A wanted space mercenary is offered clemency in return for executing a dangerous mission with the ex who betrayed her.
Andi is the outlaw Bloody Baroness, a ruthless mercenary who’s quick to kill and yet haunted by her dead. She’s close only with her all-female crew: Second-in-Command Lira, a leadership-averse ace pilot with scales that change color and heat up with her emotions, and a package-deal pair of gunners, 7-foot-tall amnesiac Breck and adorable 13-year-old Gilly. (The gunners are sadly underdeveloped and underutilized.) When they’re apprehended by bounty hunter Dex (Andi’s ex), who’s working for her home planet Arcardius’ Gen. Cortas (who also has history with Andi), they’re offered amnesty if they can rescue Cortas’ kidnapped son, Valen, from a notorious Xen Pterran prison. Meanwhile, Xen Ptera’s Queen Nor is a vague, lurking menace who is prone to melodramatic vows of vengeance against her planet’s enemies and who, unsurprisingly, plots a devious scheme to achieve it. Vengeance, forgiveness, and family ties are big themes for Nor and the heroes alike—as, of course, Andi and Dex must work through their own predictable, thematically related issues. Plot twists are heavily forecasted, right up to the cliffhanger ending. Background nonhumans are very diverse (spikes, extra limbs), but the romantic leads appear to be human; Andi is white (as are most Arcardians) and Dex, brown-skinned.
Trope-filled mediocrity. (Science fiction. 13-18)