Title: Sixteenth Watch
Author: Myke Cole
Release Date: 10 March 2020
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 44
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Angry Robot , via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
The Coast Guard must prevent the first lunar war in history.
A lifelong Search-and-Rescuewoman, Coast Guard Captain Jane Oliver is ready for a peaceful retirement. But when tragedy strikes, Oliver loses her husband and her plans for the future, and finds herself thrust into a role she’s not prepared for. Suddenly at the helm of the Coast Guard’s elite SAR-1 lunar unit, Oliver is the only woman who can prevent the first lunar war in history, a conflict that will surely consume not only the moon, but earth as well.
This was my first Myke Cole and I really enjoyed it. from the disclaimer at the front about not explaining military jargon on page but instead providing a lengthy glossary. I was worried I had got myself into a very hard military sci-fi. This was a false impression, instead I was treated to a character focused book dealing with the loss of loved ones, family, found family and just life in general in an interesting setting.
Our MC is an older female 50+ with grown children, a satisfying and successful career. This was refreshing for a start as an avid SFF reader we get very little in the way of successful older female protagonists. She was very well written, her internal worries split between the family she had raised and the work she had done. She didn’t read like the lone woman stereotype either she was surrounded by other powerful female characters.
The plot was also surprising.The blurb doesn’t quite do it justice. We start off with a major twist which completely changes the objective of our MC and how she is tasked with staving off the first Lunar war is not quite how you think. We also get a bit of a found family aspect though the focus is firmly on Jane and how she is coping, staying professional and caring for here own family as well as friends also. It doesn’t seem action heavy but when we do get action it is exciting an varied, with further twists and turns.
The concept of the coastguard in space was a new one to me and an interesting one. I am not overly familiar with the US coast guard as an entity apart from my love of "boarder control" reality TV shows – seriously the number of weird things people try to bring into other countries with them is just fascinating, why would you bring 15 ears of fresh corn to Ohio!- but to see its role play out, with tensions between it and the Navy/Marines and that to take place in space just added a really fun dynamic.
What I also strangely liked but I think most would find frustrating is how open ended the book was left. Its not listed as being part of a series but as readers we were left to make up our own mind as to how things resolved for Oliver and the sixteenth watch. This just gave me the feeling of we got a three month glimpse into Oliver’s life and the rest will go on without us.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I have very little negative to say other than in Jargon loaded conversations the eBook format I was reading made it difficult and I would just kind of skip over them. i think this would also be difficult if you were to read this via audio format as I imagine that it would not have access to the glossary of terms.
To make this perfect I would have liked to get to know Oliver’s team a bit more. We only got a small fraction of their personalities and histories but it would have been nice to get to know them as she got to. I felt by the end of the book we still didn’t really get a sense of this found family.