Glory Main is a fairly short but riveting science fiction/survival read with quite a few plot twists and very interesting world building. Diverse, distinct characters with a compelling plot, non-stop tension, and plenty of surprises all add up to one heck of a great book.
Story: Young, newly minted lieutenant Jandar Mortas, son of a high ranked politician, joined the space military to prove himself and fight the alien Sims. But on his first assignment, he wakes from deep sleep to find himself marooned on a strange planet with only a few survivors: a chartsman, a headshrink, and a Spartacan scout (highly trained elite but dispensable super-soldiers). Together, they quickly discover that the Sims have beat them to the planet – and their only hope of surviving both the unknown and potentially fatal flora and flauna as well as the enemy, is to find a way off the planet before being discovered. Mortas will have to utilize all of his small group’s talents, with no resources, food or water, in order to get vital enemy information back to the humans.
Even without the monumental twists at the end, this was quite an entertaining read. The story of their hardships, triumphs, and bitter setbacks were buoyed by very well drawn personalities in all the characters. Each felt very real and distinct but also as much an unknown as would be expected from a story told from one person’s POV (which I greatly appreciated – so many military sci fi have multiple POVs these days). Mortas is sensible but also doubts and though he felt a bit older than 22, I enjoyed his dialogue and was rooting for him to succeed. The other three characters were also really well fleshed out and felt ‘real’ throughout the story.
The plot itself, though starting out as a very compelling story of survival, eventually turned into something much more, with a huge shocker at the end that had me smiling, it was so unexpected. Even without the twist, I was very glad I had a chance to read the story. But upon finishing, I am now greatly looking forward the next book. There were a lot of hints at a much larger world, from politics to the enemy, that I can’t wait to see expounded upon and explored. O’Neill never gives too much away and never did the story feel overwritten. The language, descriptions, and world building never overshadowed the characters or plot and the pace was perfect throughout. Some military sci fi tend to be about the science or the war – this story was very much about the people in the war.
In all, a very thrilling read with a great ending. The next in the series can’t be published soon enough.
Reviewed from an ARC.