Vicky Peterwald: Rebel by Mike Shepherd.

The story begins with the alliance led by the series namesake, Grand Duchess, daughter of the Emperor and naval officer, along with many of the leaders of the Imperial Navy carrying out a covert campaign to gather the forces needed to oppose the Empress’ ongoing plans to seize power while repairing the massive damage that plot has done to the Imperial economy in the outer regions of the empire.

After exaggerating her injuries sustained during an assassination attempt to stall for time when she is ordered to report to the Imperial capital of Geenfield and convincing most of a fleet loyal to the Empress that was moving to occupy St. Petersburg, the base of Vicky’s movement, The Duchess leads a convoy to a nearby system but even though Imperial law grants free trade between Imperial worlds, a fleet from the Emperess’ security forces moves to block them, leading to a small battle.

And, on the way home, Vicky’s forces encounter an attack fleet led by one of the most infamous and brutal leaders loyal to her stepmother. The navy manages to delay the attack but it is made clear that the forces of the Empress intend to destroy St. Petersburg rather than conquer it, so a desperate race begins to rally a fleet that can destroy the attack force, but even though the fleet loyal to the Grand Duchess has more experience in battle, those loyal to the Empress has an overwhelming advantage in numbers. With both Vicky and her step-mother accompanying their respective fleets, the decisive battle in the undeclared civil war begins. But there are other forces in the shadows working towards their own plans for the future of the empire even as the lasers and warships burn…

I give this book 8 out of 10. The author always writes great space battles in my experience, and this is the first Vicky Peterwald book to have space battles larger than short skirmishes. However, I feel there were a number of sections that could have used more detail. Also, the story is very biased. We have no insight into the motivations of the Empress and I feel that good villains are those where even if you utterly hate the villain, the reader has some idea why they made the choices and took the stances that they did. Here it looks like the Empress is just causing misery and seeking power for the fun of it. 

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