For the first time ever, the Quatra Fleet Academy is accepting students from all 4 planets occupied by the Tridian people. Settler children from Loos, Chetire and Deva and children of Tri journey to the secretive academy with hopes of becoming officers in the elite Quatra Fleet, and protecting the solar system from annihilation by the Specter species.
Morgan beautifully weaves together the lives of her ensemble cast in this story about students forging new lives for themselves in this exclusive boarding school. She manages to write characters that anyone can relate to, and you can’t help but hope for the best for them. We got to struggle with Vesper as she grappled with her expectations of herself. Arran’s anxiety and insecurity is something so many young adults can identify with. Cormak takes the concept of hiding behind a mask to a whole new level. And Orelia’s problems may not be the most relatable, but they work to make all of the characters seem so much more human.
The timing of this novel was so well done; the suspense and anxiety was eating at me. There was a point in the middle of the novel that had no action, but was make-or-break for Cormak and it literally had me sweating. The point of view rotates every chapter, and I appreciate that time moves continuously for every person. The rise and fall of conflict in each characters chapters synchronize so well with their friends. It helps to reinforce the supportive dynamic Squadron 20 shares.
I wish the blurb on the back had focused less on “finding love.” It’s a high school story, of course people are going to hook up. But the romance wasn’t the center of the story by a long shot. There were so many other themes that were explored more thoroughly than romance, like classicism and war ethics. On that note, the romance that was present was uplifting in a story that couldn’t carried a lot of weight. The relationships the cast formed helped push them to be better, instead of being toxic and hindering them.
It was a quick read, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It lacked the excessive cheese factor that I thought plagued The 100. The characters were so easy to relate to and so likeable. Their motivations were clear and they worked hard to push each other to be better. Watching them grow over the course of the semester was such a joy. I give this book a 5/5. I literally cannot find anything to complain about.
- 5/5 stars
- great character & plot development
- really fun read