Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Grand Duchess Vicky Peterwald has undergone an unlikely transformation—from pampered heir to naval lieutenant. Now Vicky will need to use both her military and political ranks to rebuild war-torn planets, planets ruined both by the Peterwald Empire and by Kris Longknife’s revolutionary quests. When the death-before-dishonor code of the Navy meets the anything-goes-to-win motto of the Imperial family, Vicky must confront, outwit, and conquer both revolutionaries and her own family to stifle galactic disorder.
Target, by Mike Shepherd, is the first installment in the Vicky Peterwald series. Target should come with a warning. If you haven't read Shepherd's Kris Longknife series yet, especially the novel where Kris and Vicky come face to face, don't just blindly jump into this story expecting to have a clue where the story picks up or why Vicky has had so many assassination attempts made on her.
So, thanks to your friendly neighborhood reviewer, me, I shall save you the time and summarize what happened before this book opens up. Let's get some facts straight. There are some remarkable sex scenes in this book because Vicky was taught to use her body at an early age to get what she wants, and later had her training scrambled to learn how to fight when she joined the Navy after failing to assassinate the person who she believes killed her own brother. So, now that that is over with, let's move on.
As Target and the series kicks off, Lieutenant Vicky Peterwald, aka Her Imperial Grace, Grand Duchess Peterwald, finds herself in enemy territory onboard Lt. Commander Kris Longknife's remaining ship the Wasp. She's one of 5 Greenfeld survivors of the Great Voyage of Discovery that became a fight against dangerous aliens that left a destroyer battalion destroyed.
Vicky and four others find themselves onboard Kris's ship. That includes two, who are considered to be her body doubles, Kit and Kat. After perhaps gaining a little respect from Kris, Vicky goes and does something so shocking that it gets her kicked off the ship and is forced into find another way home. Behind the scenes, Vicky's step-monster, the Empress, is pregnant and expecting a boy.
A boy that has no chance of becoming heir to the crown unless Vicky is dead. So, step-monster takes out bribes, and pays assassins to ensure Vicky doesn't reach her home alive. One of the things that makes this book worthwhile reading, is the politics, and the nearly dozen attempts on her life. With Vicky alive and fighting back, and learning who she can and can't trust, and the Empress growing even more deranged and dangerous by the moment, a collision course is imminent.
As a Navy female veteran through and through, I do appreciate that Shepherd uses Navy and Marine aspects to tell this story. I appreciate that the Navy is basically the GOOD guys trying to hold against a tyrant. I appreciate the odds and the evil the Marines are facing in this story. Vicky has to make her way into this tight brother/sisterhood in order to be respected, and not thought of as an royal pain in the ass who is as spoiled as they come. She has to find those who will stand and help her, and not sell her out.
A few things really bothered me about this story. 1. There was no warning that readers should read the Kris Longknife series before jumping into this book. 2. The way things are brought to an abrupt ending between Kris and Vicky didn't at all make sense to me and that's saying a whole lot. 3. The original synopsis, as found on Goodreads, and Amazon, has nothing to do with this book.
It has to do with a situation that happened long before the events of this book. 4. One could say that this book should be labeled as erotica, or maybe that was the publishers fault for not letting readers know the sex is more on the terms of being a space soap opera. 5. Finally, I would have loved this book a whole lot better without the rape scene and the space soap opera with sex.
Will I read the sequel called Survivor? We shall see. If Shepherd can cease with the Erotica Space Opera, and focus on Vicky's future in attempting to bring down the Empress, then perhaps I will. Sorry if that sounds like I am Vanilla, but it's just not my thing.