It's been a while since I read a sci-fi book, so I thought it was about time I got a start on that. For the last several months, I've been listening to Writing Excuses, a podcast featuring several well-known authors, none of which I've read with enough consistency to know, if I read their books at all. One of them was a man by the name of Brandon Sanderson, who I learned is actually rather famous.

Knowing by his own conversations with other authors on the podcast that Mr. Sanderson tended to write what he called "mercenary schlock" books, I didn't have high hopes. Honestly, I figured this book would turn into a military drama that would lose my interest and my understanding in a maze of fight scenes and military jargon, and I could safely DNF this one and feel no guilt at all.

I was wrong.

On so many levels.

You might remember being a kid and reading a book like... National Velvet, or The Black Stallion, or even Warriors: Into the Wild or Redwall, where the main character wanted something so badly that you could practically taste it. When I was a kid, I'd never encountered that kind of longing and passion before, and I LOVED it.

In this book, the main character wants to be a fighter pilot SO BADLY that I felt like I was having a heart attack. No kidding. It's been quite a while since a book had me on the edge of my seat like this one did, but man oh man did I savor every second of that.

Vivid, living characters. Heart-wrenching action. A world I can believe really exists out there somewhere.

This book is something like... Ender's Game meets Dragonriders of Pern, but without the fantasy elements. It's gorgeous, and I love it. If I were to turn around and read it again, I'd probably find some flaws, but this book kept me glued to the page from the beginning to the end without fail, and I'm not ashamed to say that doesn't happen often.

Thank you for proving me wrong, Mr. Sanderson. I needed this.

Five out of five, I can't think of a single thing that needs improving.

If you like fast-paced narrative, individual and lively characters, and snappy dialogue, this is definitely the book for you. Pick it up and give it a try. Let me know what you think.

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