Review: Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders (Unstoppable #1)

Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders // VBC Review

Victories Greater Than Death (Unstoppable #1)
Charlie Jane Anders
Published: April 13, 2021 (Tor Teen)
Purchase at: Amazon or Bookshop
Review Source: Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Tina has known for years that she’s not just an average teenager, but she’s been waiting (im)patiently for the day when she will be called upon to complete her purpose. Tina holds the embodiment of a highly regarded alien space Captain within herself. She was cloned and sent to Earth for her safety, to be called upon when the time came to finally defeat the one who threatens the universe. When Tina’s day finally arrives, she’s got her best friend Rachael by her side and assembles a team of extraordinary humans. But when her destiny doesn’t run the course she’s set up for herself, Tina begins to question who it is she’s supposed to be, and how she can save anything.

As I’m reveling in the finishing of this book and working on getting my thoughts onto the page, I really have to give it to Charlie Jane Anders for creating such a popping sci-fi adventure. The story starts off with a bang and hooks you right away.

The problem is that eventually things have to slow down and we have to take a little time to breathe. Besides having rollicking action sequences, I understand the importance of slower moments to really take in this new outer space world, but it’s in those moments that I felt things dragged a tad bit and for me that initial momentum was difficult to regain.

Keeping with the story, however, I absolutely loved the commentary on destiny and identity. Tina has been so set on who she believes she’s supposed to be, that she’s never really taken time to figure it out for herself. Despite things not going to plan for Tina, I loved that readers get the opportunity to see her come into her own and have this well of opportunities place before her, on her own terms, not ones preset for her based on her DNA.

What’s more the bond between the “Earthlings,” especially that between Tina and Rachael, is a wonderful thing to behold. Having this group of unknowns from varying backgrounds, band together, work together, and lift each other up successfully was such a bright spot. To that end, however, there were times when I would stop and think about how we still only got a surface level insight into many of these characters. Charlie Jane Anders definitely doesn’t pull punches in going for emotional impact. Unfortunately, the gut-punch feeling didn’t always come through for me and I wanted more of that emotional connection.

I did appreciate that we don’t get a case of “us vs. them” in regards to humans vs. aliens, with aliens being the villains. That villainy of megalomania transcends species and even knowing that this person truly believes that what they want for the universe is right, doesn’t mean they aren’t a villain and sometimes the real test is being able to confront these truths within people that you would otherwise care about.

Charlie Jane Anders definitely leaves things in a position where I’m eager to find out what happens next. While there is a certain amount of resolution, there’s also a can of worms that’s undeniably just been opened as well. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see Tina becoming ever more comfortable in her own skin.

Sexual Content: Kissing

Content Warning: References to abuse and bullying

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