Books : reviews

Emily Tesh.
Some Desperate Glory.
Orbit. 2023

rating : 2.5 : great stuff
review : 17 December 2023

Some Desperate Glory is a thrillingly told space opera about the wreckage of war, the family you find and the path you must forge when every choice is stripped from you.

All her life, Kyr has trained for the day she can avenge the destruction of planet Earth. Raised on Gaea Station alongside the last scraps of humanity, she is one of the best warriors of her generation, the sword of a dead planet.

But when Command assigns her brother to certain death and relegates Kyr to the nursery to bear sons, she knows she must take humanity’s revenge into her own hands. Alongside her brother’s brilliant but seditious friend, and a lonely, captive alien, Kyr must escape from everything she’s ever known. If she succeeds, she will find a universe far more complicated than she was taught and far more wondrous than she could ever have imagined.

Kyr is a dedicated and loyal soldier on Gaea Station, pushing herself and her team hard, so that one day they can help avenge the destroyed Earth. But then she meets a captured alien, leaves Gaea Station, and experiences the strangeness of the larger universe. And then something totally unexpected happens.

This is a great space opera, as Kyr, not a very pleasant protagonist at all, keeps getting her world-view changed. And the plot keeps making right-angled turns just when you think you know where it might be going. It’s a great page-turner.

It’s a fascinating tale of fanaticism, second chances, growing up, what decisions to make, who has the right to make them, and whether choosing some appalling action is justified if you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that making any other choice would result in even worse outcomes.