Contract of Defiance by Tammy Salyer
Book One in the Spectras Arise Trilogy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a well-written book, clean, with fast-paced action that rarely stops for breath and great description that doesn’t fear blood and gore. The military setting benefits from the author’s military background and there are interesting science and medical details science fiction readers will appreciate. Told in the first person (a point of view I don’t usually like) this one pulled me into the protagonist’s mind. Aly Erikson is a hard-ass soldier-turned-criminal and a mixed up mess. When a job goes badly wrong and her brother David gets captured by the Admin, she wakes up in the medical facility on the wrong ship with a crew who has their own objectives. All Aly cares about is finding her own crew so she can rescue David. The story that follows slowly reveals the political set up in this part of the universe providing a wide space opera backdrop for the rest of the series.
Aly Erikson’s development is great and distinctive for the amount of conflict she inspires. She’s impatient, aggressive, and just so slow to work out who to trust with her loyalty. A romantic angle is understated and although I would have enjoyed more emphasis on this, the plot develops the relationship well. I loved how Aly got so many backs up, and connected with so many others. She had to prove herself, demonstrate her true motivations by her actions and the choices she made. This girl has intelligence, guts, and grit. Character wise, my only criticism is that the back story for the captain/surgeon of Aly’s new crew needs a little more development to explain her combat skills, but I suspect there is more story to come. Overall, the characterization is well drawn and balanced, baddies as well as goodies, and everyone has their own peculiarity. The main antagonist is just plain scary.
Contract of Defiance is a great read, brimming with military strategy and tactics, masses of conflict and pistol-drawn battles, and a new galactic way of living to discover that caters for the privileged while suppressing the communities existing on its fringes.
Exciting, riveting stuff. I can highly recommend this book.
(Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I also purchased a copy.)