Hotshot pilot Spensa Nightshade completes her apotheosis in this series closer, as human rebels and their alien allies mount a climactic assault on the galactic empire.
Having progressed from eating rats to being a cytonic superwarrior, Spensa is bonded by ties of loyalty and lust to former Skyward Flight leader, now Defiant Defense Force admiral, Jorgen—and also to a traumatized, planet-killing, interdimensional delver named Chet. Spensa would be well on her way to full-blown pacifism if the Superiority’s war of extermination against humans were not ramping up to a newly active phase. Nothing for it but a massive space battle, complete with dogfights, huge explosions, feints, betrayals, and tragic sacrifices…not to mention a swarm of ravenous, vacuum-dwelling vastworms eager to chow down on both sides. Though slowed by Spensa’s and others’ wrestling with conflicting impulses and weighing moral imperatives, the plot features more than enough large- and small-scale action set pieces to please space-opera fans. Better yet, the deliciously expansive cast includes not only humans and AIs but a broad array of aliens and semi-aliens from blue-skinned humanoids and a furry, haiku-reciting, fox-gerbil samurai with a (wait for it) laser sword to sentient crystals and empathic slugs. “The more different types of people we got into the flight, the stronger it would be,” Spensa reflects, and indeed, it’s collective action that proves decisive in the end.
A grand finale, presented with a touch light enough to buoy all the self-actualization. Also: giant space worms!(Science fiction. 12-15)