Rating:

5 Small Stars
Beyond Cloud Nine
833

Our hero or should I say heroine, is a drug addict! That right there would throw a lot of people off from reading this book. And the excuse she gives for taking the stuff, Spark, is no better than any other drug addict. Yet, this young woman manages to stay in uniform and even excels at what she does, partly due to the drug and partly due to her amazing piloting skills. Brooke Davis is a Japanese-American which only describes her ethnic background, but means nothing in Earth terminology since the about every previous territorial distinction has gone away. Now there are multiple factions all demanding to be heard by the United Nations. Once anything new has been discovered, every little faction now demands a piece of the pie or they will start a war.

Brook’s current job, or as Lieutenant Brooke Davis, is a star-fighter pilot. She’s an exceptional star-fighter pilot and is hoping to be accepted for the candidate program that will allow her to compete to become the first ever Faster Than Light (FTL) star-fighter pilot. Right now she is the best pilot in the Fleet and proves it time after time in encounters with whatever enemy that this or that faction throws at her. Some of her exceptional abilities come from the use of “Spark”, an illegal nanorobitic which injected into her system enhances her neural pathways in a way it effects no other human on or off the drug. She hasn’t taken Spark for a long time, but lately, she’s had to take it more often than she’d prefer, but she knows only a top notch performance will get her a dream shot at piloting the first ever FTL ship.

Oh, and one other thing, Brooke Davis, is a very angry and solitary individual carrying a lot of guilt around that makes her very antisocial. She doesn’t seem to like anyone and no one in particular likes her. Even her twin sister, Marie and Brooke don’t get along well and they haven’t spoken to each other for six or seven years. Then Brooke’s attitude gets her in very hot water. She slugs a fellow pilot just before going on a mission and disobeys standing orders which almost get her killed. She’s told to stand down and take some leave or get kicked out of the service. She doesn’t like the idea of doing either, but finally decides to head home to Earth to see her sister.

The book is very well written and has a lot of action. I don’t see why they author chose to use a female as his main character. He could have used a male just as easily. A man can have a bad attitude about everything just as easily than a woman. Still, his character Brooke works, I guess. I, personally, would prefer to read about a male in my military science fiction books because it’s harder for me to relate to a female character. I am, and will always be a male chauvinist. I also don’t see where the title has much to do with the book. It could just as well been title, “Beyond Jupiter” or something similar.

I have already got the second book, courtesy of the author and will be reading it very soon. This is exciting military science fiction. I can’t wait to see how he carries the story forward.

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