At fifteen, Alexis Carew has to face an age old problem – she’s a girl, and only a boy can inherit the family’s vast holdings. Her options are few. She must marry and watch a stranger run the lands, or become a penniless tenant and see the lands she so dearly loves sold off. Yet there may be another option, one that involves becoming a midshipman on a shorthanded spaceship with no other women.
This is one of these books which I really find difficult to rate. I found the book blurb interesting enough to have a go at it and the cover picture with sails in space enough of a put-off to wonder if I should really buy this book. I think that pretty much sums up my opinion of this book as well. Very split.
The story is a good one and it is fairly well written and implemented. Unfortunately this is really science fiction without the science. Now I could live with that if it was not so that the concepts introduced are so ludicrous. Sails in space? Okay, sailing on the solar winds is still a half plausible idea but then the author goes to great lengths to make everything feel like some old sailing ship in space. They have people running up and down masts putting up and down sails because it saves weight compared to doing it with machinery. Seriously? I was not impressed by these parts of the story. It borders more towards fantasy than science.
The core story is a good one though and one that I would probably have liked a lot more if the background setting would not have been so ludicrous. I really liked following Alexis Carew through here initiation into the Royal Navy and her adventures. I was afraid that there would be an enormous focus on the gender bit and it is of course quite present but in reasonable doses. Alexis earns the respect of her fellow crewmates rather quickly.
On the whole a quite well done book which unfortunately looses a star due to the science part as far as I am concerned. I am still quite split whether or not I will pick up the next one. I could probably live with the absence of any form of reasonable science. However, what I believe will be one or he main characters in the next book is briefly introduced towards the end of this one and I have to say that I disliked the character tremendously. From the last parts of this book and the blurb of the next one I get the feeling that the next book will play the gender card as well as the ass-hole-high-raking-officer card a lot and I do not really fancy those kind of stories. On one hand I would quite like to see where Alexis adventures leads her but on the other hand I am a bit put off by the direction things seem to be going.