We’re all familiar with the chosen-one trope. We get chapters describing the hero’s humble origins before someone shows up to tell them they’re meant for greater things, and then the hero has to grapple with that idea before accepting they are in fact the chosen one. But in Charlie Jane Anders’s Victories Greater Than Death, our hero, Tina, subverts the usual pattern.
Tina already knows she’s the clone of a courageous, alien hero, Captain Argentian. She knows that her destiny is to return to the Royal Fleet and help fight against a terrible enemy. Things go wrong for Tina pretty quickly once she’s aboard the Indomitable: the ship is damaged, they need to bring on some human teams to fill out the crew, and Tina isn’t able to regain Captain Argentian’s memories, only her general knowledge .The real question here isn’t if Tina is the chosen-one, but how she will find her own way in a galaxy when everyone already thinks they know what she’s capable of.
The description says the book is Doctor Who meets Star Wars, but I’d say it’s more Star Trek meets Becky Chamber’s Wayfarer series. We’ve got a fleet of ships that were meant to help societies around the galaxy before being diverted from their original mission to fight back against The Compassion, a genocidal group who want to kill aliens species that don’t have bilateral symmetry, as well as anyone who tries to stop them. In the midst of this, we get to see an incredibly imaginative array of aliens, from the Rosaei who are made of rock and flesh to the Airbentors whose skeletons are on the exterior of their bodies.
This is a fast paced book full of adventure, mysteries, and even a little romance. Tina is a hero who’s grappling with questions about who she’s supposed to be that I think are really compelling. The book also ends with my absolute favorite science fiction trope, and has me anxiously awaiting the next book in the series to see where Charlie Jane Anders takes it next.
Are you going to check out Victories Greater Than Death? And what other great sci-fi novels are you enjoying. Let us know in the comments or on social media.
Thanks to Netgalley and Tor Teen for giving us a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.