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Review: Victories Greater Than Death (Unstoppable, 1) by Charlie Jane Anders

December 17, 2020

About the Book:

Outsmart Your Enemies. Outrun the Galaxy.

“Just please, remember what I told you. Run. Don’t stop running for anything.”

Tina never worries about being ‘ordinary’–she doesn’t have to, since she’s known practically forever that she’s not just Tina Mains, average teenager and beloved daughter. She’s also the keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon, and one day soon, it’s going to activate, and then her dreams of saving all the worlds and adventuring among the stars will finally be possible. Tina’s legacy, after all, is intergalactic–she is the hidden clone of a famed alien hero, left on Earth disguised as a human to give the universe another chance to defeat a terrible evil.

But when the beacon activates, it turns out that Tina’s destiny isn’t quite what she expected. Things are far more dangerous than she ever assumed–and everyone in the galaxy is expecting her to actually be the brilliant tactician and legendary savior Captain Thaoh Argentian, but Tina….is just Tina. And the Royal Fleet is losing the war, badly–the starship that found her is on the run and they barely manage to escape Earth with the planet still intact.

Luckily, Tina is surrounded by a crew she can trust, and her best friend Rachel, and she is still determined to save all the worlds. But first she’ll have to save herself.

My Thoughts:

Wow. I loved this. What a fantastic YA Sci-fi. It’s about friends and what it means to be remembered after death. It’s about who we are and who we want to be. And it’s about love, loss and believing in something greater than yourself.

Tina – fake human – is finally rescued by the people who put her on earth. She’s a clone of the great Captain Thaoh Argentian. It’s a lot to live up to. But Tina is not Thaoh. She’s just Tina. And on board the spaceship that is headed for disaster she can’t be the hero they desperately needed.

Still, the spaceship is under attack and they need more crew to man the battle stations. Tina’s best friend Rachel (proper human) comes up with a great (terrible) idea. Bring on board more human teenagers… genius’s and they can help. Tina fears this means they will be put at risk. But the crew needs every body they can get. Soon Tina is working with Rachel and her four new human friends to save the ship and possibly the universe. And the battle is far from over… It’s worse than anyone can possibly imagine.

This is a fantastic science fiction. Brilliantly written. The worldbuilding is detailed and unique. The alien lifeforms are clever, interesting and deftly explained. At no point do you feel swamped in lengthy data-dumps or long descriptions of landscape. It’s a fun and horrific tale. The world, universe and space ships are believable and it is easy to get swept away in this story. Following Tina’s journey lets the universe build from Tina’s eyes as well as the minds of her friends. Her expectations and memories verses the expectations of her human’s friends and the memories of her alien friends. There is also a taste of horror in the evil they are facing and a thriller in the race to get there first.

Tina’s development in figuring out who she truly is faces hurdles from without and within. From her human friends and alien ones. What does she really believe in? And who? Her friends are with her every step of the way, but it’s tough to learn the person you think you should be is not the person you are.

Jump on this story as soon as it is out (April 13, 2021). I completely recommend it. You can pre-order it now. This book does what all good sci-fi should. Make you think. Make you question. Make you believe.

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