by Charlie Jane Anders

2021, 281 pages, $18.99

ISBN 978-1-250-31731-5

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Young adults are traversing the age from childhood to adulthood, an “in-between” time when they are abandoning the ways of toddlers and learning how to be fully functioning adults. What impacts them most? Well, for starters, their sense of worth, self-satisfaction, pride — in this case as well, questions about their own gender identity. Their very physical-emotional makeup is at stake.

For Tina Mains, not only does she have to put up with growing up, not to mention deal with bullying, but realizes she is more than a Mains. Tina is actually Royal Fleet Captain Thaoh Argentian, of the Indomitable starship, in a desperate search for the Talgan stone. She questions her very existence. How was she cloned as a deceased captain of a sword ship, who recruits several gifted young adults of earth, including Elza, Rachael, Yiwei, and Keziah?

Argentian’s mission: to thwart the evil being, Marrant, from capturing the Talgan stone and devising a way to commit genocide on humanity.

Tina/Argentian manages to recruit a brilliant engineer/troubleshooter on her journey  — Elza (whom Argentian/Tina falls in love with), while Rachael and her other colleagues devise a method to divert Marrant’s plans and save a species of intelligent life from Marrant’s destructive touch.

Yikes! There are a lot of emotions, dangers, tests of character — and the saga is going to continue in subsequent sequels planned by Anders. Where will this space opera continue, and how does the story conclude, as Marrant remains alive?