*Image and book provided via NetGalley for an honest review.
As someone who was nearly murdered in utero, Sienna knows you gotta fight to survive. It's written into her soul by the scars she still bears from the attempted homicide. Adopted by a military couple, one of whom was the medic who saved her, Sienna grew up in North Carolina and was trained from an early age on how to survive even the strangest of circumstances. When she becomes the youngest person made Army Colonel since the Civil War and the youngest woman made Army Colonel ever, she pulls the strings she needs to get back to her mother's homeland, Khorasan, and find her cousin, the man who killed her mother and tried to kill her as well.
This novella has certainly peaked my interest and I'm definitely wanting to continue reading the following books in this series. It was a little difficult to get into at first. The first several chapters like to skip forward in time, giving us a survey of Sienna's life and the world we're in. I remember being a bit disappointed that the book didn't center around the events in Antarctica that introduced the Ansible, that is later used for Sienna's weaponry. Instead, the next chapter skips ahead to the aftermath when her team, except her boyfriend, are fully recovered and she's a Colonel.
The story we end up getting to focus on is her first real attempt at revenge. There are some flashbacks mixed in as well as a spiritual journey when she's out cold and her body has been fused with Ansible technology. The mission that she's taken her team, The Dogs, out for is supposed to be a quick grab-and-go. It almost succeeds. Along the way we get to learn a lot of important information about her team and why they are her team. This team is crazy in a way that balances out everyone else's crazy. T-rex, Snakelips, Whitebread, Nobu and Sarge all have distinct personalities and quirks that, to me, never feel like caricatures. I really felt they were real people.
The world is near-future Military Sci-Fi so you get some interesting technologies, most of them medical and warfare. We are introduced to the world in a time when that warfare technology is going through a possible scientific upgrade, thanks to the Ansible. The medical technology was always credited to DARPA and was frequently seen due to several opening chapters taking place in a Veteran's Hospital But there were also little technologies that I liked as well. Sienna's West Point class ring will also display little holograms of her achievements in and out of the academy. The first hospital we see has service bots for grunt work (though the way Ennis treated the one, I expect a robot uprising in a future book). So the world is similar, yet different. The technology is interesting, and it feels like we're learning about the new technology at the same pace as the characters.
This was an interesting read. Once I got into the book, I greatly appreciated Sienna's intelligence. She was not a character I had to yell at for doing something stupid. Some of the transitions felt a little disorienting, but, overall, I am intrigued by this world and its characters. Each novella will take the point of view of a different character and the next character is Sarge, Sienna's adoptive uncle who clearly knows more than he lets on.
I am very entertained by this world, despite some of the writing being a bit rough. It does get a little bloody, and there is a scene with a child bomber, so probably not a book for the faint of heart. But if you're interested in starting a new novella series in this genre, I do recommend picking this one up. It's definitely a good start to, hopefully, a great series. 3.5 Hoots!