Rating: Disliked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
Book received free for review from Macmillan.
I can't remember the last time I did such a 180 on a book.
The story started out great: A space ship full of a regular crew and a team of cadets getting their first chance to go into space is attacked by an alien enemy. This enemy has refused all attempts at contact in the past, and seems bent only on destroying humanity. The writing seemed realistic and exciting at this point.
Then, maybe 40% into the book, we learned the cadets were all 8-13 years old. That made me frowny, as their actions thus far seemed very mature and experienced -- I would have bought them in the 18-22 range, with all the schooling and ground-training a crew getting ready to go into space would have by that point.
Then every single adult on the ship was killed, and these children had to take over the ship. Based on one single class about how all Earth spaceships work, these 8-13 year olds were not just successfully able to fly the ship, they took it into battle.
Up until this point in the book's history, no one had won a fight against the aliens. These kids beat a boarding party of more than a dozen of them...
Then we learned that these horrible aliens weren't so alien at all. The aliens wore armor over their bodies, so it wasn't until the kids killed them that they could look inside. The aliens looked 100% human, except with purple hair and purple eyes. At this point I knew the story was going to do a "they were never aliens, they were just humans that somehow got cut off from the rest of humanity" thing, and I was right.
At the 60% or so point, I started skimming, then I skipped to the end to read the last chapter. Everything I had guessed was right, and I had wished I had stopped reading it sooner.
Side note: This book was one of the first books I ever received to review, but I was so new at it, I hadn't realized that some offers came with deadlines. This was the first and only deadline I ever missed. Since I couldn't submit a review, I just never read the book, and it sunk to the very end, the last page, of my to read pile in my Kindle.