Description from Goodreads:
As a lifer in the Imperial Navy fighting in a war that has lasted for generations, York Ballin’s only hope for an honorable discharge is the grave. But what events led up to his reluctant enlistment? What spawned York’s almost fanatic loyalty to his friends–and his doubts regarding the imperial uniform he once wore with such pride?
York rarely recalls his childhood, which began with a mystery and ended at age eleven when he was given a harsh choice: Join the navy or face certain death on a prison asteroid. The navy has its own code of justice, but a youngster with curiosity and grit is able to rise in the ranks . . . if he’s given a fair shot.
A few rigorous years later, as a newly commissioned ensign, York is assigned to the hunter-killer ship The Fourth Horseman. But when an unexpected foe kills his superior officer and leaves the crew stranded in enemy territory, the young ensign must do whatever he can to save the ship–even if it means he’ll be court-martialed for treason.
This started off fairly well, with an 11-year-old sentenced to life on a mining asteroid for a crime he was coerced into participating in. Thus starts York’s lifetime of being strong-armed into things.
The book progressed well for a while, as we watch York find his feet in the adult world. But then, about halfway through, the whole pace and tone of the book changed. Suddenly, where we’d followed the day-to-day minutia of York’s life, whole months and then years passed in mere sentences. “The next year he X, Y and Z,” for example. Until the book ends at one seemingly random point. Yeah, there’d been a little bit of an upswing in action and down-shifting in pace, so we followed one actual event for a while, but no questions were answered. No conclusions come to. The book doesn’t culminate into anything.
I’m curious enough to want to know the mystery of York’s birth and why he was being singled out. But I’m annoyed to have to read more for ANY answers. Come one, throw readers a little bone to keep us reading! The fact that nothing was even addressed (York doesn’t know there is a mystery), let alone answered, left this particular book feeling anchoress and random.