Terminal Alliance is the first book in a new series by fantasy author and master storyteller Jim C. Hines.
When I heard about his launch into space (so to speak), I immediately added it to my “to read list.”
I’m always down for a good space opera. Throw in some sharp-witted humor, and a well-plotted conspiracy in the mix; then you’ve really got my attention.
The premise is wholly engaging with just the perfect amount of absurd.
An advanced race travels to Earth to make “First contact” and invite humans to join an alliance of other sentient beings. But, humans are in the midst of an apocalypse because of course we are. Half the population’s gone feral and more likely to eat your face than talk treaty.
For the truly geeky, Terminal Alliance calls to mind the best things about military sci-fi and space operas. Humans have been saved (sorta) from the plague ravaging the planet. The Krakau – who could’ve just beat a path across the galaxy – instead found a way to give humans a second chance. A century later, most “fixed” humans accept a post working for The Alliance but since humans aren’t all that bright; their role is usually well, limited. The other sentient beings think humans are one step away from going batshit and trying to eat everyone again. It tends to make some humans a bit, touchy. Which of course means you visit the brig before this tale is through.
This action-adventure story starts off like all good soon-to-be unraveling conspiracies, by introducing a character acting outside the norm. You first meet Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos when reawakened and deciding on her new name. The name she chooses has plenty of baggage and a secret just waiting to come bite our intrepid heroine(ish) in the ass. Because the history behind her name is murky and the true cause of the apocalypse not what they’ve been led to believe.
Hines, cleverly reveals key information about humans, the reawakening, history, and the Krakau without ever overplaying his hand. His quick-witted and often tongue in cheek descriptions keep the tone from being too bleak. That’s needed because Mops and her crew soon find themselves aboard a ship full of murdered Krakau and shambling/feral humans. To make matters worse, Krakau Central Authority hears the word “bioweapon” and decides the best solution is to wipe Krakau spaceship Pufferfish and them out.
Terminal Alliance is a steady building thrill ride with just the right amount of humor to keep the irony high and imagery fresh. The mystery at the heart of their adventure has twists and turns that keep you guessing. The featured crew members and their haphazard naming conventions all play well off one another to build both this world and the character dynamic in hilariously compelling ways. It’s a great read and a strong first installment for the new series.
Oh, I forgot to mention, Mops and her remaining shipmates don’t know the first thing about flying a ship. They may be in the Earth Mercenary Corps, but they’re the sanitation crew…
Terminal Alliance is available now and if you like Douglas Adams, I think this may be right up your alley. If you give it a try drop DHTG a comment and let us know what you think!
FTC Disclosure: I received access to an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for a review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review because no one tells me what to do…ever.
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