Review by Booklist Review
Tina is a typical teenager--except that she's the clone of an extraterrestrial military hero and has waited all her life to rejoin her people and take up the mantle of her legendary predecessor. The first aliens to show up, however, want her dead, kick-starting a tightly plotted action-adventure that continues to build momentum until the final page. Once Tina reunites with the virtuous Royal Fleet (think Star Trek's Starfleet), she recruits her best friend and four other super-genius teens to help crew their starship. And as the six Earthlings race a sect of genocidal defectors for a mysterious MacGuffin, they hone their skills in a series of expeditions and battles, all while searching for their own places in the universe. The found family they form is undoubtedly the highlight here, with a strong thematic focus on friendship. Like most elements of this novel, the world building is strategically light, surrendering depth in exchange for accessibility and excitement. Anders keeps the tone breezy--drawing on Douglas Adams--and doesn't clutter pages with detail but provides just enough to give her universe and scenes sufficient framework to support the thrilling set pieces and notes of emotional resonance. The romance between Tina and her trans crewmate, Elza, strikes an especially powerful chord. A fresh, fast-paced, and unabashedly queer space opera that will take teen readers for a raucous joyride.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
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.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
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
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
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) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.