Victories Greater Than Death is a brilliantly queer, fast-paced, exciting, young adult sci-fi that I couldn’t recommend more to fans of Star Wars and Doctor Who. It has that brilliant combination of serious, even horrifying moments, mixed with campy fun that those series encapsulate. I had a great time with this book, and I’m so excited by young adult sci-fi heading in this direction.
Outsmart Your Enemies. Outrun the Galaxy.
Tina never worries about being ‘ordinary’—she doesn’t have to, since she’s known practically forever that she’s not just Tina Mains, average teenager and beloved daughter. She’s also the keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon, and one day soon, it’s going to activate, and then her dreams of saving all the worlds and adventuring among the stars will finally be possible. Tina’s legacy, after all, is intergalactic—she is the hidden clone of a famed alien hero, left on Earth disguised as a human to give the universe another chance to defeat a terrible evil.
But when the beacon activates, it turns out that Tina’s destiny isn’t quite what she expected. Things are far more dangerous than she ever assumed. Luckily, Tina is surrounded by a crew she can trust, and her best friend Rachel, and she is still determined to save all the worlds. But first she’ll have to save herself.
Buckle up your seatbelt for this thrilling sci-fi adventure set against an intergalactic war from international bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders.
Tina Mains has always known that she’s the clone of an intergalactic hero, left on Earth to grow up before her destiny brings her forward to fight again. Things don’t exactly go as planned, and Tina struggles with living up to her legendary predecessor. The universe needs a hero, but is it her?
This is one of those books that’s incredibly difficult to put down. It’s fast-paced, energetic, and fun. The first chapters are a little slower, but when the action starts, oh boy, does it start. The tone and pacing are very similar to Doctor Who or Star Wars, mixing darkness with those important light-hearted bonding moments. There’s also a certain level of wit and humour to the writing style that would appeal to people who love those franchises. It was a wonderful book to spend an afternoon reading, and I couldn’t stop until I’d finished it.
If you love found family, you need to pick up this book. The crew is such a delight. Every single person is unique and interesting with their own history and motivations. Even those who didn’t get a lot of page time I still strongly connected to. I love this cast so much. I especially enjoyed how diverse the representation was. This book has a main sapphic romance, neurodivergent rep, trans rep, black Brazillian rep, black British rep, Chinese rep, and Indian rep! I always love a brilliantly diverse book and Victories Greater Than Death provided.
Victories Greater Than Death features a chosen-one trope, but it completely flips it on its head, and I loved that. I don’t want to head into spoiler territory, but I love how much this book focuses on character’s autonomy and desires rather than their pre-determined destiny. They hesitate and question, they go against orders, they fight for what they believe in. They don’t need to be special or a chosen one to do the right thing. Sometimes it’s worth fighting for something no matter how the odds are stacked against you.
Sometimes you just want a fun, fast-paced read that’ll restore your hope in fighting evil fascists, and that’s the niche that Victories Greater Than Death filled for me. I had such a great time reading this book; with so many of my favourite tropes and a compelling storyline, I can’t wait for more.
CW: violence, death, mention of transphobia, mention of racism, mention of parental abuse
(Thanks to Tor Teen for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)
Charlie Jane Anders’ latest novel is The City in the Middle of the Night. She’s also the author of All the Birds in the Sky, which won the Nebula, Crawford and Locus awards, and Choir Boy, which won a Lambda Literary Award. Plus a novella called Rock Manning Goes For Broke and a short story collection called Six Months, Three Days, Five Others. Her short fiction has appeared in Tor.com, Boston Review, Tin House, Conjunctions, the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Wired Magazine, Slate, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Lightspeed, ZYZZYVA, Catamaran Literary Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and tons of anthologies. Her story “Six Months, Three Days” won a Hugo Award, and her story “Don’t Press Charges And I Won’t Sue” won a Theodore Sturgeon Award.
Charlie Jane also organizes the monthly Writers With Drinks reading series, and co-hosts the podcast Our Opinions Are Correct with Annalee Newitz.
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Victories Greater Than Death released on April 13th, so it’s the perfect time to pick this book up!