Lindy Tremaine is proud of her work with the Meridian Intelligence Department. Clever, courageous, and armed with an uncanny intuition, she is determined to protect the planets of the Kellan Star System from villains and schemers, even if it means going undercover as a fashion journalist.
Tragedy, however, lies beneath Lindy’s self-possessed demeanor. She is an empath, a native of the war-torn Valya, and the man responsible for her mother’s death—the former prince Rael Navorre—still rules her home planet with an iron hand. Haunted by fragmented memories of bloodshed, Lindy refuses to revisit Valya or embrace her heritage, preferring to invest in her career and her adopted family.
But now Lindy and her best friend, Jo Camrin, have received the most daunting assignment of their MID careers: they must protect Valya’s exiled royal family during peace negotiations with Rael. Committed to this mission despite her fears, Lindy soon uncovers a web of lies and technological horrors…as well as the best-kept secret in the Star System.
This is a fun book, you guys. Yes, there is tragedy and heartbreak. (I may or may not have teared up a time or two.) But overall, Operation Lionhearted has a zippy pace, notes of humor, and sparkling characters. The best way to describe the vibe (and I mentioned this in my cover reveal post) is a mix between the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie and the Kelvin Timeline Star Trek films. Some quirkiness, lively characters, and serious situations.
I really enjoyed all the political intrigue and the grittier minutiae of secret missions, running a spacecraft, having higher-ups that you’re answerable to, and all of that. Operation Lionhearted is definitely sci-fi, but there’s a realism that keeps the story and characters grounded. And the characters! I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with nearly all of them: Lindy, Ethan (despite one regrettable instance of beating up a prisoner, which I did not appreciate), Jo, Genevieve, Mariamne (probably my fave!), Frank, and Jarvis. Lindy in particular is a great character (which is pretty important for the main character to be). Realistic in her fears, PTSD, and doubts–and inspiring in her courage to face all those things.
Additionally, the overall quality of writing in Operation Lionhearted is excellent. The sentences flowed smoothly, the plot was well-executed, and Maribeth’s use of the ‘lost princess’ trope actually left me guessing for a while. (Which usually doesn’t happen, since that trope is preeeetty predictable, y’know?)
Now, I do want to discuss an aspect of the plot that rubbed me the wrong way. There will be major spoilers in the next paragraph, so continue reading at your own peril. 😉
Near the end of the book, Lindy and her friends discover a way to neutralize the thousands of soldiers that oppose Lindy and her mission to free the people of Valya. And that way is to kill each soldier by overloading the ‘obedience chip’ in their brain (causing it to explode). Lindy does go through with this plan, leading to the deaths of many, many soldiers. (Soldiers who, we learn later, didn’t even know what they were doing when under the control of the obedience chip.) This had troubling moral and ethical implications–for me, at least. I understand that the soldiers were carrying out their leader’s brutal orders, but they were under a form of mind control. To kill them wholesale (or nearly so) was a choice that left a bad taste in my mouth.
All right, spoilers over!
A couple not-so-great plot points aside, Operation Lionhearted is a well-crafted debut novel set in a vibrant sci-fi world and filled with truly lovable characters. If you’re a fan of stories like Star Trek, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Lunar Chronicles, you should certainly check out Operation Lionhearted!
I won a free copy of this book, and was expected to write an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Before I leave you guys, I just want to remind you of a few things! There’s currently a giveaway going on, in which one lucky person will win a paperback copy of Operation Lionhearted. Also, the ebook of OL is currently just $2.99 (it will go up to $5.99 on October 14th). And don’t forget the rest of the blog tour! (You can find the links to all the posts as they are published here.)
So! Have you read Operation Lionhearted yet? If not, do you plan to? What are some of your favorite sci-fi stories? Let me know in the comments! ❤