A teen anticipates her true form in this fast-paced YA debut from Anders (All the Birds in the Sky, for adults). Though she’s been living on Earth for the last 17 years, attending school and battling bullies as a pale-skinned human, Tina Mains is actually a purple alien clone with a buzzing beacon implant. She knows that when the rescue beacon activates, signaling her maturity, her comrades will collect her. When it happens, though, she barely escapes enemy the Compassion (“ ‘compassion,’ as in ‘putting you out of your misery’ ”). En route to the HMSS Indomitable with her human best friend, Rachael, in tow, Tina learns that she’s the clone of decorated alien captain Thaoh Argentian, she’s boarding the ship Thoah previously commanded, and she’s completely unprepared to step into the captain’s shoes. While Thoah’s knowledge returns to Tina, personal memories remain missing, and the teen struggles to live up to her crew members’ expectations, then seeks her own route to intergalactic peace alongside a ragtag, variously inclusive group of eclectic teens. Exploring themes of identity and destiny against an intricately built universe, Anders folds it all into a revel of action and love. Ages 13–up. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh. (Apr.)
Gr 9 Up—A space opera with a charming and diverse crew, Anders's YA debut will find a home with fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff's Aurora Rising. After rounds of failed IVF, Tina's mom eagerly accepted a baby alien, with the knowledge that when the rescue beacon activated, her new daughter would go with the Royal Fleet to save the galaxy. Given genetic cloaking to hide her lavender skin and alien DNA, Tina grew up white and relatively normal—until the day her beacon goes off in a public parking lot. The Compassion soldiers who track her down aren't there to rescue her, and she and her best friend barely escape into space. The Royal Fleet is at war against the Compassion, a genocidal fringe group, and Tina is a clone of their captain returned to them. When the process to return her memories doesn't work, Tina will have to fulfill her great destiny not as an experienced war hero, but as herself. Anders's writing is occasionally jarring, but the action sequences and humor make for a compelling read. Tina's character grapples with everything from navigating romance to the moral consequences of doling out death and destruction as a cog in an intergalactic war. The human cast is diverse in race and ethnicity, and Tina has a f/f romance. VERDICT The story's easy affirmation of gender identities, sexual orientations, and mental illness give this space opera a hopepunk flavor that will be refreshing to many teens. Recommended for general purchase.—Emmy Neal, Lake Forest Lib., IL
A teenage girl and her trustworthy crew must save the galaxy in this space opera adventure.
A clone of a legendary galactic hero, Tina has always known that one day, the rescue beacon inside her chest would go off, triggering one group of aliens to claim her as their own and another to start to hunt her down and kill her. Bored with life on Earth, Tina wants to leave more than anything. But when her beacon finally ignites, the stakes of her existence suddenly become very real. Though she and her best friend, Rachael, are taken from Earth by the Royal Fleet, a rival alien organization known as the Compassion is set on killing Tina and wreaking havoc across the universe. Having not exactly lived up to being an exact copy of Capt. Thaoh Argentian, the woman she was cloned from, Tina must forge her own path toward greatness and intergalactic peace. Fortunately, she has a talented crew to assist in her mission—an ensemble diverse in race, gender, and species. Tina’s human guise appears White; her natural skin color is purple. Heartfelt themes of acceptance and self-discovery weave through a breakneck plot and intriguing worldbuilding. However, the large cast leaves some characters feeling two-dimensional, and some dialogue and plot points seem far-fetched despite the speculative genre.
Grand, intriguing ideas built on a somewhat shaky foundation. (glossary) (Science fiction. 14-18)
Praise for Victories Greater Than Death
"Charlie Jane Anders has a rich and delicious talent—and a wickedly funny voice that the world really needs right now.” —LeVar Burton, Reading Rainbow, Roots, Star Trek
“Victories Greater Than Death is a gorgeous romp through the galaxy, full of fascinating aliens, true friendship, swashbuckling, space battles, and love.” —Holly Black, New York Times bestselling author
“A stunning, strange, and highly entertaining novel, one I hope ushers in a new wave of YA science fiction.” —Mark Oshiro
“I loved it, so much fun - you have more ideas in a paragraph than most people put in an entire book [and] a fun spaceship adventure. Wonderful work!” —Javier Grillo-Marxuach, writer and co-executive producer of The 100
“Victories Greater Than Death bursts off the page, brimming with life, love, humor and adventure. It's Charlie Jane Anders's galaxy, we just live in it.” —Amie Kaufman, The Illuminae Files, The Aurora Cycle.
“A story of enduring friendship, fighting for what's right, and the complications of claiming destiny an effervescent, fast-paced journey through the stars.” —Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent series and Chosen Ones.
“It's properly, wickedly exciting - I devoured it! How Anders packs so much power and energy into her prose is astonishing. These characters - and the adrenalin, the sheer excitement- will live on in my head long after the last page. Glorious. And the most amazing thing of all is her imagination - to think of a new evil superpower for a villain should be impossible. Completely impossible. Everything's been done, every sodding thing. Until this arrives. Dazzling. Horrifying. GENIUS. A beautiful book. I loved it, can you tell?!” —Russell T. Davies
“Charlie Jane Anders's Victories Greater than Death will refresh and rehydrate you. Funny, tender, vivacious, it focuses on saving the universe by making friends and fighting fascists... This book bubbles over with charisma.” —The New York Times
“A thrilling intergalactic adventure perfect for fans of classic sci-fi storytelling.” —BookPage, Most Anticipated YA 2021
"Charlie Jane Anders has been quietly building a reputation as one of the most imaginative writers working in sci-fi and fantasy today, and Victories Greater Than Death just confirms it." —BookBub, Best Fantasy and SciFi 2021
"Charlie Jane Anders has written the super-fun, out-there fantasy sci-fi space opera adventure that we all need to lose ourselves in right now." —Ms. Magazine, Most Anticipated Reads 2021
“Anders's multi-faceted and sparklingly distinct worldbuilding...make this book such a smashing read.” —Shelf Awareness
“Anders’ storytelling is fleet-footed and clever, bursting with fun quips . . .” —New York Journal of Books
“This compulsive read perfectly captures teenage voices and feelings even as it travels from a normal teenage life on Earth to galactic battles.” —Buzzfeed
Praise for Charlie Jane Anders and The City in the Middle of the Night
The City in the Middle of the Night has been nominated for a 2019 Hugo in the Best Novel category
“Charlie Jane Anders’ imagination is one of the most vital in science fiction.” —Brian K. Vaughan
"A stunning novel." —Edan Lepucki, author of Woman No. 17
“Wildly inventive.” —Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife
“Like a classic from another timeline… This book has notes of Ursula K. Le Guin and Philip Pullman.” —Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
"I highly recommend [it].” —Anthony Rapp, Broadway star
“I f—ing love this book. It is really, really breathtaking.”—Daveed Diggs, Grammy and Tony Award-winning actor