Genre : YA Science Fiction
Publisher : Tor Teen
Length : 288 pages
Format : eARC
Rating : 4 stars
Publication Date: April 13th 2021
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 Rachael, and she is still determined to save all the worlds. But first she’ll have to save herself.
Tina Mains is not your average teenager. First of all, she’s not human but a clone of a dead legendary alien. One day, her safety beacon will activate and she will leave her boring and ordinary life to have space adventures.
Once the highly awaited day comes, Tina is finally able to leave Earth. However, she quickly realizes that things are not exactly what she expected. She might be the clone of a legend but it doesn’t mean that she’s one, at least, not yet. The memories of her past life that were supposed to reappear once in space are lost. Tina now simply knows a lot of fact about space but she can’t remember a single event from her life as a legend. It also doesn’t help that a galactic war is going on and that her failure to remember anything is not going to help the Royal Fleet. Thankfully, Tina is not alone, she has her best (human) friend with her plus her new found family of human teenagers and aliens. Together, they will end the war… or die trying.
Victories Greater than Death is a fun and fast-paced YA space adventure. It’s almost overflowing with frenetic energy and ideas and I found myself being unable to put the book down. First of all, Charlie Jane Anders takes no time to introduce the stakes. The aliens appear very quickly in an epic and explosive scene and once Tina leaves Earth, the adventure truly begins!
I don’t read a lot of YA but Charlie Jane Anders is one of my favorite authors so I knew I had to give it a try. I’m glad I did because it was a very different experience from the YA books I’m used to reading. First of all, unlike a lot of YA titles, even if Victories Greater than Death has a romance storyline, it’s not central to the story. Friendship is.
Rachel is Tina’s best friend and their relationship is at the heart of the story. Rachel is an artist and an introvert yet, she follows Tina to the other side of the galaxy without hesitating. Rachel is always there to support Tina, she plays a crucial part in the story and she is as badass as Tina in her own ways.
Putting friendships at the forefront of YA books is important because it shows that a friendship can be as important (if not more) than romantic relationships. Friendships turn us into who we are and good friends know you better than yourself. By building a strong group of friends, Anders subvert the trope of the Chosen One to assemble a team of people willing to fight to protect each other and try their best to make the world a better place.
Victories Greater than Death is without a doubt inspired by Star Trek and Star Wars. The aim of the Royal Fleet is to protect every alien species against threats however, Anders puts her own twist to it. Each ship in the Royal Fleet has two captains and a very loose hierarchy to make every voice matter. Inclusivity is key, queer relationship are normalized (Tina has a romantic relationship with a trans-girl), every character shares their pronouns when they introduce themselves and aliens come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
My only complaint with Victories Greater than Death is that it was a bit too short for me. The book is less than 300 pages and it didn’t give a lot of room for character development. The pacing is frenetic and the characters jump from an emergency to another and I wish Anders gave us a touch less action and a bit more time to learn about each character.
However, I had a lot of fun with this book and I’m looking forward to the sequel. I need more space adventures with Tina and her team of loveable aliens and teenagers and I can’t wait to revisit this world!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. My thanks to Netgalley and Tor Teen for the ARC.