I really enjoyed reading this. It was very smooth, and felt more like a conventional spec-ops novel translated into the future, than a novel about a future with a spec-ops time, but in a good way. The world felt very natural: the characters had neat tech and tools, and the environment and power dynamics were different, but close enough to be familiar, and their operating procedure seemed pretty familiar as well. The plot is smooth in a similar fashion, with an excellent flow and only a few arbitrary connections.
The book was tense, but not negatively so: I generally had faith that the characters could handle whatever they got into, excepting a handful of situations: as a result, those scenes were very intense.
I like the characters. The protagonists are all reasonable, professional, capable people, and they work together as a team. They generally are fine with each others’ company, and banter somewhat, but know there is a time and place for it. That is really refreshing. The antagonists are also mostly not evil sadistic monsters, but are professionals who know full well the human cost of their actions and feel it. They are chilling in a way that is impossible for stereotypical villains to be.
The ending obviously sets up the possibility for more books, and I wanted to yell at the characters for missing some really obvious clues about this.
COVER ART REVIEW: I am going to be honest: I bought the book because its front cover looked great and grabbed my eye and made me wonder what was going on, and the back cover text explained it perfectly and made me go YES. The art is very slick and top notch, and filled with intrigue: we can’t see who is in the suit, but they clearly mean business. We can’t really see where they are, but it’s clear they are in space. We don’t know what the deal with the suit is, but it’s clear it’s high-tech and dangerous. I don’t know who the Outriders are, but whoever they are, they are high-octane and lead interesting, dangerous lives. I also really like the color palette: the artist does a lot with a very limited palette.