Contract of Defiance (Spectras Arise Trilogy #1)
by Tammy Salyer
Review Copy: ARC
Winner of the 2010 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Contest for best action/thriller. Finalist in the Kindle Book Review 2012 Best Indie Book Contest for science fiction/fantasy.
In a few hundred years, the Algol system becomes humanity’s new home. The question is: Is it a better one? When a crew of arms smugglers botches their latest job, Corps-deserter and crewmember, Aly Erikson, is separated from her brother, the only person she can trust, and left behind to fight for her life. In the aftermath, as she tries to piece together what happened, a crew of roughneck settlers pressgang her into a dangerous mission in the heart of Corps territory. Time is running out to get back everything she’s lost: her crew, her brother, her options. But no one is taking her gun.
I couldn't help but find small hints of my beloved Firefly characters among the rag-tag crew of the Sphynx. Although this would be a much more serious version of it. The stakes are high for main character Aly. Her brother is missing and he's all she has in the universe. She joins, albeit not quite willingly, a crew with like-minded goals and a similar grudge against the Admin. They, too, have people they care about missing, and it's suspected they may be in the same place. So while they may not quite be allies, the enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that jazz.
I really enjoyed Aly. She's a little stilted in the emotions department, something I hope to see her work on in future books, but she sure as heck is tough and capable. Her past activities (she was a smuggler) may make her moral compass seem a little wonky also, but it's not a black and white world and even though she's no angel, she's someone you'd definitely want at your back/side or front in a fight.
If I were to be critical of anything, I really would have liked a little more romance. Although there's a foundation for it here, it's blink-and-you'll-miss-it in terms of actual action.
Still, a strong start and I'll be moving on to book two, Contract of Betrayal, very soon.