Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue (The Bern Saga Book 1)by Hugh Howey
It takes a fairly riveting book to keep me up past bedtime. That Molly Fyde did so is not that hard to understand when looking at the whole. Everyone loves those stories where the female protagonist is strong willed well balanced and determined. I think in this case the strong willed is the only thing that stands out in the opening scenes.
The story starts with Molly on a flight as navigator to Cole Mendonca on a mission for the (space) Navy. The first interesting phase of this story is a revelation of the possibility the crew is out so long on duty that members are allowed to sleep at the helm. Molly- an orphan- is having a dream about her parents leaving her. Cole wakes her up to have her check out some readings from their system update logs. Molly tries to shrug it off but Cole, who seems to be a paranoid conspiracy type, thinks something is up.
Now, some background: Molly is one of few if any female's who have registered with the navy to train at the academy to be a pilot and her skill are up there with the rest but for some reason this world took a huge backward step and is not very gender friendly in the military. So, Molly is navigating when she should be piloting.(At least that's the impression Molly gives us.)
While they discuss the discrepancy they also discover that the enemy force they are going up against is far greater than they expect. Molly shows her strength by issuing recommendation for their assault that turn out to be quite sound. No one takes her serious so only her team begin that maneuver. But, someone has sabotaged their armament and nothing will deploy properly. All of this reinforces Cole's misgivings over the update.
At the onset of the battle Cole is out and unable to help her and she has to take control; while the rest of her team is taken out. The other flights out there will be overwhelmed so Molly begins to do what she does best. Thinking outside the box. Knowing that what she's doing is suicide the reader get to see the side of Molly Fyde that might result in her own undoing. In a brave act she avoids the enemy long enough to turn their own weapons upon them causing some damage, though it in no way will save the rest.
She somehow survives this and you will have to read to find out.
The important thing here is that whatever sabotage happened to her ship- has not been recorded so everything she did makes her look like an incompetent loose cannon and forces her to be relieved of duty. Her uncle-an admiral-who has supported her through all of this can do nothing to help.
Molly opts to go to normal school to finish her education, which looks as though she's admitting complete defeat.
So we have Molly Fyde the strong willed not so balanced -out of the box loose cannon- who all of a sudden seems less than determined. Perhaps it's that she realizes she can't fight the system, maybe it's because she doesn't want to.
Though she has a severe failing in lack of determination. Molly in some ways reminds me of Honor Harrington, David Weber's character. Then in other ways she reminds me of Ky Vatta, Elizabeth Moons character in the Vatta's War.
In fact a lot of the beginning is like the Vatta stories.
Molly seems to be missing the drive that makes those other characters and it's difficult to determine, in this story, whether that's considered a critical weakness. It certainly might be a contributing factor towards her getting into so much trouble.
When her uncle, the admiral, comes to her with the revelation that her father's ship, which was lost, has been located she jumps at the chance to volunteer to pilot it back. Her uncle attempts to dissuade her but not much. At this point as a reader I was already a bit suspicious of this. Next her old friend and secret love Cole is enlisted to help. Add to that the whole affair becomes shrouded in mystery when they have to do all of the trip to the ship in secrecy. Cole is already suspicious and when the contact they are to meet in this backwater pirate planet is acting strangely and things begin to unravel the paranoia sinks its teeth in hard.
The ships name is Parsona -as is Molly's mother's name. It's her heirloom and in order for her to claim it she's going to have to think way out of the box and she and Cole will become fugitives running from the Navy that sent them there.
This book is one misadventure after another and the only thing the reader can be sure of is that each time the crew of Parsona go into a situation they think is going to be fine- it's not.
Pretty soon Molly picks up the most unlikely crew of dangerous misfits for her ship. All things considered the most passive yet dangerous is Molly who is in charge most of the time. The only thing standing between her and fate is the dangerous allies she's collecting.
Quickly we discover nothing that Molly trusts can truly be trusted and it all has something to do with the ship Parsona. Will Molly be able to stay alive to get all the answers?
You will have to read to find out.
Not everything is answered, but the ending is quite satisfactory for the beginning of a series.
Anyone who loves those tactical space novels of Elizabeth Moon and David Weber should love Molly Fyde. Lovers of Science Fiction and Fantasy should love the story.
There are several different worlds built here in this story and in many such novels, usually by the third world built it gets old. Hugh Howey does a fair job of keeping them all interesting. Each world story seems to add up to the motivation for each of the alien crew of Molly's ship. We'll have to see how well he keeps up with himself in the future novels.
Your Usual Sci-Fi Military Heroine who's been slightly Mollyfyde.
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