'Victories Greater Than Death' by Charlie Jane Anders is a YA space opera in the general vein of Crownchasers and Aurora Rising about the clone of a famed alien hero, left on Earth in a human disguise to give the universe another chance to defeat a villain with one seriously nasty ability.
Tina Mains, seemingly average teenager.. is also the keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon that she knows will one day switch on, leading her to the heroic life she's always dreamed of among the stars. But when that day finally comes, things don't go at all as planned.
Those who know her secret identity expect her to actually be the legend she was born of.. and she only has limited access to the late Captain's knowledge and skills. War has taken a toll on the Royal Fleet meant to retrieve her when the time came. They're losing badly and resources are already low. They barely escape Earth with Tina and her best friend with the planet intact.
This story is a quick read full of lots of page-turning action and drama, but there are some things I had to adjust to. Initially, I thought the dialogue was incredibly awkward. Stilted in large part by a strange greeting ritual, which.. though I applaud what I perceive as the intent, just felt overly formal.
It becomes more likely, as the social interactions only get stranger from there, that this almost discordant social dance is an intentional representation of just how different things are from what we know. These are people from different worlds, and the most common ground between them is an organizational social structure likely devised by the Royal Fleet itself. Probably the only thing more universal between them is the hope for survival against the odds.
Relatively quickly, the group assembles what can only be called a collection.. of the Earth's best and brightest to be of assistance on their journey. A rag-tag band of talented misfits, who together.. just might have all the skills necessary to save the worlds.
Of course, most of them are prone to melodrama on some level. However, there are a couple of lovely potential love interests and the cast is beautifully diverse. I loved seeing that diversity framed of its strengths as an ideal in societies less concerned with labels and more focused on supreme happiness. Though the story is pretty wild and generally outrageous, it's definitely a lot of fun and well worth the read.