Review of Pledge Allegiance (The Finch #1) by Rider England

I won an Audible copy of Pledge Allegiance, by Rider England, narrated by Greg Tremblay.

Description from Goodreads:
Shaun Blake had once had it all. As captain of the ISS Oregon, he‘d commanded his crew in the Horde War and helped to protect Earth. It was a dream come true for a farm boy from Idaho. 

But the dream shattered a year ago when a Horde ship blew the Oregon out of space, leaving Blake and a single crew member as the only survivors. 

Now, Blake is a gambler and a drunk living in the slums on Iton-3. His only interest is winning money at the WarZone tables and trying to forget who he was. He blames himself for every death that occurred under his command. 

When a woman named Jane Baltimore approaches Blake in a bar and says she has a job for him, he isn’t interested. Until she tells him the job is to captain a ship about to embark on a search and rescue mission. 

There are more surviving crew members from the Oregon. 

And they’re stuck on a planet deep in Horde space.

This was a fun, if simplistic (and familiar to any sci-fi fan) story. I liked Blake and his crew, but I never felt I got to know them well or that there was the opportunity for any significant character growth. I liked that two of the main characters, two of the best fighters were women. But it felt a little cliche that one was almost childlike in her joy and the other basically emotionless. (To be fair, the male soldiers were even flatter.)

This is a good set up for a further series, but on its own it’s largely a protracted fight scene. And even in that it’s pretty weak, as the characters seemed to triumph a bit too easily. But as a just-for-fun read, I call it a success.

Kudos to the narrator though, I don’t know if Blake would have felt as charismatic if he hadn’t had his distinct drawl.

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